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Human body

Meta category for any alarm with imagery showing human beings (including mythical ones) or parts thereof

DSA, Bath, 2011

“DSA Bath” burglar alarm, Bath • Burglar running through curtain, pretty similar to the one here. • Spotted: York Buildings, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat […]
DSA, Bath, 2011

Banham, Camden, 2012

“Banham” burglar alarm, Camden • I’ve published lots of white Banham alarms, but here’s the first black one, complete with Dickensian villain. • Spotted: Rugby Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • […]
Banham, Camden, 2012

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

Challenger, Stratford-upon-Avon: shuttle

Challenger Security Products "Challenger Security Products" burglar alarm, Stratford-upon-Avon • Not just a thrusting heraldic glove, but NASA's second ill-fated space shuttle, which completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, killing all seven crew members. • Spotted: Birmingham Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stratford-on-Avon
Challenger, Stratford-upon-Avon: shuttle

Robot, Camden: serf

Robot "Robot" burglar alarm, Camden • And finally, the ultimate computer: a 1980s New Romantic-style robot. (I know I've included Robot before, but this is a slightly different logo.) Wikipedia pop fact: the word robota means literally "serf labour" in Czech. • Spotted: Well Walk, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Robot, Camden: serf

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

Southern Electric, Islington: 1980s

Southern Electric Security Systems "Southern Electric Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • This is a very 1980s-looking illustration, though I daresay the alarm is more recent. Whether it's the same Southern Electric as this electricity firm – now with very different look – I have no idea. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
Southern Electric, Islington: 1980s

“i2i Security”, Middlesbrough: geddit?

I2I BridgeStEast Middlesbrough nr TS2 1NW 30101_800 "i2i Security Middlesbrough" burglar alarm, Middlesbrough • There's only one eye so it's Eye 2 I, geddit? If it was Eye 2 Eye, they'd have had an eye on both Is. And if it was I 2 I, it would suggest serious undermanning. Or something. Found above a suitably poetic Lord Byron sign (see below). • Spotted: Bridge Street East, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS2, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Middlesbrough I2I BridgeStEast Middlesbrough nr TS2 1NW 30100_1200
“i2i Security”, Middlesbrough: geddit?

“Pro-Guard”, Stroud: professionalism

Pro-Guard Security Solutions Ltd "Pro-Guard Security Solutions Ltd" burglar alarm, Stroud • There are lots of guard alarms, but this starey-eyed sounder is the only one offering the added excellence of professionalism. If you wanted unprofessional guarding, maybe you'd hire a certain quadratic firm who messed up a bit during the Olympics, ha ha. • Spotted: Threadneedle Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Stroud
“Pro-Guard”, Stroud: professionalism

“ATA Systems”, Bristol: intricate

ATA Systems Protegimus "ATA Systems Protegimus" burglar alarm, Bristol • Not sure if this is related to yesterday's ATA – the trestle-tabley monogram's quite similar, if somewhat ambiguous as to whether it says AA or ATA. The surrounds, however, are vastly more intricate: a heraldic array of shield, crossed swords, scary cyclops eye, what looks like a maltese cross poking out from behind, and all supported with a scroll bearing the Harry Potteresque declamation "Protegimus" (we protect). Leaving nothing to chance, then. • Spotted: Nova Scotia Place, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“ATA Systems”, Bristol: intricate

“Western”, Falmouth: staring eyes

Western MarketStrand Falmouth nr TR11 3DF 02023_800 "Western Security Systems We Watch Day and Night" burglar alarm, Falmouth • Not the most obvious time reference, but the roundel at the top states "we watch day and night". And to reinforce the point, there's a pair of staring eyes - one in the light, one in the dark. Nice! • Spotted: Market Strand, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Truro and Falmouth
“Western”, Falmouth: staring eyes

“Isis”, Oxford: posh

"Isis Security Systems" burglar alarm, Oxford • Oxford's other famous river is the Isis (a posh name for the Thames), which like the Cherwell gives its name to a long-running student magazine. Isis was also an Egyptian goddess, and this sounder piles on the references with the visual pun of a startled-looking eye. I reckon that's a CR logo underneath it, another brand that's common in the town. • Spotted: Cornmarket, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Above: fops punting on the Thames, aka the Isis, at Oxford
“Isis”, Oxford: posh

“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

"HSS Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • HSS used to be based in Harlow, so I reckon HSS stands for Harlow Security Systems. Aptly for a sounder located in Tower Hamlets, it pictures a Beefeater - aka a Yeoman of the Guard, which is apparently an incorrect term for Yeoman Warder, ie a geezer who ceremonially "guards" the Tower of London. That looks like a vicious weapon he's carrying, but in fact it's just a decorative staff. Tomorrow however, the theme is indeed weapons. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

“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

“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

"Guard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • That's enough Foot Guards – here's an altogether more violent fellow, who I think may be meant to be a Norman soldier. In fact, he's the most vicious sounder figure I've found since this stabby Centurion in Sheffield. • Spotted: Hatton Garden, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

"Homeguard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • These guys look like toy soldiers, albeit with guns – and their bearskins look like bobbles. But, given the Queen only gets four Foot Guards outside her gaff, having three on the front of your house isn't bad going. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

“Assure”, Glasgow: foot guard

"Assure" burglar alarm, Glasgow • The correct name for these guys is Royal Foot Guards, and the Her Maj has four in front of Buck House whenever she's in residence (two when she's not). This one's lurking in a non-standard sentry box roofed with Assure's "AA" logo. Has anyone informed the Palace? • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Assure”, Glasgow: foot guard

“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

"Sentry Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • It's not just the Queen who's guarded by blokes in giant furry hats – they're very popular on burglar alarms, as we shall see. The one above is on a blameless wall in Hull, but here's one I featured earlier that was decorating a brothel (seriously). • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

"Bristol & West Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • The name looks and sounds as if it's a building society (the old fashioned non-hedge fund sort) – so maybe it was. Under Photoshop enhancement, the faded carbuncle above the name (below) resembles a Russian criminal tattoo. Phenomenally complex, it incorporates two unicorns, a massive old ship on a shield (shades of old Westward TV logo), crossed human arms clutching scales of justice and a snake (law v burglar v, geddit?), and the legend Quality in Service. They don't make 'em like that any more. • Spotted: Baldwin Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

"New Century Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is a double whammy: a shield-within-shield logo. And not just that, but a gauntlet clutching a lightning bolt, a rampant lion, a window at night (I think), a repetition of their name, and what looks like the European stars. There's even another version with "21st" above the title, just in case you thought the new century was the 18th. Talk about covering all the bases. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

“Ambassador”, Old Coulsdon: dog-head

"Ambassador" burglar alarm, Old Coulsdon • More cockles, and a dog prancing on someone's head. Loads of these heraldic alarm shields have helmets on top, and this is a bit like Hadleigh – maybe they all copied the same piece of clip art. They all look like logos for local government rather than burglar alarms, anyway – I could see this over the entrance arch of an LCC council estate. Heaven knows what LPC stands for here, or how it relates to an ambassador. • Spotted: Court Avenue, Old Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Croydon South
“Ambassador”, Old Coulsdon: dog-head

“Hadleigh Security”, Tower Hamlets: crane and cockles

"Hadleigh Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Now we merge from shields into heraldry, where the shield is just part of an overall coat of arms, albeit probably a made-up one. This one has what appears to be a crane coming out of its helmet and balloons raining down on cockles, owned perhaps by the lord of some Cockney manor. The name makes me think of Tony "Foghorn" Hadley out of Spandau Ballet, recently heard tooting out the excellent "Gold" over many an Olympics TV show. Speaking of which, most of White Post Lane got eaten up by the Olympics, so I doubt this sounder is there any more. • Spotted: White Post Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E9, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Hadleigh Security”, Tower Hamlets: crane and cockles

“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

"Aztec Solutions" burglar alarm, Bristol • The logo says "Aztec Securities" (which, if Aztec practices were actually followed, would involve ritually ripping out the still-beating hearts of felons), but the designer has surely used clip art of a Roman soldier to illustrate it. This headgear looks strongly like a legionary's plumed helmet with visor and ear guard to me, rather than a pre-Columbian feathered headdress with ear plugs. Either that or Sussex Alarms is portraying an Aztec too. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

"Sussex Alarms" burglar alarm, Brighton • Not, as it may appear, Darth Vader, but a Roman soldier in his finely-crafted helmet.Sussex was positively crawling with Romans in olden days, their metal headgear being vastly superior to the barbarians' leather contraptions. Not that I am suggesting Sussex is full of barbarians. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

"MG Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • It may be slightly contentious to lump this Scottish sounder in under Roman Britain, as the Romans famously never colonised Caledonia – partly because they weren't really that keen on it, apparently. So, although this fellow looks pretty Roman to me, he could be a Pict. The lack of a leather skirt (called, unpronounceably, a "pteruges") is no proof either way, though, as legionaries favoured trousers ("braccae") in colder climes. And of course the kilt hadn't been invented yet – it was the Victorians who dreamt that particular skirt up. • Spotted: Central Station area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

"Citadel Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • The ghostly guardian on this is so worn out he looks like a marauding mummy or a giant robot (reproduced small), but the name Citadel suggests it's a Roman soldier. And the sounder's nearly as ancient as its source matter. • Spotted: Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

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

“Britannia”, Westminster: Roman invader

"Britannia" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • You'd think invasion was a bad subject for burglar alarms – let alone for a country – but both Britain and security firms seem to revel in our colonisation by Rome. Thus there are quite a few alarms on a "Romans in Britain" theme – or, as this one more accurately puts it, in Britannia. I prefer Britannia's older two designs, here, assuming it's the same firm. But thankfully they've retained the Union Jack (or Union Flag, as we're boringly supposed to call it these days), and are to be applauded for depicting only the fourth woman I've come across on a sounder. However Boadicea might have been better, as she at least tried to keep the Romans at bay.• Spotted: Strand, City of Wetminster, London, WC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Britannia”, Westminster: Roman invader

“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

“Crusader Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: noble mein

"Crusader Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Again, I think we can assume that this fellow's a knight . Security firms wouldn't settle for any old hoi polloi on their sounders, and he's wearing a crowny thing, plus looks of noble mein – a suave smirk and one eyebrow raised, like the James Bond (played by Roger Moore) of crusading. • Spotted: Toynbee Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Crusader Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: noble mein

“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

"Crusader Security (UK) Ltd" burglar alarm, Greenwich • Crusaders are slightly at a tangent from knights, as not all crusaders were noble horsemen – the crusades were like a travelling township, with vast crowds of commoners and even women and children tagging along. However, lots of knights were crusaders, and as bloke's got a fancy shield, I'll assume he's one of them. • Spotted: Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London, SE10, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Greenwich and Woolwich
“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

“Anglian”, Lowestoft: fish-fingery fellow

"Anglian" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • I used to fondly imagine this stencilled knight was some archaic reference to Anglia TV, left stranded high and dry in far-flung, fish finger-smelling Lowestoft. However the other day I drove past an office in equally fish-fingery Cornwall bearing this selfsame logo, so I now know it is a product of Anglian Homes, which isn't quite as exciting. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Anglian”, Lowestoft: fish-fingery fellow

“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

"Knight Installations" burglar alarm, Dorking • This is brilliant – 1970s type framing a triumphal image of a knight in ceremonial armour, complete with plumed full-face visor, cloaked warhorse, St George's Cross jerkin and massive thrusting sword. So very Dorking, and so much more effective than a guard dog. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

“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

“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

"Vaico International" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • These hands look like they're literally trying to put the world to rights on this sadly leaning sounder. There' a picture of a more recent Vaico sounder here – hands still tightly cupping their proud globe of internationalness – and the 1997-founded firm's official website is here, though it doesn't offer any explanation of the cryptic name. Globes are a very popular theme, and one I'll return to soon. These are the last disembodied hands for now: tomorrow, alarms relating to swiftness. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

"SP" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Poignantly faded in true seaside style, this shows a pair of sensitively-painted disembodied hands, in the manner of a Latin American devotional retablo, cupping the anonymous initials "SP" between them. It's an old alarm, and a minimal name to search on: there are quite a few SP security firms on various business directories, but I can't find one from southern England, so presumably these caring hands are defunct. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

"Amega Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • These severed, supplicating hands look like they're worshipping rays of light, or catching a shower, but actually they're cradling a faded letter A. It belongs to Oxford-based Amega, a 25-year-old firm whose more recent boxes, featuring the same design, can be seen here. I've also come across handless sounders bearing the very similar name Amiga – as in the legendary 1980s computer – but I assume that's a completely different company. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

"Shef-Guard" burglar alarm, Sheffield • More giant house-caring hands: this pair is either cradling a family home or crushing Noah's ark. The local geographical reference in the name is nice – suggesting it's specifically the citizens of Sheffield whom long-established Shef-Guard have been shielding for the last 25 years. • Spotted: Norfolk Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

"Ideal" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Now on to caring, sharing hands. This clever logo sums up the idea of protecting your abode most elegantly (unless you read it as a mighty giant smiting the house down) – and I always like the uber-positive term "ideal", conjuring up as it does the "ideal homes" of quaintly optimistic 1950s advertising. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few security outfits called Ideal; but the mighty smiting house-hand here leads me to the 30-year-old Southampton firm Ideal Fire & Security Ltd, whose website shows the same logo on their van. • Spotted: Tavistock Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

"Sensormatic" burglar alarm, Hackney • We've had a few threatening hands, and now here's a technical one. I'll give Sensormatic the benefit of the doubt, and assume that the crosshairs refer to some form of sensing equipment, rather than the ability to shoot pilferers through the hand. • Spotted: Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

"Holt Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This striking stylised hand looks like it's had the fingers chopped off in a nasty door-trapping incident, though it also recalls the shape of a house, and (coincidentally) the cute "grabber" icon that moves things around on Mac computers. The firm is presumably the long-established West Sussex family business whose website is here, though there's no matching logo on the site. I think we can safely assume it's not run by reggae legend John Holt, who sang my favourite anti-work song of all time, "Mr Big Boss" – you can hear it here. Totally off burglar alarm topic, but on my more usual subject of art, Holt also sang the sublime "Riding for a Fall", with which Tracey Emin soundtracked the eponymous film of herself trotting defiantly around Margate beach at sunset on a donkey. Sounds stupid, but the quavering fairground classic lent it considerable poignancy. So as well as having a messy bed, Emin's got great taste in music, despite including "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" in her Desert Island Discs. • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11709" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Scenes from Tracey Emin's "Riding for a Fall", 1998 – basically the artist trotting around on Margate beach to the strains of John Holt's eponymous classic. Sadly there's not a copy of the video to be found on the internet, as artists are very hot on copyright."][/caption]
“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

"Crimefighter Alarms" burglar alarm, Margate • I've already featured a vintage version of this ambiguous fist here, where I noted it was hard to guess if it represented a window-smashing felon or an avenging limb of the law. Either way it's nice to see the 1984-founded Kent firm still going strong with the same punchy logo, even if their sounders are always too inaccessible for me to take a good shot. Their website informs me they've now incorporated another of my favourite crime-related brands, Judge Alarms – I featured one here. • Spotted: Broad Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

"Challenger Security Products" burglar alarm, Brighton • More heraldic gauntlet than hand, on a medieval coat of arms this striking fist would have symbolised strength, power, and loyalty. On a modern burglar alarm, it looks rather like the logo for a tiny authoritarian state – and seems to promise the strong-arm tactic of a punch somewhere sensitive. • Spotted: Arundel Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

“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 [caption id="attachment_11694" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hands of Glory: left, a medieval version, and right, Whitby Museum's example"][/caption]
“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

"Property Guard" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This wonky sentry was found next to a dingy net-curtained window in the red light area of Soho, so I won't speculate what kind of property his red bulb was was guarding. The sounder looks absolutely ancient, and I have no idea if the company still exists; there's another Property Guard in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but I doubt it's the same firm. After a grand total of six, that's the last "baton" alarm I've found – definitely not a popular shape compared to the roughly contemporaneous Eurobell, and I still don't know what the style is really called. • Spotted: Peter Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

"Robot" burglar alarm, Islington • Technically, robots are still futuristic, but there's something so insane about the idea of a 1980s-looking mechanised burglar apprehension device that this Robot sounder definitely belongs in the "retro-futurism" category. I've spotted a couple in the North London area, but googling Robot Security draws a blank, so presumably the firm is no longer of this world. For real robotic security, you could try the useless-looking droid below, which theoretically chucks a net over potential intruders but looks less effective than a hoover. • Spotted: Hemingford Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury [caption id="attachment_10526" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="The hoover-like T-34, a not-very-threatening Japanese security droid"][/caption]
“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

“APS”, Bristol: tangled metaphor

"APS" burglar alarm, Bristol • A tangled visual metaphor, for sure: a one-eyed arrow-shaped house, with another arrow for a nose, joined by a dotted line (or a very ill-advised facial tattoo) to some soundwaves coming from its single ear, which presumably represents this sounder. The typography is equally complex, with four different fonts, and even the box is an unusual shape and colour – the few other examples I've found have blue sides, whereas these are green. It's all very neatly laid out, and gives the impression that every detail was agonised over – all told, a most unusual sounder design. • Spotted: Corn Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“APS”, Bristol: tangled metaphor

“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

"Wakefield Security & Fire" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • A while ago I published an old Wakefield alarm with unfair accusations of sleepiness – so here's a more up-to-date example, which is very wakeful indeed. It's also one of only a four sounders I have found decorated with photographic images, the others being two birds and a chain. This looks like something out of a surrealist film, and is almost as unnerving as yesterday's creepy eye sticker. The firm's proprietor, in a comment below, explains that there's also a globe reflected in the eye's iris, though sadly it's not visible in this photo. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

Eye sticker, Westminster: creepy graffiti

Nameless burglar alarm with eye sticker, City of Westminster • Ushering in the theme of "vision", which for obvious reasons is one of the most popular burglar alarm tropes, is this rather disturbing example of sticker graffiti. The creepy intervention lurks next to an art gallery (Haunch of Venison, named after the yard it's in) – probably no coincidence. I've discovered the sticker is by a street artist called Paul Insect – a print of a similar image would set you back nearly £700, as you can see here at Opus Art• Spotted: Haunch of Venison Yard, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Eye sticker, Westminster: creepy graffiti

“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

"Eros Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • After a couple of sensible mythological burglar alarms, we're back to the bonkers ones. Eros? What on earth has Eros, Greek god of sexual love, got to do with security services? And anyway, this looks more like his boyish Roman counterpart Cupid, who was often portrayed as younger than the fully-formed teenage Eros. The resemblance to the Evening Standard's venerable logo makes me think this is a reference to the so-called Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus, that icon of tourist London. However, hard though it is to believe, what Wikipedia says about Alfred Gilbert's piece of high Victorian camp is true. I've double-checked, and the statue that stands surrounded by the horrible hurly burly of Piccadilly is not intended to be Eros, but his butterfly-winged twin brother Anteros, who was associated with selfless and requited love (although he sounds like a half-baked deity the Greeks made up to impress the Romans). For all its faults, this silly, cheeky alarm is one of my all-time favourites – so naughty Cupid has worked his mischievous magic. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Eros and his twin in London. Top left: "Eros Stringing His Bow", a Roman copy of a Greek statue at the British MuseumTop right: ''The Angel of Christian Charity'' aka "The Shaftesbury Memorial" (1893) by Alfred Gilbert at Picadilly Circus, colloquially known as the Eros statue, but actually depicting his selfless twin bro Anteros. Above: London's familiar Evening Standard "Eros" logo (recently dropped from their masthead), which depicts the Piccadilly Circus statue and is therefore actually Anteros.
“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

“AFA Minerva EMI”, Lambeth: warrior woman

"AFA Minerva EMI" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This is one of only three burglar alarms I've found featuring women, the others being Siren and Liberty. Minerva was the multi-talented pan-Italian goddess of poetry, medicine, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic and music, but primarily of wisdom. Only in Rome was she considered, like her Greek prototype Athena, a goddess of war – an idea the Roman Empire exported, hence her regular appearance sporting helmet and spear, and her suitability for burglar alarms. In Britain she was conflated with Bath's local deity Sulis, and the famous thermal baths there are dedicated to her. Britain also has Western Europe's only Athena shrine remaining in situ, an extremely worn structure carved into the side of a quarry near Chester. Mythology apart, I'm interested in the big red drum, which is also associated with Thorn, on whom I wrote a corporate history here. I know Thorn were absorbed by EMI, who clearly took over AFA Minerva too. But though I've seen vintage sounders saying simply AFA, I've never seen one saying AFA Minerva without the EMI at the bottom, or a standalone Minerva alarm. I'd be interested to know some more about the histories of AFA and Minerva – perhaps one of the burglar alarm fraternity can shed some light on this. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Images of Minerva – warlike, wise, and popular in Britain. Left: a no-nonsense, helmet-toting Minerva from the destroyed city of Herculanum, near Pompeii. Above right: head of Sulis Minerva found in 1727 in Bath, and now displayed at the Roman Baths there. Below right: Minerva's very worn-out shrine in Edgar's Field, Handbridge, near Chester.
“AFA Minerva EMI”, Lambeth: warrior woman

“Siren Security”, Tower Hamlets: Fairfield maiden

"Siren Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Yesterday I featured a mermaid from Fairfield Shipping Offices, Glasgow, and today – ushering in the theme of mythological burglar alarms – I give you a mermaid from Fairfield Road, London. Siren Security is a play on words, obviously, between the blaring sirens of the law and the sweet-voiced temptresses said to serenade sailors to their doom, but sirens and mermaids are not strictly synonymous. Though the word is Latin, sirens come to the modern world from Greek mythology: as described in Homer's Odyssey, written around 800 BC, they were winged, sharp-clawed bird-women who lived amidst the rotting corpses of their victims (which would certainly be a deterrent to burglars). The fish-woman comes from even older Assyrian tales of the popular sea goddess Atargatis (called Derketo by the Greeks), disseminated to seaports far and wide by Syrian merchants. Pagan Europeans got these ideas all muddled up with their own folkloric tales, not quelled by a dose of Christianity, so that today in many languages the word for mermaid is "sirena", or similar. In Haitian voodoo there is even a spirit or lwa called La Sirene, a European mermaid mixed up with West African beliefs, often pictured with a siren-like trumpet (see below for examples of all these ladies). Whatever her origin, Siren Security's logo is a charmingly modest mermaid, shown clutching an unidentified tablet – maybe the same one the bizarre wasp-man is holding on Wilton Alarms. And while there are plenty of of male images on burglar alarms, this is one of only two depictions of women I have found, the other being Liberty. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Top left: "The Siren of Canosa", a Greek-style siren (note bird-feet) circa 300 BC from the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. Top right: John William Waterhouse's foxy "A Mermaid" (1900), from the Royal Academy, London. Below: a Haitian sequinned voodoo banner depicting horn-blowing water spirit La Sirene.
“Siren Security”, Tower Hamlets: Fairfield maiden

“Rogers”, Glasgow: fruity

"Rogers" burglar alarm, Glasgow • A swag of giant dusty fruit looms over a man in a very on-trend split pencil skirt, who seems to have attracted a fiery red friend – all of which I hope is not a metaphor for the Scottish national psyche (I won't dwell on alternate readings of the word Rodgers). The imposing russet standstone brickwork is a dead giveaway that this building is in Glasgow, which like all post-colonial ports is full of fine decaying architecture. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Rogers”, Glasgow: fruity

“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?

“Banham”, Lambeth: posh alarm, rough niche

"Banham" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This is brilliant – a posh Banham alarm in the most rough-and-ready bespoke niche. I found it on the wall of Pimlico Plumbers, who despite their toney SW1 name are located in the distinctly less upmarket area of Kennington, on the other side of the River Thames. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Banham”, Lambeth: posh alarm, rough niche

“Liberty”, Derby: “Noooooo!”

Liberty burglar alarm Derby 2010"Liberty Security" burglar alarm, Derby • To unpack the notions of "Liberty" and "Security" presented here would require more philosophical knowledge than I possess. I prefer to think of this Statue of Liberty not as the quintessential symbol of freedom presumably intended, but as the toppled post-armageddon wreck at the end of Planet of the Apes. Preferably with Homer (Simpson) prostrate before it, wailing "Noooooooooooo!" • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South Liberty burglar alarm Derby 2010
“Liberty”, Derby: “Noooooo!”

“Judge”, Herne Bay: cross-dressing for justice

Judge burglar alarm Herne Bay 2004"Judge Alarms" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • Ah, a stern British judge in his white powdered wig and shiny black tights – what a reassuring picture of justice. I love this hopelessly literal design, though sadly I don't have an in-focus photo of it. Below the main image is another version which, in an example of perfect product placement, I found on a shop called Chainstore Massacre, offering prices both slaughtered and murdered. These alarms predate the UK's court dress reforms of 2008 (a controversial redesign by Betty Jackson), prior to which the entire British judiciary seemed to ponce around in bizarre 18th Century fancy dress. Things have loosened up since then, but in many circumstances wigging up is still required, and even today a High Court judge dresses like this on special occasions. If you want to follow suit, the actual wigs are available here, yours in dark blonde or light grey for two grand apiece. A snip! • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North Judge burglar alarm Herne Bay 2004 Judge alarm on Chain Store Massacre shop Herne Bay 2004
“Judge”, Herne Bay: cross-dressing for justice

“Videotech”, Islington: detection on drugs

Videotech burglar alarm Islington 2010"Videotech Security" burglar alarm, Islington • I know Sherlock Holmes was into drugs, but this is ridiculous. He's grown to immense proportions and is squinting at a rubbery gingerbread-style house through a magnifying glass, as if inspecting the chimney for crumbs. It's more like a suburb of the nightmare world inhabited by the sobbing, half-human house on the scary TR Security alarm than the glossy fusion of Video and Tech promised by the firm's title. But at least it's quite amusing, unlike most other detection-themed alarms – as has been demonstrated over last few days. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Videotech burglar alarm Islington 2010
“Videotech”, Islington: detection on drugs

“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”

Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002“Crimefighter” burglar alarm, Whitstable • There's a nice 1970s feel to this, perhaps inspired by seminal TV cop show The Sweeney – though it’s not clear whether the fist represents a window-smashing felon, or a big fat punch from the long arm of the law. I prefer to think it's the latter, accompanied by Regan and Carter's immortal phrase: "Shut it, you slaaaaag!" • Spotted: Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Canterbury Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002
“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”