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“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

“Westronics Ltd” burglar alarm, Lambeth • Finally, another un-nameable shape, which is a bit like the body of a sea creature, or less imaginatively a razor. Maybe the ascendancy of these rounded, amorphous shapes over the chunky, straight-edged forms of yore is due to the advent of computer-aided 3D modelling, something achievable on a laptop today but requiring NASA-like processing power not so long ago. The Berkshire family firm behind this box has appropriately space-age roots, having been founded in 1969, year of the first moon landing. That era is reflected in their logo, which I think is a condensed version of Blippo, a font from 1969 based on Bauhaus supremo Herbert Bayer’s influential “Universal Typeface” of the 1920s. I note that Westronics no longer uses this design of sounder, as demonstrated by the up-to-date deltas on their official website here. However it remains the only example of this shape I’ve come across, and I end with it because it also pictures the next theme, a weapon popular with ancient villains and security forces alike – the arrow. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall

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26 replies »

  1. Wow….somehow this whole thread escaped me. The only think I would like to add is that I have been aware of Westronics prior to my working life, and although I know little about them I was always aware of the firms pedigree. For my part, one of my favourite films has always been West World with Yule Brenner….about the imaginary land with robots that are at your beck and call….therefore I always felt/feel that Westronics is a cool name :)

    We recently took out a very old Westronics job in St. Johns Wood (Anthony….long time cancelled with Westronics and contract was with previous occupier…we fitted a completly new system – the original system was dowm powered and didnt work. It had a Scantronic 9500 (a later addition) with removable tube and batten frames on each and EVERY window …you probably know the the job!). I have just checked on Google Street view and the house is on there with the old Westronic Bells…it is a red H type box with yellow sticker, as previously described.

  2. Dear owner of this post.

    This is an unauthorised picture please remove this from your site.

    Kind Regards,

    Antony Miller

    Westronics Ltd

    • Dear Mr Miller, I do not wish to upset anyone with this blog, which is about the graphic design of burglar alarms, and I am sorry you are unhappy to see photo of one of your burglar alarms here. However I took this photo myself from a public highway, and there is no negative comment attached, so it is perfectly legal to use.

      • Dear Ms MacDoanald,

        Although it is perfectly legal for you to take photos it is unacceptable to display these photos publicly without prior written permission from either the building owner or the company who owns the logo on the box.

        Thefore could you kindly remove the image before we seek further legal advice on the matter.

        Kind regards,

        Antony Miller

        • I work in the publishing industry and am familiar with the laws regarding copyright and image usage. Under UK law, third parties do not need permission from a building or product owner to print a photograph of their property, so long as it was photographed in a public place and is not threatening or defamatory. In the UK, even humans do not have rights over their own faces – otherwise the newspapers would not be able to print paparazzi shots. You are welcome to take legal advice, as there is no case to answer.

          I am a perfectly reasonable person, and if there is some specific reason you would rather this image was not used, I am happy to hear it. If, for instance, you are uneasy about having your phone number displayed, I am willing to airbrush it out. But otherwise, asking me to remove a photo of an object on piece of wall that is publicly accessible, that is visible on Google Streetview, and that is essentially a form of advertising, goes against all the tenets of a free press – which we still have in the UK.

          • If you are a reasonable then I would ask you to remove the logo and telephone number and the the company name from this post. Currently this image is high up on google image search and as this is an old design sounder I do not wish this to be one of the first imnages that potential customers will see along with a commecnt made by yourself on the box as “dull” which i believe to be derogatory.

            • OK, so now you are giving me a reasonable reason, although to be fair if there are old-design Westronics sounders around in public places, potential customers are just as likely to see them there as on my blog. And under law, calling a design “dull” would be considered fair comment, not defamatory.

              However I don’t wish any ill to your business, which I note from your website has been going since 1969. I’m willing to remove the phone number and the word dull, and add a sentence explaining that this is an old design sounder no longer used by your long-established firm. I can also add a link to your website if you wish, so people can see what your current sounders are like.

              I’m sorry you have been upset by the entry – if you peruse the comments on this blog, you’ll see that most of the gentlemen contributing here are security firm owners whose old-design sounders have also been featured, and who seem to take it in very good part. Indeed, they have contributed many fascinating discussions about historic security firms and personalities.

              • Since the early 70s I have always had great respect for Westronics who have continued trading over many years without selling like most companies, but now after reading the above posts I’m just dumb founded.

                • Hi Mike – thanks for your support, but I really don’t want to cause offence, so I’ve edited your comment a little. I’ve posted over 400 entries now and this is the first company to take it badly so I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. I hadn’t actually realised Westronics was such a long-established company or I may have been a little less flip, and mentioned their established date – I was obviously in a hurry as I usually research these things. I admire anyone who can keep a company going that long, employing people and so on. I hardly think my post will put their potential customers off, but if they are worried about it I have to respect that. The internet has really made everything wide open, and for some people that may take a little getting used to. Ironically it seems to be Google image search that is really causing the problems here, and there’s not much I can do about that!

                  • I certainly wouldn’t want this site to become like a lot of other forums where a few are very rude to other members, this site really is unique, please keep it that way, you have my support.
                    I believe the current owners of Westronics are not the originals, a manager brought the company a number of years ago, forgive me if this is not totally correct.

                    • Hi Mike,

                      Just to confirm yes it is correct that the managing director at the time took over the company approximately 5 years ago however the managing director has been with Westronics for over 30 years taking the company from strength to strength and ensuring that the company remains a family owned business.

                      Again I apologise if you have taken offense to the comments that I have made it was not my intention to come across as rude.

                  • Hi Vici,

                    Thanks for the editing of this post I do appreciate your help. Unfortunately I was directed to this site by a potential customer who had searched for the look of our sounder and had decided to go with another company because of this. It was probably not the best time to post these comments shortly after learning you have lost a potential customer due to this. We understand that we cannot control everything on the internet but as I am sure you will agree we must protect the brand as much as we can to distinguish ourselves and keep the company going for another 40 years.

                    Mike, thank you for your comments on spelling, I’m sure you will understand that typing in a hurry can cause these errors. I hope that you continue to see Westronics in a good light following this and must apologise if you have taken offense to this.

                    Once again Vici thank you for your help and I hope you understand the reasons. Hopefully now that I have found this site I can help contribute some images for you, I see lots of weird and wonderful bell box designs (some of them ours!).

                    Thanks,

                    • It would be good to see pictures of your early bell boxes, wasn’t the background colour yellow.

                    • Hi Mike,

                      Yes you are correct they were a red coffin style design with a yellow sticker on the front. They stood out very well. I will see if I can track down some of images of them if not there are still a few if them about the place.

                    • Hi Antony

                      Thanks for your generous response, especially in the light of this potential customer, who sounds very misguided – surely they should have checked your official site rather than some random blog. Anyway I will update the text within the next 24 hours. Let me know if you want me to include your official website URL or not.

                      Also I am soon going to add a disclaimer to make it clear this website is a graphic design site which is NOT related to the companies featured and focuses on vintage sounders which may not be the latest models. I really don’t want to affect anyone’s business, life is hard enough as it is.

                      Best wishes

                      Vici

                    • Hi Vici,

                      Thanks for this.

                      Unfortunately some customers are quick to jump to conclusions with websites. You are more than welcome to include the company URL and that would be greatly appreciated.

                    • OK, I will update it tomorrow including your URL and make things very clear. Apologies again for the hassle. I’ll also start looking out for your old sounders – I think I can picture them, now you have described it.

                    • Customers/human beings can be strange, back in the 70s a customer used our company Enright Security because at the time there was TV crime programme called McMillan and Wife starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint John and McMillan’s assistant was called Sergeant Enright. Perhaps then a company should be called Eastenders or Coronation.

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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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