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Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

Bastion Security Systems "Bastion Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I love this Bastion logo – it was clearly designed specifically to fit on a Eurobell, and even has a full stop at the end. And for once the clear cap doesn't have a logo or circuit board beneath it. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

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

Crime Stop, Birmingham: avatar

Crime Stop Protected "Crime Stop Protected" burglar alarm, Birmingham • Used as my avatar yet I've never previously published this round version. So here it is, in all its shadowy intruder-like glory. • Spotted: Meriden Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood
Crime Stop, Birmingham: avatar

Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

Protec Wells "Protec Wells" burglar alarm, Bristol • How charming, a logo in the form a steppy triangle. A typographic ziggurat, if you will. I think it refers to the tiny city of Wells, rather than claiming to protect water-harbouring holes in the ground. Although you never know in the West Country – things sometimes get a bit weird out that way, and they do have quite a lot of ancient wells. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

FSE, Camden: smiley

FSE "FSE" burglar alarm, Camden • I love this. Who knows what it stands for, but it resembles a fat clownish smiley face, using a classic 1970s "go-faster stripes" font Stop, by Aldo Novarese. In fact this sounder was probably designed in the rave-tastic 1990s, when such "go-faster" styles came back into vogue; there's a learned article about it here• Spotted: Gordon Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
FSE, Camden: smiley

AE, Marlborough: protected

AE "AE" burglar alarm, Marlborough • I'm assuming this is a triangular monogram saying AE, which would be a clever piece of typography. Alternately it could represent a 3D letter "A" with stripey sides. Either way, like yesterday's AAI, it's clearly designed to fill the whole delta – and unlike this wonky ASG, is protected from pigeons / seagulls, too. • Spotted: Town centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Devizes
AE, Marlborough: protected

Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

Ades Burglar Alarm "Ades Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Bristol • I really like this weird old 1970s disco-style logo I found in Bristol, home of one squillion burglar alarm firms. It's probably meant to be soundwaves emanating from a bell, but looks more like a lot of crescent moons surrounding a planet, so I'm including it in the astronomy category too. The colour of the box may be significant: Ades is an unusual surname thought to derive from the Hebrew for "red". • Spotted: Gloucester Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

Dragon, Cardiff: Welsh

Dragon StMarySt Cardiff nr CF10 1DX 40934_800 "Dragon" burglar alarm, Cardiff • The Welsh never get tired of their dragons, do they? And neither do I. • Spotted: St Mary Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Cardiff Central
Dragon, Cardiff: Welsh

Ivory, Camden: tusker

Ivory MapleSt nr W1T 4BE 70565_800 "Ivory" burglar alarm, Camden • It's a long time since I featured alarms with animals on, and since then I've come across several more sounders featuring wildly improbable guardian beasts. So here's a reboot of the "Crazy Creatures" theme, starting with this magnificent tusker, storming forward to trample intruders to death. • Spotted: Maple Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
Ivory, Camden: tusker

PC, Stratford-upon-Avon: minimalist

PC HenleySt StratfordUponAvon nr CV37 6PT 20029_800 "PC Security" burglar alarm, Stratford-upon-Avon • Three popular security tropes in one minimalist logo: police and thieves, locksmithery, and of course computers. I think we can leave political correctness out of it.  • Spotted: Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stratford-on-Avon
PC, Stratford-upon-Avon: minimalist

Morse, Camden: sleuthing

Morse Security "Morse Security" burglar alarm, Camden • A giant felon's fingerprint on a shiny light-up bell box – how great! The name suggests the sleuthing of Inspector Morse, but of course also evokes morse code - which is a kind of computing. So I stand by including it in my maths theme. • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
Morse, Camden: sleuthing

Alarm Vision, Cardiff: spiky

Alarm Vision "Alarm Vision" burglar alarm, Cardiff • This is great. I love the way the Welsh feel driven to put red dragons on everything – and how can you not like a tiny mythical creature poncing around in a spiky monogram-cum-waveform? • Spotted: Quay Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Cardiff Central
Alarm Vision, Cardiff: spiky

Securitech, Islington: football shirt

Securitech "Securitech" burglar alarm, Islington • Today we move from science to technology, one of burglar alarm land's favourite tropes. I really like this striking old design, which looks like a stripy football shirt. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
Securitech, Islington: football shirt

Disc Security Systems, Glasgow: real CD

Disc Security Systems "Disc Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • Scotland seems to sprout even more musical alarms than Norwich. I've already featured Disc, but this is a much better photo. How I love these sounders - I mean, each one has computer-readable lettering and an actual, real CD on it! How cool is that? If each one played a different Scottish musical "legend" - eg the Bay City Rollers, The Proclaimers, The Krankies - that would be the icing on the cake. • Spotted: George Street, Glasgow, G1, Scotland, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
Disc Security Systems, Glasgow: real CD

“Simply Quality”, Camden: scrolled

Simply Quality Security Systems "Simply Quality Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • I love this – the utterly boasty claim "simply quality", with a faux woodcut of a ribbon-bound scroll of excellence. Being a sad old graphic designer, I actually recognise it as a bit of early 1990s computer clip-art, no doubt intended for graduation invitations. • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Simply Quality”, Camden: scrolled

“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

GAF Alarms "GAF Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • One of my favourites, both for its awkward yet traditional 1920s-style monogram, and the fact that GAF is a sort-of pun on house, though I'm not sure if that's intended.• Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

“Burglarm”, Winchester: eccentric

Burglarm Southampton "Burglarm Southampton" burglar alarm, Winchester • And finally, to see out 2012, one of my all-time favourite monograms, which I have been waiting two long years to feature – the eccentrically-titled Burglarm, whose monogram inexplicably features an S-shaped serpent struggling out of a letter "B". I suppose it stands for Burglarm Southampton, and since it's not a town noted for snake infestations, the slithering fellow must represent a burglar. Anyway, Burglarm are no more: founded in 1968, they were taken over in 2006 by the rather grand Berkeley Guard, who maintain a nice page of Burglarm history here. • Spotted: Town centre, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Winchester
“Burglarm”, Winchester: eccentric

“So Secure”, Greenwich: handbag-worthy

So Secure "So Secure" burglar alarm, Greenwich • I love this beautiful double S monogram, which is so sophisticatedly retro in its black-and-olive curvyness that it wouldn't look out of place on an Orla Kiely handbag. (That's a compliment, chaps.) However, perhaps not the most legible - it wasn't till I found a version with the website on that I realised the green circle meant it said "SoSecure". Until then I'd always read it as "SSecure", putting it in the rather large "SS" logo category (in the Security Services, rather than Nazi sense). Whereas in fact it kind of says SOS. Very clever. • Spotted: Herbert Road, Greenwich, London, SE18, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Greenwich and Woolwich
“So Secure”, Greenwich: handbag-worthy

“Contract Fire Security”, Westminster: extinguisher

Contract Fire Security "Contract Fire Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is great - the letters CFS wrangled into a fire extinguisher monogram. I wish they'd made it bigger on the sounder, so I've put an enlargement below. I wonder if this is the same Contract Security I featured in the "Shooting" theme last week? It was certainly found in the same area, ie Fitzrovia. • Spotted: Newman Passage, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Contract Fire Security
“Contract Fire Security”, Westminster: extinguisher

“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: cop clamp

Town & Country "Town & Country" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • This is brilliant – a T and C made out of a clamp, looking like the opening titles for a 1970s cop show. Perhaps not strictly a monogram as it's part of a larger logo, but a top design anyway. The 1983-founded Town & Country's website shows they still boast the T&C clamp on everything from sounders to vans, now in resplendent 3D red. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: cop clamp

“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

Smiths Security Est 1850 "Smiths Security Est 1850" burglar alarm, Oxford • In the US this wouldn't be considered a monogram, as it's only one letter – even though the origin of the word monogram is "monogrammos", Greek for "consisting of a single letter". And generally, I am focusing on two or more letters for my monogram theme. However this triangular letter "S", which takes up as much space as humanly possible on the sounder, is so superb it has to feature. Not only does it resemble a stripey Edwardian blazer, and look like the kind of burglar alarm you'd find Patrick McGoohan tampering with in The Prisoner's creepy Village - it says "Est. 1850"! Can't argue with than. Sadly, Smiths Security now have a far less idiosyncratic design. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

“AAI”, Camden: red triangle

AAI "AAI" burglar alarm, Camden • Today I start the theme "monograms". The UK definition of a monogram is "a design composed of one or more letters, typically the initials of a name" (though in America I think it is defined as at least two letters); and the initials should be specially-drawn, generally entwined in some way. There are so many monogrammed sounders I can't show them all in one run - it would go on for months - so I've decided to start with nine of my favourites, taking us up to the end of the year. Honourary pole position must go to Hertfordshire-based AAI, whose boss Andy Gilmore is a regular commenter on this blog. I always reckoned the AAI monogram had been designed to fill up as much of the sounder as possible, which he confirms: "Our logo was designed by my [business] partner's daughter-in-law, who was studying art. When designing the logo, we wanted something which was clear and obvious even from a distance." Apparently it was inspired by the Nu-Tron design, another of my favourites, and AAI base all their company's branding round their logo's triangle – never changing the shape of the bell box, even when switching manufacturer. And though AAI, like most monograms, also falls into the "unexplained acronym" camp, Andy Gilmore confides that the initials were based on Andy, Adam, Ian - the latter pair his first (brief) business partners, when he was just 14. What a great story! • Spotted: Percy Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“AAI”, Camden: red triangle

“East Tower”, Westminster: bridgetastic

"East Tower Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I love bridges on burglar alarms but have only ever found two, the other being yesterday's Tamar. Tower Bridge of course spans the Thames, which like the Tamar is named after an ancient word meaning "dark flowing" – although muddy flowing would be more apt. East Tower are a long-running company, and I have many variations of their sounders, fortunately all bearing this wonderful logo. • Spotted: Vauxhall Bridge Road, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Above: the real Tower Bridge
“East Tower”, Westminster: bridgetastic

“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

“Avon Alarms”, Bristol: gorge

"Avon Alarms" burglar alarm, Bristol • There are several River Avons in the UK, because Avon is a derivation of the ancient British word for river: thus River Avon actually means River River. This charmingly discotastic sounder refers to the lovely "Bristol Avon", which runs through Gloucestershire and Wiltshire en route to Bath and Bristol, where it cleaves the mighty Avon Gorge then heads out to sea. Avon Alarms are a familiar sight in the city, which also used to be in the county of Avon, before it got turned into a "unitary authority". • Spotted: Clifton area, Bristol, Avon, BS8, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West Above: the Avon Gorge, Bristol
“Avon Alarms”, Bristol: gorge

“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

"Sentinel" burglar alarm, Hereford • Same firm as yesterday, much older sounder. Presumably that bit of shattered electronics was a strobe once upon a time. The long-established firm is still around today in Hereford - you can see their current identity here, featuring the popular shield and silhouetted figure tropes.• Spotted: Town centre, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hereford and South Herefordshire
“Sentinel”, Hereford: shattered

“Guardwell Ltd”, Camden: self-explanatory

"Guardwell Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • A name that falls into the "does what it says on the can" category – I doubt there are any firms called Guardbad. Note also the nice retrofuturist "GW" monogram, suggesting a waveform in a circle. One from a motherlode I found in the Kilburn High Road several years ago – if I ever run out of burglar alarms all I have to do is pay another visit, as there must be enough dodgy old bell boxes above the shops there to last at least another year. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Guardwell Ltd”, Camden: self-explanatory

“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

"Metropolitan Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • OK, a slight cheat – the firm's called Metropolitan, but their logo's a giant M, synonymous with groovy new wave synth-popsters M, whose "Pop Muzic" was a massive cross-pond hit in 1979. By dint of its full name, the sounder gets filed under "Religion" too, as a Metropolitan is a type of bishop, especially important in Slavic and Greek Orthodox churches. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury M of Pop Muzik fame
“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

"Abba" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Oh yes, an ancient Abba alarm with soundwaves in the background. Named after a Swedish group formed in Stockholm in 1972, or possibly a north London electrical shop I ran across recently, also called Abba. • Spotted: Brayburne Avenue, Lambeth, London SW4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall The other Abba
“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

“Dragon” burglar alarm, Bath: Welsh magic

"Dragon" burglar alarm, Bath • Some Taffs crossed river to Bristol, it seems, and deposited their red dragon there. Dating back to at least 829 AD, "Y Ddraig Goch" still features on the Welsh flag today, though by Tudor times the poor thing was also supporting the English crown's coat of arms. Reminds me of an old children's song: "Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea..." (blubs uncontrollably). • Spotted: Milsom Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Dragon” burglar alarm, Bath: Welsh magic

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

"Brocks Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • You don't see too many of these old Brocks boxes with the lion and shield on; normally they are plain white with just the logo at the top. I never know whether that's because they started like that, or the lion and shield faded off – I suspect the latter. A nice design anyway, and it heralds (geddit) the last shield, as the knightly arm-borne protection falls away leaving just a few heraldic-style animals. • Spotted: Albermarle Way, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

“CG Computa Guard”, Bolton: green and gritty

"CG Computa Guard" burglar alarm, Bolton • Let me count the ways I love this. It suggests it's guarded by a computer. It's spelled groovily. It's green, which is unusual. It's square, and I like squares. It's got a really basic monogram, and I like those too. It's vintage. It's from Bolton, which sounds all gritty and Northern. It was on an escarpment of grandly decaying windswept buildings, in true gritty Northern fashion. It's rusty. And it's got a shield on. A total winner. • Spotted: St Georges Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bolton North East
“CG Computa Guard”, Bolton: green and gritty

“Bastion Protec Systems”, Dorking: defensible space

"Bastion Protec Systems" burglar alarm, Dorking • One of the very few "defensible space" sounders without an image on it, the name Bastion helpfully sums up all the alarms in this section. A bastion is literally a pointy bit of fortification that pokes out from castles and the like, but figuratively means a stronghold of some kind. As it happens I really like this logo: 1970s disco it may be, but it's sensitively designed in classic style, and looks like it was done by a professional. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Bastion Protec Systems”, Dorking: defensible space

“Krypto Security”, Lambeth: Dracula’s castle

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Yet another Krypto – I love Krypto sounders. Especially this nicely-drawn design, which sports a proper turreted castle (unlike yesterday's prisony thing) and spooky gothic lettering, complete with dripping mould. It looks more like an advert for Dracula than a sounder. Oh, and it was found in a road with Marsh in its name, like yesterday's – boggy ground is obviously a popular location for Krypto's creepy castles. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Krypto Security”, Lambeth: Dracula’s castle

“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

“Britannia”, Southwark: patriotic lion

"Britannia" burglar alarm, Southwark • I end the Roman Britain theme as I began, with Britannia – I never tire of their swinging sixties-style logo, which wouldn't look out of place in a Paul Smith boutique. This old box has a bulb on top, which thanks to the comment here I now know is considered somewhat insecure, as a passing ne'er-do-well could use it to lever the alarm off. • Spotted: Morocco Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Britannia”, Southwark: patriotic lion

Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

Nameless burglar alarm with Roman soldier, Sheffield • This is the most violent sounder image I have: an anonymous Roman legionary unashamedly going about a ferocious felon-stabbing – or possibly ritual disembowelling – with a calm, impassive expression on his face. Either he's a robot, a la Westworld, or he's simply a psychopath. Burglars beware! • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

“Crusader Alarms”, Lambeth: night knight

"Crusader Alarms Security System" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This has the same cheese grater shape as yesterday (see side view, below), but I'm guessing this is the older iteration, partly because it's so rusty, and also because it's so minimalist, which is classic 1970s. Looking at all three Crusaders in sequence, note the way our burglar-hating Islamophobe has gone from anonymous here to realistically imagined yesterday, to a little blob under the logo the day before yesterday – which is definitely the least impressive in knightly terms. And that's enough knights for now – night night. • Spotted: Theed Street, Lambeth, London SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Theed Street, Lambeth, London SE1, England, 2012
“Crusader Alarms”, Lambeth: night knight

“Cromwell Security”, Camden: headless dictator

"Cromwell Security" burglar alarm, Camden • As a UK bigwig, Cromwell was one of a republican kind, dispensing briefly with the monarchy and ruling as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. Of course, royalty swiftly returned – rather successfully, as we are seeing this weekend – and, though he had died peacefully, three years later parliament had Cromwell dug up and beheaded. Since then the warty head led a colourful life of its own, being sold on from chancer to chancer, finally ending up buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where Ollie had studied. All of which makes Cromwell a rather odd subject for a burglar alarm; but, despite being essentially a military dictator, he still ranks high in popularity polls of historical Britons. There's even a steam train named after him! • Spotted: Millman Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_12250" align="alignnone" width="472"] What Oliver Cromwell really looked like (painting by Samuel Cooper)[/caption]
“Cromwell Security”, Camden: headless dictator

“CalQuick”, Southwark: grungy nut

"CalQuick Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • Found in a crumbly Peckham arcade, this grungy old sounder features a splendid technical drawing-style monogram which resembles a wrench turning a nut. Unlike yesterday's firm, they managed to spell the word "Quick" right – then lost the plot with "Call".• Spotted: Station Way, Southwark, London, SE15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Camberwell and Peckham
“CalQuick”, Southwark: grungy nut

“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

"Sprint Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • If your burglar alarm goes off you need help fast, so it's not surprising that swiftness is a popular security theme. This superb vintage Sprint, which undoubtedly rang rather than beeping like a reversing lorry on steroids, is very similar to the Arlescourt sounder here. It's ideally placed above a matching shop selling some vintage sprinters of a different type, namely Italian scooters (see below). And even the logo looks like it's speeding. • Spotted: Clerkenwell Road, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_11728" align="alignnone" width="472"] A vintage Sprint alarm above some classic sprinters[/caption]
“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

"Xtal" burglar alarm, Wandsworth • XTAL – what a brilliant sci-fi-sounding acronym, albeit unexplained. London's 01 area code only lasted until 1990, so unless Xtal's proprietor was deeply into avant-garde 1980s electronica, it's unlikely the firm's name was inspired by the eponymous track on Aphex Twin's 1992 debut album Selected Ambient Works 85–92. It's more likely both names refer to a different genre of electronica, namely a type of crystal oscillator sometimes notated as XTAL on electrical schematic diagrams. The term is now as deprecated is this ancient "baton" sounder's phone number, and I fear the once Wimbledon-based firm may be redundant too, for despite there being plenty of recent-looking Xtal sounders lurking around London, their website is nowhere to be found. • Spotted: Battersea Park Road, Wandsworth, London, SW11, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea
“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

"OxLox Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Oxford • Today I start a brief run of what, until someone tells me their proper name, I can only call "baton" sounders – these long, slim, rather elegant boxes, with a flat circular bulb at the top. From the ancient phone numbers it's clear they are vintage, and they generally sport interesting graphics. This one, OxLox, is superb: it looks like a piece of art typography, or concrete poetry, and namechecks a bizarre anglo-jewish food combination – ox (as in ox cheek or ox tail) and lox (as in the cured salmon you get in bagels). In fact it's a clever play on "Oxford Locks", for an Oxfordshire firm that is no more. (Update: a commenter, below, says they do still exist but with a different phone number.) • Spotted: George Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

“Briar”, Cambridge: thorny proposition

"Briar" burglar alarm, Cambridge • Ah, Briar with its bonkers B logo – one of my favourites, here featured in its correct botanic context. Though as I've noted before, a rose or some thorns would be a more appropriate logo for this 1983-established Cambridge firm. • Spotted: Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of South Cambridgeshire
“Briar”, Cambridge: thorny proposition

“Saffron Security”, Cambridge: posh spice

"Saffron Security" burglar alarm, Cambridge • I love this – it's so genteel, right down to the pink wall. It looks like an illustration from a Victorian seed catalogue, just what you'd expect to find in learned Cambridge. I'm surprised they don't call it by its Latin name (which is Crocus sativus). Saffron is the rarest spice in the world: 90 per cent comes from Iran, but since medieval times the UK has produced small amounts too. It was first cultivated in Cambridgeshire, and nearby Saffron Walden in Essex became so wealthy trading the crop that it was named after it. Saffron Security trades from Saffron Walden too – hence its fragrant, tasty name. • Spotted: Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of South Cambridgeshire
“Saffron Security”, Cambridge: posh spice

“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

"Cherry Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Plant-based imagery is surprisingly popular with security firms, so this week's theme is botanical alarms – that is, sounders featuring fruit, flowers and trees. And what better way to kick off than with this juicy pair of cherries – an image so loaded with fruity connotations that I'm simply not going there. Instead I'll just note that the sounder is the same unusual design as the ESS box featured here, and that Cherry's website features more flashing emergency lights than the Old Kent Road on a Saturday night. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

"Alarm Service Group" burglar alarm, Bristol • As I've never seen it used by anyone but Alarm Service Group, I must assume that this super-smart and beautifully-designed modernist sounder is proprietary to them, though they also use Eurobells. Or, I should say, once used: the firm doesn't exist any more, though there are still lots of their boxes around in Bristol, mainly in very good condition. I love the yellow-and-green colour scheme, the broad green strobe (if that's what it is) at the bottom, and the mysterious symbolism of the logo – part totalitarian throwback, part bow-tied chains. Whoever came up with this constructivist classic had a great eye for design. There's a photo of one below on a massive Soviet-style building in Bristol: a perfect match. • Spotted: Wine Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West [caption id="attachment_11029" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="A perfect match: Alarm Service Group's modernist sounder graces the Soviet-style Cafe Central in Quay Street, Bristol, 2011"][/caption]
“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

“Crime Cure”, Bristol: vintage inverted pocket

"Crime Cure" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is an absolutely classic sounder, and it makes me chuckle every time I see it. I found it at eye level in downown Bristol, the city that never stops giving great burglar alarm gifts. Everything about it, from my shallow design-based point of view, is good: it's vintage metal; an unusual "inverted pocket" shape (though I have found one other); rare use of green; amusing name in bold modernist type; and a complex piece of heraldry incorporating eight popular security tropes in a tiny space, namely lions, keys, an eye, a padlock, some bars, a shield, a castle, and even a motto – "protect and deter". An internet search on "crime cure security" throws up firms in business listings all over the place, including Bristol, but as none have their own websites I'm assuming they're all defunct.• Spotted: High Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Crime Cure”, Bristol: vintage inverted pocket

“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

“Disc”, Glasgow: sounder with a built-in CD

"Disc Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • This is one for the retro-futurism archives – a weird and wonderful bell box with a mini-CD in the centre (not quite obsolete, but hardly futuristic), and a faux-computer font as discussed in the Micro entry. Photos on the Caledonian firm's website suggest the CD comes to life when the sun shines (cue crap Scottish weather jokes), refracting a shimmering rainbow of hues – though if they wanted to be truly retro-trendy, they'd need a steampunk vinyl burglar alarm like the 1939 Burgot example below. The Disc here is proudly protecting the Glasgow Police Museum, which explores the history of the UK’s first police force – namely, the City of Glasgow Police – and apparently contains Europe's largest collection of police uniforms. Nice to know they still need a burglar alarm, though. • Spotted: Bell Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central The Police Museum in Glasgow with its Disc burglar alarm-cum-CD Burgot burglar alarm with vinyl disc, 1939, from the Science Museum, London
“Disc”, Glasgow: sounder with a built-in CD

“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery

"Micromark Security Systems" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • I've included this splendid space-age case in the "retro-futurism" category because it's a top piece of 1960s-style sci-fi design, and Micro-Anything, like Anything-Tronic, conjures up the early days of integrated circuits (and yes, that does include Microsoft). I've seen quite a few of these around – they seem to be used by Micromark only – and they're always still in pristine condition. I'd assumed that this was because they were some high-end piece of kit, but having done an image search on Micromark, I've discovered they target the cheap DIY market, as explained in this Guardian article and on this spammy-looking Security System Guide. This and several other Micromark systems (none of which I've spotted in the wild) crop up listed on Amazon and various price comparison sites, but they generally seem to be unavailable, so I'll leave it to the experts to tell me more about this mysterious brand. Bizarrely, there's a YouTube video here of some lad setting up a Micromark alarm on his wardrobe – I doubt that his mother was impressed. • Spotted: Station Road, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery

“Micro”, Camden: a classic of computer design

"Micro Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • This is a classic piece of retro-futurism - it's called Micro, and is illustrated with a microchip, that pinnacle of modernity. The typeface is a Letraset classic called Data 70 (the name's a good clue to its vintage), created by British designer Bob Newman in 1970. It's one of many such that came out around that time, based on the machine-readable MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) text you can still find in chequebooks, which despite the banks' best efforts are still with us. Since their brief moment of trendiness, such "computer fonts" have lived on eternally in the worlds of sci-fi and naffness, though it's the kind of naffness that graphic designers always retain a fondness for. For any typophiles perusing this, there's a really interesting thread about the origins of Data 70-style letterforms here. Of more interest to security professionals will be that the Micro lives above an extremely well-preserved vintage AFA sounder, with all the attendant wiring intact – it's pictured below. Much more fascinating than  the origins of a dodgy old computer font (not). • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Micro”, Camden: a classic of computer design

“Regal Security Systems”, Lambeth: vintage village

"Regal Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Many moons ago I featured a Regal sticker which had taken over the shadowy running man on an RH Alarms box. And here's another, probably older design, that's been slapped over an ancient bell box whose name even the magic of Photoshop can't reveal. I found it in the fascinating warren of decaying covered markets that weaves beneath Brixton's railway lines like a multi-ethnic souk. It's now been reinvented as "Brixton Village" and, amidst a tangle of units selling everything from "cheap gold" to goats' heads, is home to a swathe of excellent pop-up eateries, from one of which I took this photo. True to its dodgy reputation, the area is positively bristling with burglar alarms, many as vintage as this one. So although I'm not keen to wander the Coldharbour Lane backstreets with an expensive camera – or even without one, for that matter – I'll be back. Preferably with tactical air cover. • Spotted: Market Row, Brixton, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood
“Regal Security Systems”, Lambeth: vintage village

“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

"Chloride Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • I've featured this brilliant vintage sounder before, but only really small, as part of a wider decaying tableau. If you look closely there's a lightning flash in the "O" of "Chloride", which is then repeated as the large jagged circle in the middle. It's unusual in being stencilled, and is the only one of its kind I've ever found, though unadorned Granley boxes are still fairly common. Decades ago Chloride – who I associate with car batteries – must have taken over Granley, and instead of stickering on a new logo as is the norm, they used a stencil so you can still see the old design underneath: a palimpsest, if you will. I'd be interested to know more about either firm, if any of the security pros out there can enlighten me. • Spotted: Leonard Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

“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

“Enright Security”, Southwark: futuristic

"Enright Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • I've already shown a small version of this as part of a decaying duo on an old laundry, so here it is in close-up: a superb vintage sounder with a sci-fi eye pierced by a lightning flash. Mike Hardesty, whose company it was, explains in his interesting comments here that the firm was started in 1976, named after his partner Eddy Enright, and sold to Lander Alarms in 1982. The logo was meant to represent an electronic eye, and was designed by a customer from his previous company who was "a bit of an arty person". I bet he never thought it would turn up on a futuristic invention called "the internet" over 30 years later. • Spotted: Pages Walk, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Enright Security”, Southwark: futuristic