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“Rely-a-Bell”, Tower Hamlets: a rare 60s survival

Rely-a-Bell burglar alarm, Wentworth Street London E1, 2010“Rely-a-Bell” burglar alarm, Tower HamletsYesterday’s post showed the most common and beloved style of Rely-a-Bell, dating probably from the 1950s. This one, covered in pigeon netting, is far rarer; in fact it’s the only example of this design I’ve seen. It’s not the only logo variation to be found – there are a few others on Flickr, where I’ve made a gallery called Rely-a-Bell: History showing variations from the 1920s–1960s. According to a Flickr comment by ~Notes“The Rely-a-Bell Company dates back to 1921 and was a market leader until 1961 when it was purchased by the Burgot company, which later became Chubb”. I’d guess this jaunty and professional-looking logo dates from the mid 1960s (assuming Burgot kept the brand name after they took over); it reminds me of the lettering on detergent packs from that era, and the circular device has something of the launderette about it too. I wonder if this was the last-ever iteration of the Rely-a-Bell livery? For more background on Rely-a-Bell, see this memoir by Dave Robertson, MD of Full Stop security (who have an excellent burglar alarm design I shall feature one day), which starts with his time at Rely-a-Bell in the early 1960s. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow

Rely-a-Bell burglar alarm, Wentworth Street London E1, 2010

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5 replies »

  1. hello folks. The bell cover in the picture is of a later vintage than the 1960’s. I worked for rely a bell from march 1961 until september 1968 and this livery was not in use during that time., and certainly not before when the more square and sharp sided cover was in use with the older phone number BIS 1955. As Chris (above) says the cover had to be fitted slightly to the left of the back board as the bell,(Gents Ltd) an ungainly lump of metal with an exposed hammer would foul the cover otherwise. Very irritating. It is curious to find such an interest in this, now long defunct company although it was absorbered into Chubb alarms . In the event of anyone with questions about RAB leave a note on this site and I will try to help. Regards all

  2. Rely a Bell and Burgot operated separately until 1969 (albeit both owned by Chubb & Sons) when they were combined under the banner of Chubb Alarms.

  3. Hi All
    I started work at Rely-A-Bel in Feb 1969, I have put a few of these up before the old lock block and coffin battery system was replaced by the CA4 I think it was? which Used a Self Acting Bell. I believe in 1970.Installing these you would have to off set the bell slighty off centre if you did not the dong would hit the side of the bell case.
    The black lines on the side’s of the case is the tamper loop, It was then called the bell S.P. (single pole loop)

    Chris Skeats

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