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Abel, York: label

“Abel” burglar alarm, York • Bit of a cheat, because this is just a triangular label. And it’s not even that triangular. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 […]
Abel, York: label

“Abel”, Falmouth: able

Abel "Abel" burglar alarm, Falmouth • OK, so it says Abel not Able – but Abel's founder, quoted here, says the name was intended to suggest the company was "able" (among many other things) – therefore qualifying for the category of excellence. Anyway, I like the Eurobell sounder; and I found it in the Cornish town of Falmouth, which is excellent in itself. • Spotted: Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Truro and Falmouth
“Abel”, Falmouth: able

“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

“Nexus Security”, Tower Hamlets: connected

"Nexus Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I quote from the University of Wikipedia: "Nexus is a connection, usually where multiple elements meet, as for example spokes at a hub, originally from a Latin verb meaning 'connect, bind'." Despite its classical origins, the word is kind of sci-fi sounding, which is why it's also been used in everything from Bladerunner to World of Warcraft. I don't know what connection that has to a shield with a crusader-style crucifix on it. • Spotted: Wrexham Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Nexus Security”, Tower Hamlets: connected

“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

“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

"Abel" burglar alarm, Islington • A lot of pioneering British alarm companies were swallowed up by multinationals in the 1980s, but veteran firm Abel – like Banham, featured yesterday – endure. They were formed in 1965, and according to their website are now the UK's largest privately owned providers of electronic security systems. They certainly update their boxes regularly – compare and contrast the old red effort featured here with their current look, above. Utterly proprietary, it's a slim silver metal square with a die-cut logo that's illuminated from within, as shown glowing at dusk below. Slick! • Spotted: Upper Street, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

“Aaron Hi-Tec”, Bristol: now looking sadly lo-tech

"Aaron Hi-Tec" burglar alarm, Bristol • To kick off the retro-futurist theme, here's an LED font that's obviously meant to look high tech (after all, it says so in the name), but is now definitely vieux chapeau. I've recently featured an oval Aaron sounder, but this one's much older, and its decay adds still further to the retro-futurist poignancy. To be fair, the style of Aaron's LED text is a bit more modern than the seven-segment display on yesterday's Monarch, and you still see this kind of scrolling display on everything from bus stops to billboards. It's just not very high tech, that's all. • Spotted: Jubilee Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Aaron Hi-Tec”, Bristol: now looking sadly lo-tech

“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

"Godbold & Co Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • OK, so it's a bit tenuous for the Christian theme, but it does namecheck the "big daddy" in the sky. The picturesque surname Godbold dates back to medieval times, when "god" meant "good", and translates as "good brave", or "good dwelling" – both totally appropriate for a security device. God is good, indeed. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

"Summa" burglar alarm, Aylesbury • There's a learned Christian reference here, possibly unintentional: the Summa Theologica, aka the Summa, was a major religious tract by 13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, hugely influential despite being unfinished. In it, he attempted to sum up all of Christian theology to that date, and present five infallible arguments for the existence of God. In broader terms, Summa could refer to a summary of anything; but the mountain-like triangle suggests it is meant in its Latin sense, "summit". Unless it's a weird masonic symbol representing the Holy Trinity, which I very much doubt. • Spotted: Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

“Samaritan”, Camden: unholy rip-off

"Samaritan" burglar alarm, Camden • We all know Jesus's parable of the Good Samaritan, who crossed the road to help a wounded stranger. It's an odd reference for a burglar alarm, as are The Samaritans, those nice people you phone up when feeling suicidal. But more interesting to the graphics geek in me is that this attractive modernist S logo is a rip-off of the seminal trademark for British Steel (below), before they stupidly changed their name to Corus. It was by top British designer David Gentleman, whose weirdly obscure mural at Charing Cross tube station annoys me every time I go past it. His British Steel S may in turn have been "inspired" by the eerily similar earlier Security Pacific Bank logo (below) by legendary art director Saul Bass, behind of some of the world's most famous logos and film titles, from Kleenex to The Man with the Golden Arm. He also claimed responsibility for directing the shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho; so, given the security and nightmare intruder references, maybe this Saul Bass "tribute" has some relevance after all. • Spotted: Museum Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Left: Rembrandt's "The Good Samaritan" (1630) from the Wallace Collection in London. Right: a 1960s S logos by David Gentleman, above, and an earlier one by Saul Bass, below.
“Samaritan”, Camden: unholy rip-off

“Aaron”, Bristol: biblical bigwig

"Aaron Hi-Tech" burglar alarm, Bristol • Although not much feted in western Christianity, Aaron – Moses' elder brother and the first high priest of the Israelites – is a big player in Judaism and Islam, and a major saint across the lands of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He's a popular subject in gorgeous Russian icons, but in western art is rarely depicted, with the lone pinnacle being Pier Francesco Mola’s recently discovered “Aaron, Holy to the Lord” (below), painted around 1650. The magnificent old master shows a severe-faced Aaron carrying out his sacred duties on Yom Kippur, aided by nothing more hi-tech than a silver censer and a big hat – suggesting this alarm suffers from an extreme misnomer. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West Above: Aaron, east and west. Left: an 18th-century icon from Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia. Right: Pier Francesco Mola's superb painting, "Aaron, Holy to the Lord", c.1650.
“Aaron”, Bristol: biblical bigwig

“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

"Abel Alarm" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • According to the Bible, Abel was the world's first murder victim, being the son of Adam and Eve who was slain by his brother Cain. This firm's memorable name is definitely a reference to the event, as recorded in this article I came across by an Abel employee. In it, the company's boss Peter Eyre explains that when he launched the firm in 1965, he wanted a name that would sit atop all alphabetical lists. "So obviously I was looking at AA," he is quoted as saying, "but that had already gone! Therefore, I picked up the Oxford Dictionary and came across Abel – who was the slayer of Cain. I thought that it was good to have a religious connection. In addition, the name Abel is at the top of the list…A followed by B. It infers and sounds like an alarm bell – A Bell! To sum up we as a company are very able…so that was it, I got it registered." So the name is Abel, able, alphabetical and a bell – which is all very clever, but maybe the interview was wrongly transcribed, because Abel didn't kill Cain, he was killed by him, becoming an eternal symbol of martyrdom. Whatever, my favourite placing of this biblical classic is above a door in Church Walk, shown below. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid Above: an old example of the biblical alarm aptly placed in Church Walk, Rugby
“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

“Genesis”, Camden: biblical beginnings

"Genesis Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • This is possibly named after the horrible band (it could be an above shot of one of Peter Gabriel's early hairstyles), but I shall assume it's a reference to the first book of the Bible and the origin of the world. All that plus integrated systems too! While researching the Genesis singer's "reverse mohawk" (below), I came across brilliant medieval illustration showing the first day as essentially the view from an aeroplane window (also below). Or perhaps a giant celestial laundromat. • Spotted: Southampton Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Above: Peter Gabriel's early Genesis "reverse mohawk" barnet, and a laundromat-style first day of creation as depicted in the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493
“Genesis”, Camden: biblical beginnings

“Grange”, Old Amersham: monkish manor

"Grange" burglar alarm, Old Amersham • Home, home on the grange – a popular place name in England, and originally denoting the farming estate of a monastery, of which there were once squillions. Henry VIII seized them all at the dissolution of the monasteries, then doled out the land to his noble chums, hence the term's continuing association with manors and country houses today. Posh Old Amersham is exactly the kind of place you'd associate with burglar alarm-studded Tudorbethan granges, though this excellent ancient design is probably too modern for local tastes. • Spotted: Town centre, Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP7, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Grange”, Old Amersham: monkish manor

“Abbey Alarm Systems”, York: mystery monastery

"Abbey Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, York • Monkish bell boxes abound around York: this firm is based in nearby Selby, home to one of the few English abbeys that Henry VIII didn't smash up when he booted out the Catholics to gain multiple shagging / beheading rights. So presumably the building is meant to be Selby Abbey, though the silhouette looks nothing like it. Saddo that I am, I have Google image-searched the abbeys of England and found no match anywhere; in fact to my untutored eye it looks Germanic, so maybe it's just random clip-art. It's not even the same abbey used on Abbey's Alarm Systems' non-functional "under construction" page, which at least is Selby Abbey. Woo hoo! • Spotted: Newborough Terrace, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Abbey Alarm Systems”, York: mystery monastery

“Minster Alarms”, York: monster minster

"Minster Alarms" burglar alarm, York • Minster, a word dating from Saxon times and derived from the Latin for "monastery", is an honorific title for an important church. Minster Alarms are scattered all over York, so we can assume they refer to the monster minster looming up behind yesterday's Monks alarm – namely York Minster, one of northern Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals, whose foundations date back to Roman times. These days it houses the C of E's number two boss, the Archbishop of York; cleric number one lives in London, despite being known as the Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact he's a near neighbour of mine, being based at Lambeth Palace in SE1, but I've never been invited round for tea... • Spotted: Grape Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Minster Alarms”, York: monster minster

“Monks”, York: monastic habits

"Monks Security Systems" burglar alarm, York • There's a pretty unambiguous Christian reference here, although the Monks family behind Monks Security are unlikely to be descended from real friars, as the Domesday-era surname was more usually a nickname for those with monastic looks or habits (no pun intended). Their supposed celibacy means real monks were unlikely to have heirs to bear this name, although in early medieval days monastics were allowed families, so it's not impossible. Aptly, this was found right outside the massive ecclesiastical edifice that is York Minster, though I couldn't frame a shot with the cathedral in the background. But there's a burglar alarm with it on tomorrow. • Spotted: Minster Gates, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Monks”, York: monastic habits

“Hewes”, Newham: Jesus fish

"Hewes Security" burglar alarm, Newham • The branding of 40-year-old Essex-based firm Hewes includes an unambiguous "ichthys"  symbol, based on a Greek acronym early Christians used to recognise each other. Also known as the "Jesus Fish", its incorporation into logos is more common in the super-religious US, where enthusiastic use by fundamentalists and creationists has spawned a slew of parodies, such as a Darwin Fish, with legs; and a Trek Fish, which resembles the Starship Enterprise. In the UK, the sign is less controversial; in my experience, it's most often seen on the bumper of aged Nissan cars being erratically driven by hat-wearing folk, no doubt on the premise that Jesus will save them. • Spotted: High Street, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham Above: alternate bumper stickers – a Darwin Fish, left; and a Trek Fish, right.
“Hewes”, Newham: Jesus fish

“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

“Golden Security Systems”, Brent: dull but gilded

"Golden Security Systems" burglar alarm, Brent • After 318 entries, my first burglar alarm from the borough of Brent – which shows I don't often venture into deepest North London. Gold is an appropriate element for the Totteridge & Whetstone area, home to some of London's most expensive property – although given that Whetstone looks to me no more attractive than Streatham, just a typical dull and dusty, traffic-snarled suburb, Totteridge is clearly the more gilded end. This golden oldie is affixed to Whetstone's small and snorey parish church, St John The Apostle (below), and incorporates a naive monogram with what I take to be sound waves, thus cramming three classic security themes onto one superannuated bell box. • Spotted: St John the Apostle Church, High Street, Whetstone, Brent, London, N20, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chipping Barnet
“Golden Security Systems”, Brent: dull but gilded

“MAS” burglar alarm, Liverpool: dirty great pile

"MAS Formby" burglar alarm, Liverpool • This carefully-placed burglar alarm is affixed to the great and grubby neo-gothic pile of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, one of two such religious edifices piously dominating the city's skyline, bookending the aptly-named Hope Street. It's the cathedral that doesn't look like a flying saucer: the one that does is for Roman Catholics. The reason it doesn't look like a flying saucer is because it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, grandson of high Victorian goth Sir George Gilbert Scott (there's an alarm on one of his churches here); and although responsible for the magnificently monolithic Battersea Power Station and its modernist ex-power station sibling Tate Modern, Sir Giles wasn't into sci-fi-related structures – unless you count the red K6 telephone box. The hulking monstrosity of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is not, in my opinion, amongst his finest works: perhaps because he was born a Roman Catholic. (I couldn't find an alarm on the RC Metropolitan Cathedral, by the way, though I had a good look.) • Spotted: Liverpool Cathedral, Cathedral Close, Liverpool, L1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“MAS” burglar alarm, Liverpool: dirty great pile

“Houseguard”, Merton: George Gilbert Scott church

"Houseguard Security " burglar alarm, Merton • Centred above the pointy window is a decaying head looking down at the decaying burglar alarm, which although it's on a church is called Houseguard Security. St Mary's was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, responsible for just about every Gothic Revival building in England, including the brilliant Midland Grand Hotel at St. Pancras Station, which has just been restored. The church is in wealthy Wimbledon Village, and in its graveyard stands the mausoleum of Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, who built London's grand Victorian sewers. • Spotted: St Mary's Road, Merton, London, SW19, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Wimbledon
“Houseguard”, Merton: George Gilbert Scott church