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“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

“Arlescourt Security” burglar alarm, Camden • Severed hands are a popular image on burglar alarms, and quite apart from reminding thieves what appendage they might lose under sharia law, it’s an ancient symbol with many connotations. The heraldic hand on this fine vintage sounder is grimly gripping a key in the manner of the Lady of the Lake brandishing Excalibur from her watery depths. It recalls the folkloric “Hand of Glory” – the dried and pickled mitt of a hanged felon, believed in medieval Europe to have the power to unlock any door it came across. There are grisly if contested examples in Whitby and Walsall museums, and a couple of mentions in Harry Potter. It’s all most appropriate for a firm whose name sounds like something straight out of Camelot. • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras

Hands of Glory: left, a medieval version, and right, Whitby Museum's example

10 replies »

  1. Did the same company that makes the C and H type boxes, also the same company that made the A and S type? I think this kind of box ive oftern seen a bit rusty

  2. Hi Andy, I know that you are a bell box master, and I have seen your collection in your office as testament to this, but I always thought the “A” type had its cover fixing screws on the side of the lid at the bottom not on the front like this unit.
    I am often mistaken on things, and am happy to be put right if so.

    • I would NORMALLY bow to you AGE and experiance, but in this instance you are incorrect. The type you refer to is the ‘S’ type. How these boxes got assigned these alphabetic references is anyones guess.

      • Thanks Andy, as I said I am happy to be put right when my ageing mind lets me down ;-)
        My first apprentice job in alarms was for a long gone company that used those “s” type bell boxes. They did not use tamper switches, instead they threaded a pair through the louvres and made a joint, this loop was then connected a tamper cct. Thinking back they did not fit SA units either, straight bells only.
        And of course the apprentice had to get up the ladder to fit the bell.

  3. Maybe I have rose tinted glasses, but I remember Dagenham based, Dick Cody owned Arlescourt Security, who went on to be aquuired by Brittania as a geat firm. The standard of installation was exceptionally high with no exposed cables whatsoever, with verything being concealed or in trunking. Everything omn an Arlescourt system was coloured Arlescourt Blue, the control unit, supplimentary power supplies and even the old Ademco 669/678 Digital Communicators. The style of bell box shown is called an ‘A’ Type.

    • It was certainly an impressive find – located in the Oxford Street area, which is like the land that burglar alarm time forgot… I guess they have always been very serious about their security systems round there, and many of the boxes never came down.

    • You are correct, I used to work for Dick Cody, I started my working life at Arlescourt Security. Indeed it was always a high standard of workmanship and nearly all who started there went on to better there selves within the industry.. Dick taught us well!

      I remember those bell units, we had to ,ake the whole unit up, and it was heavy!

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