Graphical Construction Glossary >> Doors. >> Door types >> Trap Door

Trap Door
A door set flat into a floor or ceiling. Hinged to open downwards .

a trap door

A common term for any door set into a floor and hinged to open downwards under it's own weight.

I guess the term came about in the days press gangs and other criminal activity. It is said that Sweeny Todd had one for disposing of his victims. So the trap part comes from the fact that the door opens downwards and so anyone or anything on it will fall down below.

I doubt that any set of building regulations would allow one these days. So, just in case you are wondering what the door in the photograph is. It is the gallows door at Her Majesty's Gaol and Labour Prison in Fannie Bay, Darwin. Commonly known as Fannie Bay Gaol. It was used twice in 1952 for executions. The gaol remained operative until 1979,

So, if you are contemplating a door to your cellar of loft space, hinge it opening upwards! It's safer :-)

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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