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“Security” (with crown), Southwark: nameless ruler

“Security” burglar alarm with crown, Southwark • This cheerful yellow sounder, found on Decima Studios in Bermondsey, is a complete mystery – it doesn’t even have a name. Presumably the cracker-style crown indicates the title “Crown Security”, unless the company is simply called “Security”, which would certainly be cornering the market. The phone number is a shifty old mobile one, and googling it turns up absolutely nothing, so a mystery the bell box must remain. • Spotted: Decima Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark


22 replies »

  1. we started with a 6 digit number proudly dipslayed on bell labels, then moved to commerical premises & had a 5 digit number as they could not move the exsiting no. to the differnet exchange & resticked every thing on contract

    as the STD no. was changing in 1995ish (becoming 01XXX) we had stopped displaying no’s & used the town under the logo.

  2. Telephone numbers on bell box stems from the old days when there were no central stations or bell cut outs. If an alarm rang for days and the neighbours kept complaining to the local police then the police would call the number on the box and ask for an engineer to go and disconnect the bell. This was a common occurence if the electricity was switched off, a bell in those days could ring for many days on it’s own internal battery.

  3. Also with phone numbers, you risk Stuart criticizing where the spaces have been put (0208 xxx versus 020 8xxx etc – the latter being correct)

    • Quite correct, there is right and there is wrong. Nothing difficult!

      My number isn’t on my box for advertising, it just adds some professionalism to the job. I am an alarm engineer, my details are available everywhere, I have nothing to hide. Simple as that, it’s there for reference, not for work creation of any sort.

      • I agree, while a phone number isn’t essential if the box looks recent and professional, having one can give an impression of stability and dependability, especially for a smaller or local firm. Assuming it isn’t a mobile number, out of date, or wrongly spaced ;-). Also, it helps me to date the sounders!

        On the other hand, I can see it could be a pain, as if for some reason the phone no had to be changed, then all the boxes would be instantly out of date and you’d have to go round correcting them all with shonky-looking stickers.

        Interestingly, you see far fewer URLs than phone numbers on sounders, though younger people will surely increasingly see an up-to-date web presence as reassurance of an up-to-date firm, even if it’s just a very simple site with contact and business details.

        • Problem with sticking a URL on a box is it’s going to be too longwinded to fit\see\remember apart from the popular TLA team.

          I made the mistake of sticking a local number on some boxes, all mine have an 0845 now. Never had one call about work from that number from anyone other than new occupiers so as an advertising medium, which some people seem to think it is with lavishly long texts and pictures that you can only read from 1 metre away, it is a fail. I knew that before I started anyway. ;)

          I think the chap here has tried to do the ‘what happens if I change the number’ thing but has picked a dodgy 070 personal number, which is worse than putting a mobile number on it!

          Each to their own, if it wasn’t for the fact my boxes only have 3 letters on them I probably wouldn’t bother, nor would I be bothered if people requested plain boxes instead.

          • Well, ok, having a number maybe isn’t the door ajar to eternal hell I might have made out, just something I’ve never done myself – its funny that when I emailed my design over to the screen printers the comment I got back was “oooh, thats a nice plain design, makes a change…” which I never quite knew to take as a compliment or not. Maybe in the context of this site, and a lot of busy designs, it was?

            • What is the name on your boxes? I have two Stuarts on here with different email addresses so am not entirely clear if you’re both the same person and have already mentioned it…

              • Oh, that would be spoiling the fun! You can find me in Bristol and Bath in fairly small numbers, I’d hate to influence your opinion of my artwork by mentioning the name, but I think my boxes are pretty unusual by modern standards… Good luck!

                • Ha ha, very good. The problem is, if it’s very plain – just initials, say – it may have fallen into my “boring” category, and I may not have photographed it. However, I often go to the Bristol/Bath area (because it’s nice!), so shall start photographing ALL plain and simple sounders.

                    • Actually, it doesn’t – because it’s a specially designed logo rather than just a plain font it falls into the vast “Monogram” category, which I haven’t done any of yet. At least, the AAI box you found on the Twitter page does. That one’s quite old, but I’ve never spotted any other AAI boxes, and I imagine the design may have changed by now? What area should I be looking in to find some AAI sounders?

                    • All over central ad north west London with a few scattered around the west end, city and north west London.

                      There are over 7000 of them, so you should find a few

                    • Andy, while I’m about it, thanks for the Sentinal photo. I emailed a reply but I’m not sure if it got through, I kept getting bouncebacks. What it said was: I would never have spotted that. Amazed you can tell it was a Sentinal, it looks very rusty. Could you tell me roughly where it is on Tottenham Court Road? Then I’ll go along with a zoom lens and try for a hi-res shot.

                    • Found it – Williams News, I’ll get over there asap though I’ll risk being brainwashed by the Scientologists a couple of doors along. I can’t believe they are going to knock that beautiful building down. There used to be loads of nice old buildings on Tottenham Court Road and they are all going. Mind you, what’s left looks like burglar alarm gold.

  4. My own thoughts are that numbers on bellboxes are completely pointless; a mobile looks one-manish as Vici said, its a liability if you ever have to change numbers, an invitation for Granny Goggins to keep calling you because ‘next doors alarms just gone off again and its got your number on’ even though next door haven’t paid for a service for the last 5 years, and I never knowingly made a sale from a bellbox alone; word of mouth recommendation maybe – I don’t think most potential customers see it as the kind of public domain roofline mounted yellow pages some installers do. Besides all my favourites on here ‘don’t have a telephone’!

  5. It’s the kind of phone number that’s shifty, looking like a mobile number – suggests a one-man-band. Coupled with the fact that there’s no actual firm name, it just seemed a bit odd.

  6. Nearly – its actually a ‘Personal number’, an equally shifty early 1990s type idea (from the point of view it costs the caller a fortune – sometimes 50p a minute from another mobile!). Still available though if you really want one – it was kind of a prototype 0845! Why someone would put it on a bellbox – or any number in fact – is equally a mystery…

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