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Inside the MLA – Heritage Room

The Master Locksmiths Association Heritage Room & the History of Locks Museum Heritage Collection


The Heritage Room at MLA headquarters was built was put together in 2018 and contains some 83 cabinets and is populated by the History of Locks Museum Heritage Collection, but even that is not enough to display everything and so the display is quite fluid, constantly changing so there is always something different to see.

Heritage Room Exhibits – Come and See For Yourself

You can download a PDF of the exhibits currently of what is exactly on display below:

Download Full Itinerary

Both the MLA Global Catalogue book and the PDF is periodically updated to reflect the changing exhibits and additional material learnt.

View Full Collection

What’s On Display in the Heritage Room

The heritage room features artefacts from the 2nd century roman keys, padlocks from the medieval period, ornate locks from the renaissance period to the most highly sophisticated locks that emerged from the industrial revolution.

Also featured are locks from the Cold war including KGB locks that could endure extreme temperatures, Manifold government locks with their lead shielding from the UK to the German Nazi party locks on U-boats that secured the Enigma codebook.

The exhibit is accompanied by a small reference library and of course an extraction from the Global Catalogue reflecting the items on display and the historical articles that have featured in ‘Keyways’.


You are welcome to mark up the catalogue when you visit with any snippets, facts and/or your reminiscences.

A selection of the following items can found in the Heritage Room:


  • Safe Locks, Domestic Locks, Padlocks


  • Ancient Wooden, Roman Keys, Medieval, Mastership, Patent Keys, Exhibition Keys

Safe/Strongroom Equipment

  • Safes, Time Locks, Bankers, Change Key locks, Badges/Safeplates


  • Handcuffs, Prison Locks, Jail Locks

Promotional Items

  • Paper Knives, Paperweights,  Money boxes


  • Salesman Safe and Vault samples

Caskets & Chests

Why We Built a Heritage Room

One aspect of any trade is to remember its past, the way things used to be done, and the products and of course the men and women that worked in that trade.

The Locks and Locksmithing trade is no different.

The Master Locksmith Association’s Heritage Room goes a little further than simply displaying the past; because locks are so very enduring today’s locksmiths have a reference point in the artefacts and archive on display.


Another aspect is that whatever man has considered dear to him some means of securing it has been devised; the styles and mechanisms have preoccupied locksmiths for millennia.

So whether you are researching the Knights Templers hidden wealth or tracing the history of the ‘Yale’ lock or even the locking device on your antique, vintage or cherished item you may well find the clues you are looking for in the Heritage Room.

Visiting the Heritage Room

If you are interested in visiting our Heritage room please contact us beforehand.

Opening Times

Weekdays: MLA members can access the Archive and Locks on display during normal office hours: 9am – 5pm

Sundays and Mondays: In addition the Heritage Rooms Curator, Brian Morland, is on site Sundays and Mondays (9:00am-5:00pm) and can assist in retrieving artefacts from storage locked display cabinets and bookcases.

View our address on Google map
Contact us to book a visit

Next Open Day

Additionally, the Heritage Room is also open about once a month, on a Saturday (10am -4 pm) when curator Brian Morland is present with the History Of Locks Museum computerised archive – all welcome

For the next Saturday special open day please email contact


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