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Basic

Banham, Lambeth: minimal

Banham "Banham" burglar alarm, Lambeth • An even more minimal Banham Eurobell than yesterday's. You could even suspect someone letraseted the logo on to make their security arrangements look posh. • Spotted: Roupell Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Banham, Lambeth: minimal

Be-Sure, East Grinstead: oomph

Be-Sure "Be-Sure" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • These Eurobells seem to attract very basic design, but at least this one has some oomph – and I love the reassuring name. • Spotted: Queens Walk, East Grinstead, West Sussex,  England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
Be-Sure, East Grinstead: oomph

Phoenix Total Security, Westminster: galaxy

Phoenix Total Security "Phoenix Total Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Why is everything in the sky named after Greek mythology? As well as a constellation, the fire-renewing Phoenix bird has lent its name to a prototype launch vehicle, a galaxy cluster, a dwarf galaxy, a NASA mission to Mars, and – as Project Phoenix – the famous SETI, a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. And now, for the third time on this blog, it's on a burglar alarm too. • Spotted: Marylebone Road, City of Westminster, London, NW1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Phoenix Total Security, Westminster: galaxy

Titan, Oxford: resonant

Titan "Titan" burglar alarm, Oxford • Giant Greek god aka the largest moon of Saturn – a nice resonant burglar alarm name for the profs of Oxford. • Spotted: Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
Titan, Oxford: resonant

Siren Alarms, Stroud: noisy

Siren Alarms "Siren Alarms" burglar alarm, Stroud • I featured a much more attractive mermaid-style Siren here: this is pretty basic despite the two red Rs. But sirens can be musical too, and not just in noisy rap, drum'n'bass etc: consider the classical piece Sirenes by Claude Debussy (who admittedly never featured any burglar alarm-type sirens), or the avant-garde works of composer Edgard Varèse, who often did. • Spotted: High Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stroud
Siren Alarms, Stroud: noisy

“Class Systems”, Hackney: Marxism today

Class BroadwayMkt nr E8 4PH 40431_800 "ClassSystems.co.uk" burglar alarm, Hackney • You could read this as being a classy product, but looked at another way it's almost a Marxist statement, especially in the rapidly gentrifying area of the People's Republic of Hackney where I found it - on a posh shop surrounded by not-so-posh ones. • Spotted: Broadway Market, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Class Systems”, Hackney: Marxism today

“AGE”, Great Missenden: slow response

AGE Security Aylesbury "AGE Security Aylesbury" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • Hope they didn't have to wait an age for a response, ha ha - lthough I think they will now, as I can find no evidence this firm is still trading. Presumably the initials actually stand for Aylesbury something-or-other. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“AGE”, Great Missenden: slow response

“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

Hunter "Hunter" burglar alarm, Lambeth • What do hunters do? They shoot things. I rest my shooting-related case. Incidentally, I found this burglar alarm on the side of one of Damian Hirst's many studios, the one where teams of assistants used to make spot paintings for him. He's now had the entire road closed down (thanks, Dame, now I have to make a massive detour!) while the building is turned, at vast expense, into a swanky art gallery and restaurant. So the burglar alarm is no more. • Spotted: Newport Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

"Severn Telford" burglar alarm, Ironbridge • Found on the River Severn near Telford, so does what it says on the can. Probably dates back to the Industrial Revolution, which started at the spot I found it – Ironbridge Gorge. Oh, and the Severn is Britain's longest river, don't you know. • Spotted: Tontine Hill, Ironbridge, Shropshire, TF8, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Telford Above: the River Severn at Ironbridge Gorge, near Telford
“Severn Telford”, Ironbridge: industrial

“Cannon”, Bristol: mighty weapon

"Cannon Bristol" burglar alarm, Bristol • I start today's "weapons" theme with the mighty Cannon, who seem to provide about half the burglar alarms in Bristol. Surprisingly, I've never featured them before (apart from an old one in the distance here) – and this is an even earlier example, I reckon. • Spotted: Clifton Down area, Bristol, Avon, BS8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Cannon”, Bristol: mighty weapon

“Sentry Alarms”, Rugby: old guard

"Sentry Alarms" burglar alarm, Rugby • So, after a brief musical interlude, we're back with the mega-militia theme, this time with sounders boasting guards and sentries. To kick things off in Rugby (ha ha), here's one I've already shown small as part of the "decay" theme, but it's ancient enough to be worth repeating close-up – I'm always a sucker for geographical phone codes. • Spotted: Gas Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Rugby
“Sentry Alarms”, Rugby: old guard

“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

"Shield Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Camden • So now I move from the fortification of buildings to the fortification of humans, with the huge burglar alarm category of shields. This sounder does (or rather, did) what it says on the can. There's a side view below for the real "spotters" out there. • Spotted: Bleeding Heart Yard, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

“Knight Security Systems”, Islington: noble pun

"Knight Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • With their connotations of nobility, bravery and chivalry, and the happy pun on "night", knights are one of the most popular burglar alarm themes. This old example is so huge (see side view, below) it could even have a few mounted warriors lurking within it. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Knight Security Systems”, Islington: noble pun

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This Admiral's taken over another alarm – I'm guessing, from the style and colour of the box, that it's an A1. Just a thought: if Admiral merged with Abel, they'd be Admirable. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Perfectly placed on a half-timbered beam, another bigwig from East Grinstead, where I like to think plenty of real retired admirals reside. The rank of Admiral dates from 1297, and the simple logo belongs to a 1992-founded firm whose sounders I spot all over the place. The red-and-white scheme is appropriate, as an Admiral's flag is the similarly-hued St George's Cross. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

“Instant Aid Protection”, Westminster: bold promise

"Instant Aid Protection" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This vintage Eurobell boldly promises instant aid, which is about as speedy as you can get. I'm not sure if the company was called "Instant Aid" or "Instant Aid Protection", but either way it's not exactly a catchy name, and the logo – if such it is – is pretty basic too. It was found in the dilapidated but once-grand shopping arcade at Victoria Station (hence the fancy moulding, below), which is now being redeveloped. • Spotted: Victoria Arcade, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster [caption id="attachment_11856" align="alignnone" width="472"] The alarm in its grungily grand setting at Victoria Station[/caption]
“Instant Aid Protection”, Westminster: bold promise

“Jaguar Alarms London”, Wandsworth: holey cat

"Jaguar Alarms London" burglar alarm, Wandsworth • Presumably this minimalist and somewhat holed Jaguar is a vintage remnant of the Acton-based Jaguar Alarm Company featured here – a company later acquired by Ambush, as discussed in these comments. This so-called (by me) "baton" sounder is unusual for having a blue bulb, and the logo printed directly on to it – all the others I've found have red bulbs and labels. Riveting! • Spotted: Battersea High Street, Wandsworth, London, SE11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea
“Jaguar Alarms London”, Wandsworth: holey cat

“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

"Bushwood Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Named after both a bush and a wood, this is very botanical, in name if not design. At first I assumed it was titled after the Bushwood area of Leytonstone, near to Epping Forest – an enclave once described as a "hidden gem" by Time Out's property section. But web research suggests Bushwood were a Wandsworth firm who later changed their name to Barking Dog Security (not from Barking, ha ha), whose excellent dog-based sounder I've not featured yet. And now the URL www.bushwoodsecurity.co.uk leads to a sub-site of Crown Security Systems (the one I featured blurrily here), so maybe Crown bought out the original Bushwood. It's all very confusing. • Spotted: Berners Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

"Avon Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Avon calling: a modern take on the triangle, available with different-coloured surrounds. You don't see them that often, although it's a nice-looking design; however Avon have managed to take it downmarket with a basic, skew-wiff sticker. • Spotted: King Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

"Godbold & Co Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • OK, so it's a bit tenuous for the Christian theme, but it does namecheck the "big daddy" in the sky. The picturesque surname Godbold dates back to medieval times, when "god" meant "good", and translates as "good brave", or "good dwelling" – both totally appropriate for a security device. God is good, indeed. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

“SM”, Bristol: strange peeper

"SM" burglar alarm, Bristol • A blank-faced box with a single black peeper – this is just strange, and like so many sounders featuring eyes, a bit creepy. The company's name is totally obscure – I'm not even sure if it's ISM (geddit), OSM, or just SM, and of course there's no clue what any of it stands for. It's probably not Sado-Masochist, so I'm guessing Security Master. • Spotted: High Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“SM”, Bristol: strange peeper

“Fox Alarms”, Hull: where’s Wanker?

"Fox Alarms Leeds" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Now we come onto a run of Fox alarms. Since this has no image, it possibly simply refers to the proprietor's surname: an ancient English soubriquet meaning, um, fox – or someone cunning. It is also an anglicization of the German patronymic Fuchs, pronounced Fooks – which is almost as embarrassing as being called Mr Wanker, as Teutonic gentlemen often are. Fuchs & Wanker – now, that would be a great security firm name! • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle Above: a real fox (photo by Rob Lee)
“Fox Alarms”, Hull: where’s Wanker?

“Badger”, Hounslow: Albanian thief

"Badger Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hounslow • The grumpy TB-spreading badger has more relevance to burglar alarms than you may imagine. Firstly, it defends its sett ferociously, attacking even bears and wolves. Secondly, according to a very dubious entry on Wikipedia, its name possibly derives, via Romanian and Thracian, from the Albanian word for "thief" (though more conventional wisdom has it that it derives from French, and is related to the white "badge" on its forehead). And thirdly, its old English nickname Brock (from the Celtic "broc", meaning "grey"), is – ta da – also a make of burglar alarm, albeit long defunct. Of course, Badger may just be the burglar alarm proprietor's surname – in which case it has nothing to do with the animal at all, but refers either to the Domesday-listed Shropshire village of Badger, or to the medieval trade of bagger, or bag-maker. Whatever the story, it's a very old word; and it's a very old burglar alarm, too. • Spotted: Harvard Road, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth Above: a real badger (photo by BadgerHero)
“Badger”, Hounslow: Albanian thief

“The London Lock Shop”, Tower Hamlets: minimal

"The London Lock Shop" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This escapes the boring category of yesterday's alarm by virtue of being so basic it's practically a minimalist work of art (and in fact it does rather resemble a slogan piece by Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner). Appropriately it was found between two minimalistically-inclined contemporary art galleries, Herald Street and Maureen Paley. Both occupy ex-industrial units in the same gentrifying but still-gritty East End backstreet; neighbours include car workshops, small wholesalers, and a very noisy evangelical church, also in an industrial unit. In other words, a prime hunting ground for ancient sounders such as this. I'm often struck by the beauty of bricks when photographing burglar alarms, and am intrigued by the herringbone-textured ones behind this, which are of a type I haven't noticed before. I can't find any relevant info on Google, though I presume they're just cheap industrial stock – it's that kind of road. • Spotted: Herald Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“The London Lock Shop”, Tower Hamlets: minimal

“Locktec”, Tower Hamlets: ultra boring

"Locktec Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Why do so many dull typographic lock-related designs use blue-and-white Gill Sans Ultra Bold? This is the third example I've found that's set in the 1920s font – see also Bath Key Security and Strathand – and all three are ultra boring. There's a more interesting recent Locktec design depicting a roaring lion, but I'm saving that for a later category. To compound the tedium, it's a blurred photo – always a sign that I was feeling a mite exposed when taking the shot. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Locktec”, Tower Hamlets: ultra boring

“Key Alarms”, Old Coulsdon: urine-hued simplicity

"Key Alarms" burglar alarm, Old Coulsdon • We now move from visual keys to verbal keys, and this is as basic as it gets: the ragged urine-hued simplicity of Key Alarms, yet another aged specimen from the half-timbered land of superannuated security systems that is Old Coulsdon. • Spotted: Coulsdon Road, Old Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Croydon South
“Key Alarms”, Old Coulsdon: urine-hued simplicity

“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

"Gemeni Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, scraping the bottom of the zodiacal barrel, a very basic and mis-spelled Gemini alarm – unless I’m missing something, and it says Gemeni for good reason, eg it's written in Romanian. So we’ve had Gemini the twins not once, but twice – one boring, and one boring and dyslexic. Uncanny! That’s it for astrological alarms, just the four: Zodiac, Scorpio, Gemini and Gemeni. I have found no more, whereas there are scores of animals on burglar alarms, which share similar – if less mystical – iconography. As I pointed out in the Zodiac entry, that leaves a gap in the naming market. I hope someone takes it up – and remembers to illustrate it. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: the constellation of Gemini visualised as twins holding hands (not the usual depiction, which is abstract – see yesterday), by the children's author H.A. Rey. Realistic!
“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

“Phoenix Security Doncaster”, Chelsea: rare old bird

"Phoenix Security Doncaster" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • A very old Phoenix, which – if it accords with legend – is the only one of its kind, and will soon set itself on fire. In the Greco-Assyrian myth which gives this device its name, the crimson-plumed firebird is the sole representative of its species, and lives for 500 years. When it feels itself getting old, it climbs onto a fragrant DIY pyre of frankinsence and myrrh, faces the sun and bursts exuberantly into flame, soaring reborn from the ashes. In some versions it's a small grub that emerges from the ashes, which after three days turns into a new phoenix; which, in further variants, carries the embalmed ashes of its parent to an altar in the Egyptian sun-worshipping city of Heliopolis. Although the estimable Greek historian Herodotus was bluntly sceptical about much of this fanciful tale, its clear parallels with Biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus made it a hit with early Catholic artists, hence its inclusion in European iconography, and eventually on burglar alarms. Generally considered benevolent despite their fierce looks, phoenixes are today a metaphor for anything that renews, such as a "phoenix firm" which declares bankruptcy, dumps its debt obligations, and restarts anew – hopefully not the fate of Phoenix Security. • Spotted: Cadogan Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham Above: Some even older phoenixes. Top row: during and after resurrection, from the beautiful 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. Bottom left: Coptic Egyptian stone phoenix from the Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam. Bottom right: a magnificent printed phoenix from Friedrich Justin Bertuch's stunningly-illustrated educational partwork "Bilderbuch für Kinder" (1790-1830).
“Phoenix Security Doncaster”, Chelsea: rare old bird

“Allied Security Systems”, Tower Hamlets: John Mills

"Allied Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • After three days of dastardly SS alarms, time to wheel out the plucky Allied forces, doubtless led by Sir John Mills. This sturdy old Eurobell sounder actually does resemble some kind of ancient air raid early warning device, what with its giant front-mounted red bulb – the only one of this design I've ever come across. The Allied powers morphed into the United Nations at the end of World War II, and eventually their ex-foes, the Axis powers, joined up too. Axis would be a pretty good name for a burglar alarm, but so far I haven't found one. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Allied Security Systems”, Tower Hamlets: John Mills

“SS Alarms”, Hull: Hitler’s evil henchmen

"SS Alarms" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Hmmm, a firm called simply SS – how cryptic. It could stand for "Steam Ship", as in Isambard Kingdom Brunel's pioneering SS Great Britain. It could stand for "Saints", as in the art-stuffed SS Giovanni e Paolo, one of Venice's finest Gothic churches. It could even, if you're a graphic designer, stand for "Same Size". But whenever I see SS on a burglar alarm, it always makes me think of the Waffen SS, as in Hitler's evil henchmen. And so although I know it probably stands for Security Systems (because SS on a burglar alarm inevitably does), the minimalist logo of SS Alarms has ended up here, in my World War II category. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“SS Alarms”, Hull: Hitler’s evil henchmen

“Spitfire Security Systems”, Chelsea: basic namesake

"Spitfire Security Systems" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • So far this week we've had patriotic WWII alarms celebrating Britannia, Churchill, Blitz – and now comes the Battle of Britain, courtesy of Spitfire Security Systems. I first discovered one of these in Westminster in 2002, but – as with my first Blitz alarm – took a useless photo. This is the only one of the same design I have come across since then, again found in a true blue Tory borough, and despite its age in a pristine condition worthy of the Imperial War Museum, which of course houses a real Spitfire. The Spitfire plane was noted for its superb design, but the same can't be said of this alarm namesake, which looks like a five-minute job knocked out on a word processor, and gains entry a category I've dubbed "basic", reserved for the most simple type-only designs. The fact that the rudimentary logo is set in a centred serif font with a rule underneath elevates it to the superior end of the "basic" category, but basic it is nevertheless. • Spotted: Godfrey Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham
“Spitfire Security Systems”, Chelsea: basic namesake

“Strident Bell”, Marlow: found art object

"Strident Bell" burglar alarm, Marlow • My final bell-themed alarm for now is the superbly-named vintage device which starred as centrepiece of my recent post on red alarms. I've got no idea how old it is; the typeface looks 1930s, but it's more likely to date from the 1950s. Its owners must be fond of it, because at some point someone has repainted the red case, carefully avoiding the lettering – and taking it straight into the realm of the found art object. • Spotted: Riverside area, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beaconsfield
“Strident Bell”, Marlow: found art object

“Detection Protection”, Lambeth: dated doggerel

Detection Protection burglar alarm Lambeth 2009"Detection Protection" burglar alarm, Lambeth • What can I say? Like all the other detection themed alarms, dull, dull dull – and ancient, and faded, and cheaply done – exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a road called Lower Marsh (believe it or not, there's an Upper Marsh, too). But at least it rhymes! • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Detection Protection burglar alarm Lambeth 2009
“Detection Protection”, Lambeth: dated doggerel