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“Crown Security Systems”, Hounslow: bleak and bland


“Crown Security Systems” burglar alarm, Hounslow • I’m already getting confused by the plethora of regal firms, so I’ve just looked up this particular Crown Security Systems to discover they were formed in 1982, and are based in Merton, South London. This bland crown is another that looks more like a jester’s hat, and was shot on what I now remember to be a bleak and unhappy winter’s day – it’s amazing how even the most basic of photos can bring memories back of a whole walk. Its location, Chiswick Mall, sounds like a horrible shopping centre but is in fact a picturesque promenade of large Georgian houses facing the Thames at Chiswick, blighted only be Heathrow-bound jets thundering past at what sounds like nose-level every two minutes. • Spotted: Chiswick Mall, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth

23 replies »

  1. Andy I do remember Chris Purcell, when Landers brought Rentokil it included Crusader branches, he was shared between my branch in Wimbledon & Peckham the old Crusader branch where there was a central station until Landers moved it and the branch to Brockley. Funny enough the last time I met him was at a Custodian seminar in Sutton.
    Also before central stations the engineer on call had the customers phoning direct to their home and when he went out on a call then his wife etc would have to deal with the customers at all hours of the night, plus she had no way of contacting the him once he had left the call out premises, not even pagers in those days. To rub salt into the wound we only got £1 a night & £2 Sat or Sun for being on call.

    • For many years, when starting my own company I was on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. I couldnt hack it now. In actual fact, I came off our call out rota before my business partner. All the money in the world couldnt get me on call noiw, I simply could not hack it. Our engineers are on call one week in six and they are out every night, or at least get phone calls. We have about 7K contracted jobs. The engineers have mobiles, pagers, they are in touch with the ARC, have our engineering managers phone number and all carry PDAs with the site history, activation history and everything. We sack engineers if they dont go out to a job and have got rid of a few who have done resets over the phone! They get paid a fortune.
      Chris Purcell had s own company called Crime Beat Security (Not sure if Vicki has his bell on here, but he sold out a few years ago to a small firm in Romford (name escapes me).

      It funny how Rentakil got back into alarms, having sold Crusader, which they owned, they went onto own Shorrock.

      Did you ever come across a company called ‘Captor’. I think they were owned by a dutch company called Securop who had there own ARC in Tollington Place near Finsbury Park. I think that a guy called Eddie Northend ran Captor.

      What other firms operated in your area in the Solar/Enright days ?

    • What is the significance of 12 volts by the way? I am getting the impression it is considered “inferior” in some way.

  2. I rather enjoy Mike’s journeys down memory lane, just a same the industry is now mostly snot nosed kids & plastic tat

      • No, this is brilliant, feel free to reminisce amongst yourselves. As Andy says, this stuff should be documented, and this all goes towards it – information never dies on the internet (well hopefully not for a while, anyway). It’s all way over my head but I don’t mind!

  3. Did Solar and Enright use Central Stations or was everything on 999 machines. In those days not many ARCs could have existed. When we first started in business we used Custodian Central Station Croydon, for a short time we used ‘STC’ in Finchley. Other than using the national firms, such as Chibb, Brocks, Modern Alarms, ADT, Mather and Platt I guess there was no choice.

    • In the 60s Eddy worked for Electronic Protection Services (EPS) who’s systems were all remote signalling to their own central station in Holborn, no bell boxes I’m afraid Vici. He worked on a new central station in Halesowen Birmingham which would you believe is now ADT’s central station.
      In London Solar connected direct lines to Shield Security & outside London to the police station, everything else was 999 autodiallers.
      At the end of the 70s Enrights started connecting Ademco DCs to Custodian which was a private company in those days, to program the site ID, Tel No etc, a nut & bolt was fitted in the relevant hole which took a very long time to fit all those nuts & bolts. Then they changed to flying leads, then to chips.
      Because we had a physical security company as well Enrights built a central station for Abbot Security in north London around 1981.

      • EPS was of course, the UK name for what is now ADT. At the time they only did Banks and High Security jobs, hence, no bell boxes. The Central Station (now called Alarm Receiving Centres or ARC’s) was in New Oxford Street Holborn. The main type of Direct line signalling was the McCullough loop which worked on ticker tape and reverse voltage. I think that ADTs Halesowen CS has now gone.
        Sheid Protection was based in Britton Street Farringdon. By coincidence, Shorock had a London Central Station in the same road, down the other end. It would seem that at some point we both used Custodian Central Station, when as you say, they were independant. They were located at 245 Whitehorse Road Croydon. Anyone who was anyone used them. Now owned by Chubb/UTC, the Croydon ARC went a few years ago. The Digita Communicator you refer to with the njuts and bolds was an Ademo 669. I have one in the office that we pulled out of a job last year. Abbot Central Station was based in Vale Royal – Kings Cross. The ARC Connections were purchased by Custodian a few years ago.

        As you gather, the history of our industry facinates me. Im scared that as I get older I forget who bought who and when, I should document it all.

        My backgroiund is Chubb Alarms. I left School at 16 and did a three year apprentaship with Chubb Alarms as a Bank Engineer out of Clifton Street. At the end of my apprentaship I worked for Chubb for one year and let to set up my current company. They were not happy. My business partner, Keith Avey, who is 20 years older than me, workled for AFA, Sheild, Granly, SOS nand Telecom Security. You may have known his broth in l;aw, Chris Purchell who also worked foir Lander after they bought Crusader Alarms. I was, and think I still am, at the time, the youngest MD of a NACOSS Approved Company. I set up in 1988 and got NACOSS Approved in 1991. (Ps. Im 43 – you can therefore see I took a very keen interest in the industry from a young age)

        Guys like you and your company’s were the back bone ofthe business, unfortunatly, its all gone to pot now!

  4. The majority shareholders of Solar was Mike & Christine Sacre (previously Mike was a manager at Banhams), Eddy Enright a minor shareholder left Solar and formed Enright Security with me in 1976, I had been a supervisor at Solar a few years earlier. Around 76 – 77 Solar sold to Page Motors of Epsom who later sold Solar to Metropolitan Security who were based in the same area Stoneleigh, the owner of Metropolitan later became the aquisition manager at Shorrocks.
    Yes Enright was sold to Lander Alarms in 1982 when I stayed on as Wimbledon’s Branch Manager until we formed Westec Security in 1985.

    • Wow……..I knew that there must have been a link of some kind between Solar and Enright….for one reason only. Both Solar and Enright had big black grommet covers in the corners of the bells. Enright Bells were Square and Solar were more the ‘S’ Type bell. I remember taking over a Lander/Enright job on an Italian Deli in Abbey Road St. Johns Wood. I removed the grommets but still could not get the cover of the bell as it appeared that the bolts were at the bottom of the base. It had an old Munford and White control unit.

      Why did a motor company purchase an alarm company?

      There is still a Slar bell in very good condition in Covent Garden.

      A job, now long jone in Edgware Middlesex, a long way from where you were based, called Jay Jay Toys had an Enright job.

      • The Solar idea of having nuts fixing the lid on with grommets covering the hole, was taken from a box made by Scotts in Caterham who’s box had 4 allen bolts on the side holding the lid on with smaller grommets covering the smaller holes, a standard allen key could be used. I copied the Solar idea, see my comment on an earlier post on Enright Security dated October 6 2011.

        There has and always will be companies with spare cash and want to diversify that think there is money to be made in alarms, then find out that it is a unique beast and if let loose it will not bring in the profits they were hoping for, until they sell it.

        Enrights & Westec mainly covered the west half of London, Surrey & Kent. Even when were given the contract for every Wimpey fast food shop in the country, we still never worked on the shops out of our area.

        • What was inside the lander/enright box?
          Also what detectors did the systems use unless it was a make your own kinda bell box like the metal/ plastic type C and H.

  5. When I sold Enright Security in 1982 the service manager Graham Porter formed Crown Security from a plumbers shop in Morden. A number of years later he moved to new premises in Merton. His partner left at some stage and formed Altech Security in South Wimbledon which I believe he has now sold.

    • Wow…its great to here somneone fill in the bits.

      I thouight Enright Security was oened by a guy called Eddie Enright.

      I met Graham Porter on a trip 20 years ago to the USA hosted by Aritech. A Nice guy.

      Alteck have gone, Chubb I think.

      Didnt you/Eddie Enright set up Westec after selling Enright Security?

      • Yes Enright Security was owned by Eddy and myself. After the usual 3 year contract was up we formed Westec Security. Eddy’s wife was Australian and had lived in UK since the 60’s, it was always their intention to retire to Australia where her family were. So when Eddy reached the ripe old age of 60 +++ we sold to ADT and he retired to Australia for most of the year and spends a couple of months in the summer at his house in Ireland.
        I first joined Eddy around 1970 at his first company Solar Security which he part owned with Mike Sacre, so we worked together on & off for over 30 years, it was like a marriage.
        I worked for 7 companies since selling in 2001 and retired to Menorca two years ago.
        We also had a physical companies as well, first one called Enright Physical Security and after selling Enright Security the next one was called Grillesafe Security which is still trading from premises in Wandsworth, both companies were run by Dave Smith and still is.
        I believe that Dave still meets up for a drink with Graham Porter of Crown Security.

        • Ah, Solar! I have a few photos of those, and also Westec… I promise to feature them at some point this year. I also have an Altec as mentioned in another comment, you still see quite a few of those around. It seems a common career exit strategy was to sell up to ADT – would that still be the case?

          • Yes….we all hope that one day ADT will buy us…..before ADT it was Modern Alarm who went round buying everyone. A few other firms such as Lander and Shorrock also aquired firms. Lander later went on to be purchased by Modern Alarms who were aquired by ADT. Shorrock became Initial Shorrock, then Initial Electronic Security and now, integrated into Chubb Electronic Security.

            Still not seen one of our bells on your site :(

        • It really is good to put all the bits together. I didnt realse that Enright Security ‘followed’ Solar Security. I thiught that both firms were around at approx. the same time. If I recall correctly, Solar were aquired by Metroplitan Alarms who were later aquired by Shorrock. I think Metropoitan also bought East Lodon High Security Firm ‘Gem Alarms’. Was it not Lander who purchased Enright Security?

        • I used to work for Westec many moons ago. Would like to get in touch with a bloke called Ian Aitchison who was also there. Hope Eddy is still his exuberant self.

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Formerly

A book about disappearing London

Formerly cover.
With photos by Vici MacDonald and poems by Tamar Yoseloff, Formerly is a beautiful little chapbook which is only £8.00 online – find out more here

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