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Militia

“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

“Chevron Alarms”, Windsor: arrows over arrows

"Chevron Alarms Protects" burglar alarm, Windsor • Finally, to end this "arrow" theme, what purports to be a chevron, but to my mind also passes as a double arrow, certainly in the typographical sense. And if you check out the wall I found it on (below), you'll see there's an architectural arrow directly above it. This is the last arrow for now: tomorrow, the rather less warlike theme of botanical sounders. • Spotted: St Leonards Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Windsor [caption id="attachment_11144" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hey, there's an arrow above the arrow!"][/caption]
“Chevron Alarms”, Windsor: arrows over arrows

“Direct Security”, Hackney: nice old arrow

"Direct Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • This is a nice old arrow logo – it doesn't even bother with "01" on the phone number. I found it on a defunct tyre shop, which was encrusted with Direct's devices – I also snapped an even older version, which I'll wheel out one day. I wonder if this Direct has any connection with the boring Direct Site Services sounder I featured a few days ago? • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington
“Direct Security”, Hackney: nice old arrow

“Wheelers”, Southwark: Zulu warrior

"Wheelers Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • If yesterday's arrow-decorated shield was the sort a knight would use, this is more like a Zulu warrior's. As well as an arrow and club crossed behind it, there's a double-headed knotted arrow inside it. What the connection between African arrow overkill and an old-fashioned English name like Wheelers is, I don't know – I always thought it was a posh fish restaurant. Hmm, maybe it's a fish, not a shield... • Spotted: Tanner Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Wheelers”, Southwark: Zulu warrior

“Shield Alarms”, Bristol: a hut made of arrows

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is a bit strange – a shield decorated with a hut (or possibly a gate) made out of long skinny arrows. But it's from Bristol, and I've stopped being surprised by the weird sounder designs that emanate from that neck of the woods. For all I know, people in the West Country actually do live in huts made of arrows – which would presumably negate the need for burglar alarms. Although this sounder looks quite recent, of the squillions of Shield security firms on the internet, I can't find one matching this particular logo. • Spotted: Queen Square, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Shield Alarms”, Bristol: a hut made of arrows

“Arrow Security”, Camden: weapon in flight

"Arrow Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Now we move from purely symbolic direction arrows to the depiction of an actual weapon – one being fired at a burglar here, judging by the "flight" marks. Although I've seen a few of its sounders around and they look quite recent, I can't find any trace of Arrow Security as a going concern on the internet – maybe it was this firm (random business directory ahoy) based in Camberley, Surrey. • Spotted: Kings Cross Road, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Arrow Security”, Camden: weapon in flight

“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

"Sharp Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • A big bold tabloid-style arrow from Sharp – albeit a trifle faded, and on what I think is a rather despised sounder amongst the burglar alarm cognoscenti. I like it, although it would be equally at home pointing to a car boot sale. The 20-year-old firm of Sharp Alarm Systems still exists, now with an even more tabloid-looking red, black and white design and some of those delta boxes that light up at night. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

"Len Gunstone Bath" burglar alarm, Bath • Three arrows in one – or perhaps an arrow piercing a triangular rock – for Len Gunstone of Bath, whose sounder is taking a bath in Gay Street (no chortling at the back there). Oh, I've just realised – it's also a naive monogram comprised of a very angular "L" (outer black triangle) and "G" (inner yellow triangle), with an arrow in the centre. Clever – but unreadable. Googling Len Gunstone throws up a 2012 website for a firm called BSA, aka Bath Security Alarms, whose logo is a cube inexplicably emerging from (or dropping into) a hole. Not one I've come across yet in the plastic. • Spotted: Gay Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

“Direct Site Services”, Bristol: proverbial V-sign

"Direct Site Services Ltd" burglar alarm, Bristol • Well, this arrow may be making the proverbial V-sign, but the logo is otherwise completely basic. I can't find any evidence that this firm still exists in an operational sense, though they're still listed at Companies House. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Direct Site Services”, Bristol: proverbial V-sign

“Primary Systems Ltd”, Camden: cardiac arrest

"Primary Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • The medical-looking arrow here, with its zig-zag kink and bulging red blob, makes me think of an electrocardiogram trace tracking a pulmonary embolism. Combine this with the name Primary, and it conjures up primary health care trusts and hospitals. And that's not a good thing, because it's depressing. I can only find Primary Systems Ltd on useless old business directory sites, so I reckon the firm went into cardiac arrest itself. • Spotted: Covent Garden area, Camden, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Primary Systems Ltd”, Camden: cardiac arrest

“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Birkenhead • Another alarm named after the Arrowe area of Wirral, this is an earlier incarnation of yesterday's logo. That modern one was curving and wafty like a hot air diagram, in caring sharing hug-a-hoodie style. But this straight arrow harks back to a harsher, more forceful era – the kind of weapon to shoot an errant intruder stone dead. Nice! • Spotted: Shore Road area, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birkenhead
“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • Although illustrated with an arrow, Cheshire firm Arrowe is not mis-spelled – its name refers to Arrowe Park and Hall in Wirral, an estate founded by Liverpudlian slave trader John Shaw, and later bought by cleaning products magnate Lord Leverhulme. These days the the park is owned by the local authority, the hall is a private care home, and the name is immortalised on a burglar alarm. From slaves to soapsuds to sounders: so goes the modern world. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

“Tetco”, Tower Hamlets: corporate thrust

"Tetco" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This thrusting, self-piercing arrow is either strangely phallic or reminiscent of a devil's tail. It has a late 1980s corporate feel: something Margaret Thatcher would have approved of on a BA plane's tailfin, or the door of a privatised BT phone box. Calling your company "something-co" is equally corporate, but a risky strategy: it can sound impressive if the image is good enough, but it can also look pathetic with a shonky design. This just about falls in the former camp, so I assumed Tetco was quite a big operation. However Google only throws up a Tetco Security Systems in Deal, Kent that exists solely on business directory sites (aka business graveyards), and another registered in Cheshire that appears equally inactive. So despite its professional image and name, this firm is presumably defunct. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Tetco”, Tower Hamlets: corporate thrust

“SecureAlot”, Hackney: greetings from Spamalot

"SecureAlot" burglar alarm, Hackney • These aren't quite arrows – more like half arrows or lances, which suits a name that sounds like a comedy knight from Monty Python's Spamalot. Sir Securealot the Bonkers Burglar Alarm, perhaps – mates with Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot and Sir Bedevere The Strangely Flatulent. The firm's website has lots of phone numbers but no HQ address, so maybe they do indeed hail from Camelot. • Spotted: Mehetabel Road, Hackney, London, E9, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“SecureAlot”, Hackney: greetings from Spamalot

“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

"Access Intruder Alarms Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Another swirly arrow, not as sophisticated as yesterday's, and with a design verging on the basic. Via Google I found a Southampton firm with the same phone number and a similar name and logo, but when I went to their website I found this:

About Access Intruder Systems. Content Coming Soon. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam non tortor purus, in ornare lacus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Morbi a nisl ipsum (etc etc in cod-Latin for quite some time). Call us today to arrange your FREE Survey.

So either they've not finished their website, they provide a bespoke service for Latin speakers, or they're not around any more. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11273" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Above: Access Intruder Systems' Latin-speaking website"][/caption]
“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

“ESS”, Southwark: identifying arrows

"ESS" burglar alarm, Southwark • Blimey, there are a lot of security firms called ESS. There's the long-established Essex Security Services, who I've featured four times now. Then there's ESS (Electronic & Security Services) in Northern Ireland, and ESS-Security Ltd of Leeds. But the swirly arrows in this logo point to Electronic Security Solutions of County Durham, albeit a long way from their Darlington base. Which proves the value of logos: without those identifying arrows, and the fact that ESS also picture them on their website, I'd have had no way of knowing which of the four firms was behind this sounder. • Spotted: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“ESS”, Southwark: identifying arrows

“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

"APT" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • This has a logo of weird broken arrows which I can only assume refers to some kind of circuit diagram. Back in 2004, when I photographed this in Herne Bay, I later wandered past a junk shop which had the APT logo on its fascia. So, unless APT were combining security with a sideline in car boot sales, by that time they had either closed down or moved onwards and upwards. There's still an APT Security in Kent boasting 20 years of experience and a much smarter logo, so maybe it was the latter. • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

"Scamp Security Hull" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • One red arrow pointing in, three green arrows pointing out – perhaps representing a burglar being caught by three scamps. Let's face it, SCAMP is an odd acronym, but the Hull-based family firm still exists, so thanks to their website I know it stands for "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols". Or, in full, the double-secure "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols Security". Apparently the company was established in 1962 and changed its name to SCAMP Security in 1986, but what the original name was isn't mentioned. Doubtless it was shorter. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

“BAT Alarm”, Birmingham: exploding arrows

"BAT Alarm" burglar alarm, Birmingham • Robin – the Bat Alarm! Actually this belongs not to Batman but to Birmingham Alarm Technicians, whose square box was featured in the creatures theme here. My blurred shot of their delta sounder gets a showing in this arrows category thanks to – of course – its exploding arrows, which look a bit like a rotated version of the somewhat dubious "arrow cross" discussed yesterday• Spotted: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, West Midlands, B18, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood
“BAT Alarm”, Birmingham: exploding arrows

“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

"Hoffman Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I've already featured a white Hoffman box here, when I compared its arrow logo to the Dad's Army credits. But the symbol also has more ancient origins: the central four-armed cross is a heraldic mark called the cross barbee, also known as the arrow cross, denoting movement in all directions. In the 1930s it was adopted by the Hungarian fascists, and has since become associated with extremist right wing groups such as the American Nationalist movement. The logo bears an even stronger resemblance to the eight-pointed "Symbol of Chaos" (definitely not something needed on a burglar alarm), a design first doodled  the early 1960s by the writer Michael Moorcock in for his Elric of Melniboné stories and later taken up by role playing games, comic books, heavy metal groups and the like. All connotations which were totally unknown to Hoffman, I'm sure, who in fact based this logo on the joystick controls of a CCTV system. • Spotted: Brixton Road, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood [caption id="attachment_11252" align="alignnone" width="472"] Left, the cross barbee or arrow cross; right, the "symbol of chaos"[/caption]
“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

"CTAC" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • The arrowhead is an ancient artefact, and an ancient symbol – examples of both have been found dating back to prehistoric times. And examples of both can be found on this burglar alarm, which was discovered above a Covent Garden restaurant, rather than the entrance to a cave. The red shapes look like actual arrowheads, of the type fired from a bow; while the blue ones are more symbolic, in the sense of indicating direction – though diverging arrows can have more sinister readings too, as I shall discuss tomorrow. What CTAC stands for is unknown – the company's website gives no clue, though it's does say it's a niche provider of high end security solutions, and a member of Westminster Group PLC. The attractive logo recalls a compass rose, so maybe one of the Cs stands for compass, and I bet AC is "access control". • Spotted: Bow Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

"Westronics Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Finally, another un-nameable shape, which is a bit like the body of a sea creature, or less imaginatively a razor. Maybe the ascendancy of these rounded, amorphous shapes over the chunky, straight-edged forms of yore is due to the advent of computer-aided 3D modelling, something achievable on a laptop today but requiring NASA-like processing power not so long ago. The Berkshire family firm behind this box has appropriately space-age roots, having been founded in 1969, year of the first moon landing. That era is reflected in their logo, which I think is a condensed version of Blippo, a font from 1969 based on Bauhaus supremo Herbert Bayer's influential "Universal Typeface" of the 1920s. I note that Westronics no longer uses this design of sounder, as demonstrated by the up-to-date deltas on their official website here. However it remains the only example of this shape I've come across, and I end with it because it also pictures the next theme, a weapon popular with ancient villains and security forces alike – the arrow. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

“Challenger”, Bristol: dull but rare

"Challenger Fortis Fidelis" burglar alarm, Bristol • OK, so this is a dull soapdishy shape. But it's the only version of this particular dull soapdishy shape I've ever found, and the logo's a bit of a classic – I always appreciate a shield and a Latin motto. Fortis et fidelis is a common heraldic phrase meaning "brave and faithful", "strong and loyal", or variations thereof; it's also a ridiculously overpriced brand of cognac• Spotted: Small Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Challenger”, Bristol: dull but rare

“Swale”, Southwark: bulky kitchen container

"Swale Security Systems Ltd Aquila group" burglar alarm, Southwark • Eight-sided but not a regular octagon, this resembles a bulky kitchen container. I've only found a few of these ungainly objects, which are sometimes mounted vertically. Swale makes me think of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, but it's actually an area of Kent at the mouth of the Thames. Its main town is Sittingbourne, and that's where this firm was based, though I think it exists no more. Aquila Group describes itself as "a group of independent electronic security companies", which presumably swallowed Swale up. Their website has limited functionality, but there's a picture here of an Aquila sounder similar to the day before yesterday's heptagonal Servian. Then there's a German Aquila Group that has the same logo, but deals with giant cargo ships; and all sorts of international conglomerates and financial funds with a similar name, who surely have nothing to do with little Swale Security. Aquila is Latin for "eagle", and can refer to the Roman legion standard, a constellation, and Roman boss-god Jupiter's pet raptor (who in Greek mythology carried thunderbolts for Zeus), hence the popularity of naming for shadowy James Bond-esque behind-the-scenes organisations.• Spotted: Decima Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Swale”, Southwark: bulky kitchen container

“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

"Servian" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Regular polygons aren't that common, especially heptagons – the only other similar sounder I've featured is here. Hampshire-based Servian's sterile lozenge logo reminds me of pharmaceuticals packaging, but the name actually recalls ancient Rome's burglar alarm-appropriate Servian Wall, a massive defensive barrier made from blocks of volcanic rock, which repelled Hannibal amongst others. So strong was it that some of the 2,400-year-old edifice still stands today, with a large chunk next to Rome's main railway station.There's even a bit, apparently, in the station's McDonalds. • Spotted: Pont Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington Above: ancient Rome, showing the Servian wall in blue, and the later Aurelian wall in red, plus an impressive remnant of the Servian Wall next to Rome's Termini Station.
“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

“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

“Ambassador”, West Wycombe: stray Secom plug

"Ambassador" burglar alarm, West Wycombe • See how the shapes are moving on? Yesterday's was a slightly squared-off triangle, and now we're motoring towards full-on faceted sounders by way of a few "UK plug" shapes. This particular example fails on three counts: it's a dull shape, a faded logo, and it's shot at a bad angle. But I include it because this weird flat delta is normally only used by the Japanese security giant Secom. I have come across many older variations of Ambassador sounders (such as this), but only one like the example above. I'm assuming Secom took over Ambassador, rather than vice versa – unless Ambassador somehow acquired and rebranded a load of Secom's very recognisable covers. • Spotted: Village centre, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Wycombe
“Ambassador”, West Wycombe: stray Secom plug

“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

“Nu-Tron”, Camden: on the old-tron Scala Cinema

"Nu-Tron Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • Like yesterday's rare round-topped Nu-Tron (aka Old-Tron) sounder, this newer version again has an unusual box shape, though one that's much more commonly seen as it's popular with many other companies too. I know nothing of it inner workings, but in superficial design terms it's a good choice: the rounded grey N matches the rounded grey sounder nicely. I found it on the old Scala cinema at Kings Cross, which is now a pool hall; and it looks like someone's scraped a circular sticker off the centre of it, suggesting it's been maintained. • Spotted: Kings Cross Bridge, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Nu-Tron”, Camden: on the old-tron Scala Cinema

“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

"Nu-Tron Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Thanks to various commenters, I now know that Nu-Tron is the successor company to yesterday's M-Tronic, and you can certainly see the resemblance in the big rounded initial. It's an unusual shape of box which I've not featured before, and anything called Nu-Tron that looks more like an Old-Tron simply demands to be put in the "retro-futurist" category. But as for naming your sounders after a thermonuclear device specifically designed to kill all nearby humans while leaving buildings standing? A bit extreme, surely. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

“ITS”, Hackney: blue crucifix

"ITS" burglar alarm, Hackney • I have come across quite a few burglar alarms that, wittingly or unwittingly, refer to Christian themes – so, as we're coming up to Christmas, now seems a good time to feature them. I don't know if this ITS monogram is intended to look like a big blue crucifix, but it certainly reads as one. The family firm behind the logo emphasise trustworthiness on their website, which explains that the acronym stands for "Integrity Technology Security". It would make a good choice for churches, so if there are any vicars reading this (unlikely, I feel), take note! • Spotted: Rivington Street, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“ITS”, Hackney: blue crucifix

“Stevens Security”, St Albans: wrath of Zeus

"Stevens Security" burglar alarm, St Albans • Finally, the most emphatic and recent lightning strike of all, suggesting that if you tangle with Stevens Security, you'll make not just Steven but the mighty Zeus very, very cross. You'd certainly feel it if this hefty black arrow of a thunderbolt pierced you – but not for long. Tomorrow: multiples. • Spotted: Town centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of St Albans
“Stevens Security”, St Albans: wrath of Zeus

“Wimpey”, Chelsea: not the burger chain

"Wimpey Security Systems" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • I came across this at Chelsea Reach, en route to explore the exclusive but tacky and depressing semi-gated community that is Chelsea Harbour (whose creation cut off to non-residential car traffic a very useful public road running behind the riverfront). It's an excellent old Eurobell sounder with a long-obsolete Wimpey logo – look closely, and there's a flash of lightning in the "C" of "Security". Presumably it hails from George Wimpey, who merged with Taylor Woodrow to form Taylor Wimpey PLC in 2007, but was the UK's largest private house builder in the 1970s – the same era as this alarm. • Spotted: Uverdale Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW10, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham
“Wimpey”, Chelsea: not the burger chain

“Echo Alarms”, Nottingham: paranoia descends

"Echo Alarms" burglar alarm, Nottingham • I don't know what echoes have got to do with lightning, or why this is set in an art deco typeface. But I do know why it's a crap photo: it was getting dark and it was in a bleak and creepy residential area, so I quickly grabbed the shot and ran. (To be honest I find most of Nottingham creepy – a combination of the gloomy Victorian architecture and its reputation for drugs and gangs, I guess. That and the fact that some paranoid woman went mental at me for photographing her house there one day.) • Spotted: Beeston Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG7, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham South
“Echo Alarms”, Nottingham: paranoia descends

“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

“Pro-Sec”, Tower Hamlets: mutant gecko

"Pro-Sec" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I found this eagle on a trendy little black-and-white-painted Lambretta dealership, where it matched quite well. Known in heraldry as a spread eagle, it's an incredibly common device despite its popularity with hawkish regimes from the Romans to the Nazis lending it militaristic and even fascist connotations. This one has been splatted by a stripey shield, and is clutching some mysterious objects in its talons. My guess is an olive branch and a quiver of arrows, but it could just as easily be a mutant gecko and a bunch of twigs. The name, Pro-Sec, is equally obscure. Presumably it stands for "professional security", but it sounds more like a painkiller. • Spotted: The Oval, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Pro-Sec”, Tower Hamlets: mutant gecko

“BAT”, Birmingham: bloodsucker

"BAT Alarm" burglar alarm, Birmingham • I know this acronym stands for Birmingham Alarm Technicians, because I found the head office (pictured below) – but I still prefer to think of it as representing an actual noun-type bat. Not a baseball or cricket bat, useful though they would be for the deflection of unruly interlopers; but the flying, squeaking, sharp-fanged kind. Trained squadrons of hunter vampire bats could locate swag-toting Johhny Burglar by sound alone, disorient him with their hideous flapping leathery wings, give him a nasty blood-sucking bite, and pass on a dose of rabies for good measure. Result! • Spotted: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, West Midlands, B18, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood Above: a real vampire bat (photo by Barry Mansell)
“BAT”, Birmingham: bloodsucker

“3D”, Winchester: WWII spike machine

"3D Security Systems Defend Deter Detect" burglar alarm, Winchester • Defend, Deter, Detect – an ambitious claim which unwittingly sugests this firm is third, rather than first, choice for defence. It clearly needs help with pigeons though: perhaps they use the eponymous "Defender" pigeon spikes from Jones & Son, who sport a brilliant logo with a pigeon standing on it, and seem to have cornered the market. Much as I dislike the look of bird spikes, saving the nation from disappearing beneath piles of guano seems a noble enough cause, especially as the firm offers – perhaps rashly – a large bar of chocolate if they don't answer pigeon control email queries within two hours. They also have a crazy reconditioned WWII wire-bending machine on which they make the spikes – perfect cover for a Blitz alarm! • Spotted: Town centre, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Winchester
“3D”, Winchester: WWII spike machine

“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

"Essex Security Services" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This seasidey sunbleached sounder looks like it's been caught in a fishing net. In fact it's another example of pigeon netting, necessary because the alarm resides in the same torrential guano zone as these revolting ADTs. The lovely old Essex logo looks like it pre-dates the chain-link example of a few days ago, but as you can see from the comment below I'm wrong: one of the company's head honchos tells me it's a later design. It's more attractive, but it's also a lot more violent: three immense curved sabres, enough to see off burglars and arial arse bombers alike. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

“Mayfair Selby”, York: football fixture

"Mayfair Selby" burglar alarm, York • Here's an updated, unfaded version of yesterday's identity, with a double helping of chain-draped heraldry, and traces of a less curvaceous bell box behind it. It's still quite old, because the firm is now called Mayfair Security and uses a different typeface (Officina, font fans), though the shield remains. The wall behind the sounder is red because it's part of York City FC's stadium – a visit to which was reparation for subjecting my football-addicted travelling companion to endless bouts of burglar alarm photography (and the being shouted at that goes with it). • Spotted: York City FC, Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO30, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Mayfair Selby”, York: football fixture

“Strathand”, Glasgow: dual-keyed doppleganger

"Strathand" burglar alarm, Glasgow • This uninspired design scrapes into the locksmithery category because its crossed keys have been reproduced directly from yesterday's vintage SOS alarm – the proof being the tiny S just visible below the keys in both designs. Strathand is a well-established family firm based in Paisley, Scotland, though what their relationship to SOS was, or indeed whether one of the letters in SOS stood for Strathand, I haven't been able to ascertain – although I have learned, for what it's worth, that this is a Texecom Odyssey 1E external sounder. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Strathand”, Glasgow: dual-keyed doppleganger

“SOS”, Glasgow: keys of heaven

"SOS" burglar alarm, Glasgow • After a run of single keys come two crossed castle keys on a shield-shaped lock escutcheon. In Roman Catholic tradition, crossed keys represent the silver and gold keys of heaven, given by Jesus to St Peter as a symbol of holy power. In heraldry, they are always presented in saltire – that is, arranged in a St Andrew's Cross, as here – and can be read as a symbol of Papal authority. Given that this alarm was found in Glasgow, a city long simmering with Catholic versus Protestant sectarianism, and also capital of Scotland, whose flag is a blue-and-white St Andrew's cross, the symbolism may not be coincidence. • Spotted: Govan Road, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G51, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow South West
“SOS”, Glasgow: keys of heaven

“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

“Honeywell Shield”, Hackney: faded colour field

"Honeywell Shield Security System" burglar alarm, Hackney • Yesterday I featured a knight, and today a shield: another very popular alarm device. There's nothing spectacularly decaying about this scene, but it's a study in faded colour; the rusty red alarm toning with the soft pink wall, set off against the flat blue-grey expanse of inscrutable window by bars of dirty white. Not for the first time when photographing burglar alarm tableaux, it makes me think of 1960s colour field paintings, or a print by Ed Ruscha. But I can't afford those, so this will do for me. • Spotted: Kingsland Road, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Honeywell Shield”, Hackney: faded colour field

“Knight”, Camden: peeling Venetian violence

"Knight Security Services" burglar alarm, Camden • Yet another slice of the Kilburn High Road's architectural riches, this peeling, honey-toned wall would not look amiss on the medieval streets of Venice. Appropriate then that the nicely matching alarm is titled Knight, though its razzle-dazzle pink logo is more suggestive of a 1980s knitting store. The alarm has replaced a bigger version since the wall was repainted (some time ago, clearly); I like the way it's been accurately placed in the bottom left corner of the bare patch. Knights and their world of courtly, aristocratic violence are a hugely popular burglar alarm trope, and one I shall return to. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Knight”, Camden: peeling Venetian violence

“Hoffman Security PLC”, Hounslow: Dad’s Army

"Hoffman Security PLC" burglar alarm, Hounslow • I've included this nice logo in my World War II theme because not only do the arrows form a Union Jack, they look, coincidentally, very similar to the opening credits of the classic WWII-based sit-com Dad's Army, even using the same font (Cooper Black, as did the Blitz alarm a few days back). To be a PLC in the Public Limited Company sense, a firm requires a minimum share capital of £50k and must offer shares to the public, which is quite rare for a security startup. I became obsessed with finding out if Hoffmann really had been a "proper" PLC, and though there's very little on the web did manage to ascertain that it was a Middlesex company built up over 20 years by a guy called Erik Hoffman, who sold up to MRFS Group in 2006. However, the comment here informs me that Hoffmann, an Israeli, did indeed build up his eponymous business into a PLC, with a logo based on the joystick control of CCTV systems rather than a Union Jack. As for the much-loved Dad's Army credits (see the image below), they were in fact a last-minute compromise after the BBC objected to the original opening, which featured harrowing imagery of Nazis and refugees. The show's creators were very upset, but with hindsight it seems the BBC were right. • Spotted: Chiswick Mall, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth Above: The Dad's Army credits featured British arrows retreating from Nazi ones
“Hoffman Security PLC”, Hounslow: Dad’s Army

“X Ray Alarms”, Hersham: an evil alien burglar

X-Ray Alarms burglar alarm, Hersham, 2002"X Ray Alarms" burglar alarm, Hersham, 2002 • An unusual shape which combines several top burglar alarm tropes in one naive logo: shield, lightning bolt, dated technology, and a poorly-drawn running figure, sporting swag bag, unidentifiable stick, and what is presumably meant to be an eye mask (did burglars EVER wear those?) but looks more like a motorcycle helmet. Or maybe the burglar’s meant to be an alien. Or an evil radiologist. Hersham also spawned Sham 69 and Shakin’ Stevens, so it doesn’t seem impossible. • Spotted: Ambleside Avenue, Hersham, Surrey, KT12, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Esher and Walton X-Ray Alarms burglar alarm, Hersham, 2002
“X Ray Alarms”, Hersham: an evil alien burglar