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Portcullis

“Krypto Security”, Newham: swept away

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, Newham • Mr Krypto, your fortified portcullis is of no use here – it didn't keep out the Olympics, which have now swamped Marshgate Lane where I found you, sweeping you and your equally faded sounder brethren away on a tide of G4S-"protected" new-build. • Spotted: Marshgate Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Krypto Security”, Newham: swept away

“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • And so we segue seamlessly from portcullises to fortifications in general – castles, fortresses, ramparts and so on. This looks like an old-style prison, which would be apt, but because I have seen other versions of Krypto's logo (coming soon), I know it's a castle. But what stands out here is the turret-shaped sounder – I wonder whether the logo was designed to fit it, or vice versa? I've never seen any other similarly-shaped sounders in the UK, though I have abroad. I'm not sad enough to snap burglar alarms on holiday, however – well, not often – so I don't have pictorial proof. • Spotted: New Cavendish Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

"Baymont Alarms York" burglar alarm, York • At last, a portcullis attached to an actual, realistic building: a bit of York's ancient city walls, no doubt, or some local fortress. I thought Baymont sounded like a place, but it doesn't seem to be, so maybe it's someone's name. • Spotted: Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

“National Security”, Tower Hamlets: lock ’em all up

"National Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Oooer, this is a bit foreboding: a tall, harshly-lit tower casting the menacing shadow of a portcullis. Punningly, it's in Tower Hamlets – and it's national, too! Lock 'em all up, that's what I say. • Spotted: Brushfield Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“National Security”, Tower Hamlets: lock ’em all up

“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

"Allied Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Like Safeguard Alarms, another shield / fortress / portcullis combo, with a name that earns it honorary inclusion in the WWII category too. I guess this is a pretty old sounder, as it looks really faded, but Allied Security is still going strong. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

“Sentry Alarms”, Newquay: wasp-waisted

"Sentry Alarms" burglar alarm, Newquay • Simpler than but similar to yesterday's Safeguard Alarms design, and equally nice: a wasp-waisted fortress-plus-portcullis combo, with combat-ready stencil type. And like yesterday's too, it's situated on brutalist pebbledash: apt, as brutalism is a style of architecture which overtly references bastions and fortresses. Sentries are such a popular alarm trope I'll feature a whole run of them soon; but I can't find a firm with this specific logo on the internet. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Sentry Alarms”, Newquay: wasp-waisted

“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

"Safeguard Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I was wading grumpily through Oxford's irritating throngs of meandering coach parties and pillocks on pushbikes, when this unusual alarm, on the side of a massive brutalist building next to the tacky remains of an actual castle, cheered me up a bit. It offers triple security: a shield, a fortress and a portcullis – plus a suggestion of safety by day and night, a towering dungeon, and even possibly a nod to the 2-Tone ska movement of the early 1980s (in my tortured imagination, anyway). Turns out Safeguard Alarms are a genuine family-run firm, founded in 1969 – nice logo! • Spotted: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Islington • I've already featured Security Centres twice in the lightning category, but I'm a sucker for decaying sounders, so here they are again with a very rusty portcullis. There's a slightly complicated history discussed in the comments here, regarding a 1980s UK company called Security Centres, who presumably installed this alarm, and also the vintage one here. They were then acquired by Modern Alarms, after which some ex-employees founded a Welsh firm called Security Centres (GB) using the same portcullis logo, as featured here, and are still going strong. Shows how popular the portcullis is! • Spotted: Wharfdale Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

“TES Security”, Bolton: named twice

"TES Security" burglar alarm, Bolton • This is quite strange, when you deconstruct it: a portcullis with a jaunty 1960s-style monogram in the middle, with a completely different logo suspended from it by chains, perhaps because the top one isn't very legible. The one above looks a bit like a bike and suggests a balancing act, while the one below is in a font beloved of 1970s sci-fi TV shows. So, a retro-futuristic design with a superannuated phone number – but no indication of what the initials stand for, or where a portcullis might fit into the grand scheme of things. • Spotted: Marsden Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bolton North East
“TES Security”, Bolton: named twice

“Knightsbridge”, Merton: horsey bling

"Knightsbridge Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Merton • Giant chains, jewelled keys and a white horse (at least that's what I think it is) on top: that's one blingy portcullis Knightsbridge have in their possession, worthy of Harry Potter or Katie Price. Though like West London Security, the placing is slightly off – wealthy Wimbledon Village may very well be full of bespoke portcullises, but it's a long way from Knightsbridge. Dodgy geography seems to be a feature of portcullis alarms. • Spotted: High Street, Wimbledon Village, Merton, London, SW19, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Wimbledon
“Knightsbridge”, Merton: horsey bling

“Associated Security”, Tower Hamlets: maybe a fence

"Associated Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I question the mechanics of this portcullis, as although (unlike the last two examples) it has supports, the palings appear to be strung out on wire. So maybe it isn't a portcullis at all, but some kind of electrified fence. Redolent of the prison camp, or maybe just a fold-away bed, it to me suggests the sculptures of Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum. I know that's reading too much into it... but cut me some slack, there's only so much you can say about clip-art portcullises. • Spotted: Leyden Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Associated Security”, Tower Hamlets: maybe a fence

“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

"August Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Is that August the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar, or August to rhyme with disgust – meaning venerable? Either way it doesn't matter, because you're not getting past the mammoth portcullis. Or maybe it's an upside-down picket fence. • Spotted: Evershot Road, Islington, London, N4, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

Nameless portcullis burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, after a year and a half of daily and increasingly martial burglar alarms, we navigate – like Charles Marlow in Heart of Darkness, like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now – ever deeper into the metaphorical thickets of home as castle. And what do we find at the threshold of the gated community? A ruddy great portcullis on a sounder (and it hasn't even got a name). Better than a fat sweaty lunatic in a tent, obviously. • Spotted: Chiltern Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • Security Centres must have been a big firm once, as there are still plenty of their sounders around London, all pretty old. This is one of the more recent examples, and shows the lightning flash much better than yesterday's rusty and faded box. Shoreham's meant to be quite posh, and has a weird 1930s "millionaire's row" down by the seafront, home to Fatboy Slim and David Walliams amongst others; but most of the area is dominated by a really grim dockyard, which is exactly the sort of place you'd expect to find an electrified portcullis. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

“Security Centres (UK) Ltd”, Newham: Olympic cruelty

"Security Centres (UK) Ltd" burglar alarm, Newham • This vintage sounder doesn't exist any more, as I found it in a part of London that's now been completely torn down to make way for the Olympics. It's a bit hard to make out, but that's a thunderbolt piercing the portcullis – another popular alarm motif I shall feature one day. So not only will felons be brutally gated, they'll be electrocuted. Nice! • Spotted: Pudding Mill Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Security Centres (UK) Ltd”, Newham: Olympic cruelty