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Espionage

Code, Lambeth: console

Code Security Systems

"Code Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Judging by the logo, I think they mean computer code – the look is very early 1990s console game (or possibly a reject from a gay rave club). • Spotted: Beehive Place, Lambeth, London, SW9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood

Code, Lambeth: console

“Guardian Security”, Hull: James Bond

"Guardian Security (Hull)" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Now we move from guards to guardians, an altogether gentler-sounding concept. This one's a mysterious figure with a touch of menace – and a hint of James Bond in the logo. Because James Bond always hangs out in Hull. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Guardian Security”, Hull: James Bond

“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

"MOD Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps named to suggest the suitably militaristic Ministry of Defence, this sounder also recalls the 1960s Mod subculture, a bunch of youths noted for smart suits, flashy Italian motor scooters, and love of fighting greasy rockers on the beaches of southern England. So, not a pop group exactly, but represented by many 1960s bands such as the sharply-dressed Who and Small Faces – and, in 1980s revivalist form, The Jam. • Spotted: Alma Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Some mods. Who are also The Who.
“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

"Cirencester Intruder Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Another square oddity, which reminds me of a 1970s clock radio – I'm loving the big blue bulb. The name conjures up visions of American secret agents rampaging round deepest Gloucestershire (which they probably do). • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

"Ambush Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This looks even more like a chunky British electrical plug than yesterday's Secom, and is the only example of this sounder shape I've ever come across. It's the only Ambush device I've found too: a quick Google shows they're an Uxbridge outfit that formed in 1998, and acquired Jaguar Alarm Company in 2005 (possibly this firm). The ancient tactic of ambush is a classic militia-style burglar alarm name, of the kind that started me writing this bonkers blog in the first place; in olden times, such a manoeuvre might have involved battalions of soldiers concealed behind a hilltop, but I imagine this firm's response is more modest. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

“SAS”, Tower Hamlets: commandos on a spacecraft

"SAS Protection" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Finally, something that definitely is obsolete – NASA's recently-decommissioned Space Shuttle, the last of which, Atlantis (below), had its final flight in July 2011; the programme had been running since 1981, which is probably closer to the date of this sounder. What a Space Shuttle has got to do with the SAS, aka the British Army's crack Special Air Service corps, is anyone's guess. But if I was burgling a building and an immense orbital space vehicle bearing a payload of gun-toting, balaclava-clad commandos turned up, I'd definitely be a bit worried. • Spotted: Cambridge Heath Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow [caption id="attachment_10532" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="The last Space Shuttle, Atlantis, prepares to land – presumably not on a burglar"][/caption]
“SAS”, Tower Hamlets: commandos on a spacecraft

“Spy Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: giant mascara

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • My final Spy alarm is the only example of this logo I've found – which I reckon is a more recent design than yesterday's, though the eye still sports giant mascara. The green strobe at the bottom is unusual (most seem to be blue), and was presumably chosen to match the lettering. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Spy Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: giant mascara

“Spy Alarms”, Westminster: sitting on fossils

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Here's a more recent iteration of the Spy design than yesterday's, a strange and decorative Egyptian-looking eye which is either crying, emitting rays, or has very effective mascara. It's sited on a strip of marble teeming with the fossils of ancient sea creatures – which is a lot more interesting than the burglar alarm, really. • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Above: a better view of the fossil marble strip
“Spy Alarms”, Westminster: sitting on fossils

“Spy Alarms”, Lewisham: not cyclops

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Lewisham • Why do all these designs only have one eye? Here's another cyclops, the Masonic-looking Spy, on a sounder so old it's got an 081 London number. Actually, I've just noticed there's another little eye in the "P", so it's not a cyclops after all; but it's still really weird. • Spotted: Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London, SE13, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford
“Spy Alarms”, Lewisham: not cyclops

“CIA”, Emsworth: backyard creeper

"CIA" burglar alarm, Emsworth• A shadowy CIA intruder is creeping through the rusty debris of this harbourside back yard, bringing a splash of red to the decaying scene. I featured a close-up of this under the "Shadowy Intruders" theme a long way back, when I had no idea what the initials really stood for. Thanks to some informed comment by Paul Germaine, I can now tell you that it is Christie Intruder Alarms, founded in 1967 by husband-and-wife team Barrie and Janet Christie, and still going strong on the South Coast today. According to their excellent website, this "crooked man" logo – one of my favourites, and still in use – was designed in 1970 by Janet Christie herself. When amateur burglar alarm-spotting friends come to me with exciting alarm designs they've stumbled across, it's often this one, because it's so amusing and noticeable. • Spotted: Seagull Lane, Emsworth, Hampshire, PO10, England, 2003 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Havant
“CIA”, Emsworth: backyard creeper

“Spy Alarms”, Lambeth: a creepy Masonic sign?

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Once upon a time, a proud Lower Marsh retailer had this burglar alarm smartly fitted into a niche in their shop sign. Such was their attention to detail, that before the Spy label was stuck on, they even had the alarm's case painted dark blue to match the fascia. Then along came the sun, the wind and the rain – and off started to peel the Spy label, because it didn't stick to the paint properly. The result is a scarily blank crying / beaming Egyptian-style eye above a decaying paranoiac logo, peeking creepily out of its hole like a weird old sign for some defunct Masonic lodge. (Although Lower Marsh is so odd it wouldn't surprise me if there actually was a Masonic lodge there.) • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Spy Alarms”, Lambeth: a creepy Masonic sign?

“CIA”, Emsworth: secret service snooper

CIA burglar alarm, Emsworth, 2003"CIA" burglar alarm, Emsworth, 2003 • Here's another CIA alarm, more happily composed than yesterday's diagonal effort. Apart from being placed too high up to focus on sharply, everything about CIA alarms is utterly classic: the strident colour, the tabloid typography, the furtive figure. And, of course, being named after one of the world's most notorious spy organisations. Though, assuming the real CIA is not in the UK burglar alarm business, what this memorable acronym actually stands for remains unexplained. • Spotted: Seagull Lane, Emsworth, Hampshire, PO10, England, 2003 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Havant CIA burglar alarm, Emsworth, 2003
“CIA”, Emsworth: secret service snooper