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“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

“Chloride Granley” burglar alarm, Hackney • I’ve featured this brilliant vintage sounder before, but only really small, as part of a wider decaying tableau. If you look closely there’s a lightning flash in the “O” of “Chloride”, which is then repeated as the large jagged circle in the middle. It’s unusual in being stencilled, and is the only one of its kind I’ve ever found, though unadorned Granley boxes are still fairly common. Decades ago Chloride – who I associate with car batteries – must have taken over Granley, and instead of stickering on a new logo as is the norm, they used a stencil so you can still see the old design underneath: a palimpsest, if you will. I’d be interested to know more about either firm, if any of the security pros out there can enlighten me. • Spotted: Leonard Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch

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14 replies »

  1. The other day i seen a chloride granley box but it wasn’t the typical box they used to use, it was a type s metal bell box with a blue strobe beneath it.

  2. I started working for Granley Burglar Alarms in 1972 and installed a fair few of the boxes you have shown. when Chloride acquired the company they issued us with thin flimsy stickers [these logos may have been stencilled onto the sticker] to cover the old boxes so as to get the name about a bit. Chloride also made some boxes and after a few months we started fitting them, these boxes were appalling as the metal was not treated before they were covered in a blue plastic coating with a yellow Chloride logo. if there were the slightest imperfection in the plastic the water got in behind and in a very short time scale, all the plastic peeled off leaving a rusty box. The sunlight used to effect the plastic and caused it to peel within a year or two. The old Granley box was treated with a light valvanised coating before painting and seemed to last very well. The one you have shown looks like it has degraded with UV and shows the yellow lettering and logo degrading first with the blue section, last a bit longer. UV effects the colour spectrum in differing degrees red seems to degrade quite quickly for example.

    • Thank you for this brilliant comment. I had seen those stencilled signs, I thought they were stencilled directly on the box, which I always thought a bit odd. Now I understand they were stickers. Last spotted one of those down Mare Street in Hackney – never got a chance to photograph it though.

  3. The reason you haven’t seen any RCA boxes is when securicor took them over they placed Securicor Granley stickers over all the old ones, I was a servce engineer at the time, probably got a few of the stickers knocking around!

      • Further to the earlier comments I believe Granby and Levi had a radio and tv repair shop in Shoreditch before venturing into the alarm industry, I’m not 100% sure but I think they developed the early preassure pads, I certainly remember fitting them with Granley embossed on the edge.

  4. The other owner of Granly was Mr Granby. Granly was a mix of both names.

    Granly manufactured products.

    Another firm linked somehow to Granly was ‘Informer Burglar Alarm’ they were based on Shorditch.

  5. Granley was one of the old BA companies from the old days owned by David Levy (Don’t know if he was the sole owner) who also designed equipment hence the original company was called Granley Products.
    When he sold the company he must have included a clause that ensures the Granley name continues on when selling, Chloride Granley, Granley Security Systems (RCA), Securicor Granley.
    From memory I think he then went and designed a radio fire alarm system which was quiet unique at that time.
    Brian Cope was the Managing Director of Chloride Granley who went on to be the MD of Lander Alarms until sold to Moderns.
    In 1978 Chloride sold the company to RCA for £2.8 million, at the time they had 23 branches.

    • Thanks Mike – that is incredibly informative, as ever. I had noticed Granley’s name continues across several owners, that explains it. Funny that the oldest, “standalone” Granley boxes seem the most prolific, though there are plenty of those funny plastic boxy Securicor Granley ones around too, not wearing well. I’ve never seen an RCA one, shall have to keep my eyes peeled. Another subject for a “timeline” one day, alongside AFA Minerva Thorn.

    • This brings back floods of memories. My small company, Cameron Systems (CSL) associated with Multiform Electronics (colleague Iain Price-Smith), provided Granley Products with their first modern day central station equipment comprising 1024 premises direct line connection and central computerised (DEC, PDP-8) control & logging which for the early 1970’s was unheralded. At the time we also sold test systems to HMG (Public Buildings & Works), Securicor and to Lander Alarms in Scotland for their Edinburgh central station needs which they hoped would give them expansion leverage.

      Granley was full production from day 1.

      David Levy took in the system for Granley despite we being a very small company. The true lynch pin there was Bob Green (great guy who listened/understood), who had spotted our system offering, took the time to review potential, then sell it on at Granley director level.

      The big corporates then having seen or bought the first prod system/s from us went on to use the new technology and produce it/manage it in house. CSL might have kept a hold on the market if the novel security coding/signalling system could have been patented. In theory it could, but even in those days patents were a bit of a game of rough & chance & money.

      The alarm industry then having seen our system, took the ideas and a new generation of central stations came about.

      Before this new equipment upgrade event it was the historic BS4737 system of DC voltage controlled kit originally designed for Police station connection to jewellers/banks etc which was very vulnerable to interception on-line and lacking electronic security. Various cases had been recorded of where burglars had accessed BT lines from premises from under pavement entry where with simple battery connections and little else had foiled a high security system.

    • It doesn’t qualify as I’m only doing images of flashes! But I saw a great old Blitz box in Battersea the other day, I shall have to go back and photograph it.

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