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Audible Security, Birmingham: flowery

Audible WaterSt Birmingham B3 DSCN6120_800 "Audible Security" burglar alarm, Birmingham • Blimey, well I'd hope it would be audible, it's pretty useless otherwise. Though it'll have to be pretty loud to pierce through the tsunami of flowers cascading from the window box above it (see below). • Spotted: Water Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood Audible WaterSt Birmingham B3 DSCN6119_1200
Audible Security, Birmingham: flowery

Altech Security, Westminster: scalene

Altech Security "Altech Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Shamelessly repeating, due to its triangular trope,  a company I very recently featured here, with a different shaped box. Completing our trio of triangle types, it's a scalene triangle, with no equal sides (I think – I'm not about to measure it). But we can be sure the internal angles still add up to 180 degrees. Snore! • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Altech Security, Westminster: scalene

Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

Apollo Alarms "Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Found near the Archbishop of Canterbury's gaff at Lambeth Palace, this features un-Christian Apollo, favourite Greek god of burglar alarms. So maybe that triangle of radiating waves is meant to be sunrays, rather than the more usual soundwaves.• Spotted: Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

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

AE, Marlborough: protected

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

AAI, Westminster

AAI "AAI" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another triangular A-based monogram, specially designed to fill the whole delta. I hope Andy from AAI, a regular contributor to this blog, will forgive me for showing a somewhat vintage example; there's a newer version here• Spotted: Margaret Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
AAI, Westminster

ASG, Newquay: seagull poo

ASGSecurity BankSt Newquay nr TR7 1AX 00032_800 "ASG" burglar alarm, Newquay • A descendent of Alarm Service Group – there's some comment about that on this ASG entry. I must say, to the untrained eye, this isn't the world's neatest installation. And, being in Cornwall, that's probably seagull rather than pigeon poo. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
ASG, Newquay: seagull poo

Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

Mack Alarms Limited "Mack Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I see loads of old Mack Alarms around locally, so it's about time I featured one – notice subtle stripey triangle in background. The 01 phone number suggests it's a pretty old example. • Spotted: Toynbee Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

CAS Security "CAS Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • This is a very peculiar design; I can't work out whether the logo is meant to be a monogram, a stylised object of some kind, or just random. To me, it most suggests a weird beaky face. I saw loads of these in Birmingham recently, so it's not an uncommon brand. • Spotted: Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

Safeway Security, York: triangles

Safeway Security "Safeway Security" burglar alarm, York • Starting today: some examples of the very popular burglar alarm trope of triangles, often allied with monograms. This one's not to be confused with a certain supermarket. • Spotted: Burton Stone Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Safeway Security, York: triangles

K.I.S., Bristol: wonky

K.I.S Key Integrated Systems "K.I.S. Key Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • Wonky star in background, for no apparent reason. • Spotted: Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
K.I.S., Bristol: wonky

Somer 2000, Bristol: anvil

Somer 2000 "Somer 2000" burglar alarm, Bristol • A really unusual name and logo, which looks like a 1980s retro-futurist illustration of a communist-era anvil. However it may go back further than that: the Somer 2000 website informs us that the firm incorporates the vintage-sounding Sutton Transformers, whose logo this seems to be (note the S and T). The former were founded in 1995, the latter in 1975, so I'm not sure where the 2000 comes in (if it was meant to sound futuristic, they underestimated their longevity).  I still think that's an anvil, with the lightning bolts shooting out – perhaps they made their transformers in a forge. • Spotted: Merchants Road, Bristol, Avon, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Somer 2000, Bristol: anvil

Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

Altech Security "Altech Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • As in All Tech, perhaps? The black "flag" design works well within this delta shape, though it's a bit weird repeating the name twice. And it makes me think of Back Flag cockroach traps (or Roach Motels as they charmingly call them in the USA). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Prism "Prism" burglar alarm, Lambeth • A transparent object which refracts light, from ancient Greek prisma, meaning "something sawed". Also featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP, which this resembles. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Fife Alarms, Edinburgh: shrieky

Fife Alarms "Fife Alarms" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Another medieval instrument, and even shriller than the clarion, a fife is a small, shrieky flute beloved of marching bands. It's also a place in Scotland of course, which is probably what this alarm was named after. • Spotted: Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3, Scotland, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith
Fife Alarms, Edinburgh: shrieky

“Ultra”, Liverpool: verily

Ultra "Ultra" burglar alarm, Liverpool • More Latin, though this just means very very very very. Which is, verily, quite an avant-garde name for a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Stanley Dock area, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“Ultra”, Liverpool: verily

“Precision”, Edinburgh: straightforward

Precision HighSt Edinburgh nr EH1 1SR 00588_800 "Precision" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • Another straightforward statement of alarm-appropriate excellence: I would have been more excited to find a firm called Inaccuracy, or Sloppiness. Red triangles are quite a popular motif, I've noticed – maybe it's something to do with suggesting a "stop" sign (though it also looks like a "play" button to me).• Spotted: High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh East
“Precision”, Edinburgh: straightforward

“Ability”, Camden: generic

Ability Security Systems "Ability Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • Ability. Well, it's a form of excellence, albeit somewhat generic. "So, what particularly excellent quality does your firm have?" "Ability, mate." "OK, my good fellow, can't argue with that. You're hired!" • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Ability”, Camden: generic

“Executive”, Oxford: flunkey

Executive Alarms Oxford "Executive Alarms Oxford" burglar alarm, Oxford • Ah, executive - that all-purpose word intended to suggest high-powered business excellence, but which actually just means someone who does things, a functionary. As an adjective, it's usually added to bump up the price of something essentially crap which only a working flunkey would need, to elevate it one rung up the aspiration ladder - a polyester suit, say, or an Alan Partridge-style motel suite. Not that I'm suggesting this sounder is crap - it does boast a Ziggy Stardust-style lightning flash, after all. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Executive”, Oxford: flunkey

“ASG Security”, Falmouth: sacrilege

ASG Security "ASG Security" burglar alarm, Falmouth • Oh sacrilege. You can just about see, underneath this sticker, the superb original Alarm Service Group design, which I eulogise here. Somebody went and replaced it with this awkward three-letter monogram, which remains unexplained, despite repeating the initials twice. • Spotted: Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Truro and Falmouth
“ASG Security”, Falmouth: sacrilege

“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

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

“AAI”, Camden: red triangle

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

“Trade”, Camden: crosshairs

Trade Security Systems Plc "Trade Security Systems Plc" burglar alarm, Camden • This is a funny old logo. It's a bit hard to make out, as one of the colours has faded, and I'm not really sure what the design is meant to signify. However the thing it resembles most to me is the crosshairs of a gun sight, so into the "shooting" theme it goes. • Spotted: Warren Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Trade”, Camden: crosshairs

“Delta”, Hackney: creek

"Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to useless Yahoo Answers, there are no river deltas in Britain, because there's not a vast enough area of flat land. But I've found one: the Wandle Delta. Admittedly it's just an forgotten little industrial creek off the Thames, but hey – we can't all be the Mississippi. In fact there are plans to smarten it up with posh housing, but I rather like how it looks now – must go and explore it before it's too late. Amazing the things you learn researching burglar alarms! • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Wandle Delta Tom Bolton 5502093622_235213cc86 Above: a great pic of the Wandle Delta by Tom Bolton – see more on Flickr here
“Delta”, Hackney: creek

“M25”, Borehamwood: flooded

"M25 Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Borehamwood • As I write this, there is such severe weather across the UK that loads of roads and rivers are flooded. Something of a coincidence then, that my new theme is "roads and rivers". I start with London's orbital motorway, the M25, currently submerged in parts. • Spotted: Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Hertsmere Above: The M25 (unflooded)
“M25”, Borehamwood: flooded

Ghost under “3 Star Alarms”, Westminster: tank top

Ghost under "3 Star Alarms" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This anonymous delta ghost could have been anything, so I won't even hazard a guess as to its brand. But 3 Star's logo also conjures up distant days: in the 1970s, my brother had a tank top with exactly the same design on. • Spotted: Eastcastle Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Ghost under “3 Star Alarms”, Westminster: tank top

“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

“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

“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

“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Islington • I've already featured Security Centres twice in the lightning category, but I'm a sucker for decaying sounders, so here they are again with a very rusty portcullis. There's a slightly complicated history discussed in the comments here, regarding a 1980s UK company called Security Centres, who presumably installed this alarm, and also the vintage one here. They were then acquired by Modern Alarms, after which some ex-employees founded a Welsh firm called Security Centres (GB) using the same portcullis logo, as featured here, and are still going strong. Shows how popular the portcullis is! • Spotted: Wharfdale Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

“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

“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

"Securite" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • At first I thought this was some fancy French firm called Securité. However their website reveals it's a 20-year-old UK firm, so the name is probably a play on the less exotic-sounding Secure-right, with the tick accidentally looking like an acute accent, but actually relating to the concept of "right". Whatever, it's the last burglar alarm tick for now, bringing the grand total of this not-very-popular category up to five ticks – pathe-tick! (Groan.) • Spotted: Rathbone Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

“P-Tech Alarm”, Beckenham: tick-plus-tech

"P-Tech Alarm" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Another tick-plus-tech combo, echoing yesterday's InTech, though I would guess the "P" stands for something prosaic like Paul, rather than a scientific term. Interesting University of Wikipedia fact: although the tick (or check mark as Americans call it) suggests rightness and verification in some cultures, in others – including Scandinavia and Japan – it means exactly the opposite, ie error or wrong. So tick-based logos would not work internationally, though as its lack of web findability suggests P-Tech is probably defunct, it won't be a problem for them. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham
“P-Tech Alarm”, Beckenham: tick-plus-tech

“InTech Fire & Security”, Tower Hamlets: good omen

"InTech Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Judging by yesterday's alarm, the tick trope is starting to look like an omen for longevity. Here's another family firm still apparently going strong after 25 years, though according to the Essex outfit's inextensive website it looks like they've dropped the lively tick. Without its promise of "rightness",  all that's left is a connotation of techiness, though I guess InTech may also be a play on In Touch, which I always thought was a Radio 4 programme for the visually impaired (it's quite good actually). • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“InTech Fire & Security”, Tower Hamlets: good omen

“City Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: ticked off

"City Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • While arrows and chevrons are popular on burglar alarms, their natural graphic companion the Sure Deodorant-style tick is rare, so here begins a necessarily short run of them. Hornchurch-based City Alarms rocked the tick-plus-London-skyline look for years, though they've now got a totally different logo which you can see on their website here. They've got yet another logo on their brilliant legacy Web 2.0 website here – bristling with sound effects and animations, it must date from around 2000, as it says the 1988-founded firm is 12 years old. • Spotted: The Oval, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“City Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: ticked off

“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

"Vitesse" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Ooooh la la – this is French for "quickness". The stylish two-tone logo looks straight out of a 1970s Gallic sci fi movie (or maybe off a 1990s Daft Punk CD sleeve), and sports a tick (the mark, not the insect) which, though popular on deodorants, is a rare alarm trope. The box itself is an unusual flattish metal design, the same as this rusty old Mayfair Selby /York Alarm Centre effort. • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

"Woodlands Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another bosky firm, Kent-based Woodlands was dissolved in 2005, the year I photographed their sounder (there's a red light at the far right, so it must be still working). Their HQ was in Erith, near to ancient Oxleas Wood and the 89 acre Woodlands Farm (a charitable trust open to all) – which is possibly the source of their name. However their WSS monogram logo isn't very clear, leading the sounder to suggest it belongs to an organisation called "SS" – never a very good look. • Spotted: Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

"Trencherwood New Homes" burglar alarm, Southwark • Inexplicably, the house I found this on was "new" in around 1800, which was before even Berkshire-based property firm Trencherwood New Homes’ era, though they're part of history too, now. There's a picture on Flickr of a bronze ram statue Trencherwood commissioned in 1989 (seriously), which has a comment saying they sold up in 1996 and were eventually acquired by Barratt Developments PLC in 2007. Their heyday seems to have been the 1980s, which would be commensurate with this Eurobell – note the famed "off centre" screw, as recently discussed here. It's decorated with a sprig of gently decaying oak leaves and acorns, strengthening my suspicion that all sounders with acorns on are for defunct firms. • Spotted: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

"Cactus Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Kent-based Cactus Security specialise in construction sites, so you see a lot of their alarms on scaffolded buidings. The message is clear: you really wouldn't want to scale a structure bristling with piercing spikes. And maybe there's a nod to the wild west in their logo, too... not that I'm suggesting the building industry is inhabited by cowboys. • Spotted: Southampton Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

“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

“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

"Stew's Electrical & Security" burglar alarm, Margate • This would better belong with the shield forms at the beginning of my "uncommon shapes" theme, but it's a last-minute discovery and the only example of this box type I've ever found. It's also unique in being cheerily and possessively titled for the proprietor's first rather than last name. The box looks a bit like a cheap, upside-down version of this ESS enclosure – which, according to the commenters, was a chrome shield variation CQR Multibox. All Ramsgate-based Stew's matey details are on a large label, atypical for a sticker in looking professionally-designed. It features tiny icons of those popular security tropes lightning and locksmithery, plus an unusually harmonious (for burglar alarms) pale blue and green colour scheme, which wouldn't look out of place on eco-friendly washing powder. • Spotted: Market Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

"Key Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • We're moving into uncommon rectangular shapes now, which basically means boxes with fancy edges or indentations – so although rare, they're not the most exciting of enclosures. This has a ridged clear panel beneath a curved white top, and is the only example I've ever seen. It's not very recognisable however, and the best I can say about it is that it's a bit like a soap dish, or perhaps a sea slug. I can't argue with the disco-tastic logo though, which manages to incorporate an acronym, a star, locksmithery, technology, and the fact that K.I.S. were established in 1976. How on earth does Bristol support so many independent security firms? It suggests it's the crime hot-spot of the western world, though I'm sure it's not. • Spotted: Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Sheffield • After yesterday's unusual pentagonal Chubb, here's the classic equilateral triangle version. Not an uncommon design per se as there are lots of Chubbs around, but it's a one-firm shape, and the sharp-cornererd metal vintage ones like this are starting to rust into oblivion, normally from the bottom edge up – maybe the design causes rainwater  to collect there. • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

“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

“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

"C&H Alarms" and nameless burglar alarm, Sheffield • Finally, not exactly a multiple, but such a nice pairing it looks deliberate – a fancy new C&H sounder on a charming pink wall, showing up its plain-faced companion on dowdy unpainted bricks, united by the curlicued Myrtles plaque, hovering like some protective Victorian auntie. (I'm wasted here – I should be writing hackneyed romantic fiction, not burglar alarm descriptions.) I found them near Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, on an enforced tour of various football grounds – always fertile ground for burglar alarms too, fortunately. • Spotted: Parkside Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

“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

“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • Security Centres must have been a big firm once, as there are still plenty of their sounders around London, all pretty old. This is one of the more recent examples, and shows the lightning flash much better than yesterday's rusty and faded box. Shoreham's meant to be quite posh, and has a weird 1930s "millionaire's row" down by the seafront, home to Fatboy Slim and David Walliams amongst others; but most of the area is dominated by a really grim dockyard, which is exactly the sort of place you'd expect to find an electrified portcullis. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

“Security Centres (UK) Ltd”, Newham: Olympic cruelty

"Security Centres (UK) Ltd" burglar alarm, Newham • This vintage sounder doesn't exist any more, as I found it in a part of London that's now been completely torn down to make way for the Olympics. It's a bit hard to make out, but that's a thunderbolt piercing the portcullis – another popular alarm motif I shall feature one day. So not only will felons be brutally gated, they'll be electrocuted. Nice! • Spotted: Pudding Mill Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Security Centres (UK) Ltd”, Newham: Olympic cruelty

“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

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

“Intervene Securities”, Newham: divine retribution

"Intervene Securities" burglar alarm, Newham • Here's another iteration of Intervene's elderly lightning flash – I'd be interested to know if it's older or newer than yesterday's. Thunderbolts suggest not only electric shocks (or in extremis the electric chair), but also retribution from on high, in the form of a bolt from the blue. So maybe this intervention will be divine... • Spotted: Abbey Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Intervene Securities”, Newham: divine retribution

“Intervene Security Ltd”, Tower Hamlets: lightning field

"Intervene Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • A piece of Land art I have always wanted to see is Walter de Maria's The Lightning Field (1977), a square kilometre of remote New Mexico desert bristling with 400 steel poles, designed to channel both occasional lightning storms and the sun's daily passage. But since it's around 5,000 miles away, and you have to pay $250 to stay there overnight (and aren't even allowed to take photos), I shall have to make do instead with a few burglar alarms bearing lightning flashes, aka thunderbolts. Once popular, it's rather a low-tech symbol these days, so is found mainly on vintage sounders such as this one. Note to completists: I've already featured a few thunderbolts – on Aegis, EnrightHaven and X Ray – in other categories. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Intervene Security Ltd”, Tower Hamlets: lightning field

“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

"IFSS Infocus Security" burglar alarm, Hounslow • Now I leave the visual representation of eyes for a few alarms that, counterintuitively, refer to vision verbally – in this case, with that popular catch-all management-speak buzz-word, "focus". In all other ways, it's a supremely boring design – it isn't even an unexplained acronym, despite the extra "S" (for "systems", presumably). I promise there are some better ones to come. • Spotted: Chiswick Mall, Hounslow, London, W4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brentford and Isleworth
“IFSS Infocus Security”, Hounslow: verbal vision

“Enright Security”, Southwark: futuristic

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

“Classic Security”, Camden: a witty match

"www.Classic-Security.com" burglar alarm, Camden • How perfect is this? Such a witty match between burglar alarm and business can be no coincidence. Not only does Classic Security's name allude to the shop it protects, which specialises in ancient Greek-style gifts, but the Parthenon logo that decorates it looks just like the portico of the grand building opposite: that neo-classical repository of Greek and Roman loot, The British Museum. Not quite mythology perhaps, but a nice summation of the subject. Tomorrow: the Zodiac (so more mythology, really). • Spotted: Bury Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras Above: It's All Greek (left), a gift shop in Bloomsbury, whose classical burglar alarm matches the building opposite (right) – The British Museum
“Classic Security”, Camden: a witty match

“Aegis”, Camden: magical fashion item

"Aegis" burglar alarm, Camden • "Under the aegis of" is commonly understood to mean "under the protection of", so like yesterday's Argus, this is an unusually sensible mythological name for a security device. In ancient Greece the Aegis was a protective breastplate or cloak, originally a thundercloud invoked by Zeus, and later the skin of a divine goat worn by his warlike daughter Athena. Her exclusive over-the-top haute couture version was a golden snakeskin extravaganza, generally depicted as covered in scales and fringed with tinkling tassels or writhing serpents, all fastened with the severed head of Medusa, the scary snake-haired Gorgon. The idea of the magically protective Aegis caught on and spread to Egypt, Rome and beyond; and 2,500 years later the Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace made his fortune by taking the Medusa-and-snakeskin look to improbable extremes, though it didn't protect him from being murdered on his Florida doorstep in 1997. The Aegis can also take the form of a Medusa-faced shield, so the shape of this alarm is very apt, as well as showing that Aegis is under the aegis of Banham, whose proprietary sounder this is. It's somewhat let down by the obscure Aegis logo, which is like a red pyramid with a lighting bolt through it, possibly representing an A and an E. But surely a severed Gorgon's head would have been better? • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn Above: The Aegis as hot ancient fashion item. Left: The classic over-the-shoulder Aegis cloak as modelled by Athena in a Roman copy of a Greek statue, "Athena Cherchel-Ostia" (c.400 BC), from the Louvre, Paris. Above right: the Aegis worn in casual cross-body style on another Athena statue, "Athena Lemnia" from the Staatliche Museum, Dresden. Note the Gorgon Medusa's head, a popular decoration appropriated 2,500 years later by Gianni VersaceBelow right: An Egyptian-style Aegis, on a Nubian bust of the goddess Isis (c.300 BC) from the British Museum, London.
“Aegis”, Camden: magical fashion item

“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: stencil graffiti

"Chloride Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • Another study in London pinks and grey-blues, and a most unusual alarm. The logo Chloride Granley has been spray-stencilled, graffiti-style, onto an older Granley box, beating Banksy stylistically by some decades. Below it is some genuine modern graffiti in the form of a white arrow, setting off the alarm nicely (in the artistic, rather than the siren, sense). It's more normal to add a sticker when an alarm firm has been taken over, and this is the only stencilled effacement I've ever found; I'd be interested to know if there are any further examples around. • Spotted: Leonard Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: stencil graffiti

“Haven Security”, Brighton: peace and lightning

"Haven Security" burglar alarm, Brighton • I know it's meant to be an H formed from a lightning flash, but this also looks like half an SS logo trapped in a gate. Brilliantly, Haven Security is based in Peacehaven on the white cliffs of Sussex, nowadays a bastion of middle-class retirees but once Britain's much-fortified frontline to the continent. Peacehaven is obviously the origin of the firm's title, qualifying this alarm for the WWII theme by both design and location. Combined with the sunset lighting, it always makes me think of retired army colonels drinking sundowners in the safe haven of their cosy clifftop bungalows. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Haven Security”, Brighton: peace and lightning

“Blitz Security Group”, Southwark: shiny bomber

"Blitz Security Group" burglar alarm, Southwark • After taking yesterday's incredibly blurred photo of a Blitz alarm in 2002, I was always on the lookout for other examples, but never ran across any. When I decided to start writing this blog, I became so desperate to shoot a sharper version that I made a pilgrimage all the way back to the Surrey shopping parade where I'd originally found it, but the Blitz alarm was there no more. And despite an extensive exploration of the surrounding Old Coulsdon area, during which I snapped lots of other good vintage burglar alarms (to the understandable suspicion of several locals), I still came home Blitz-less. I assumed it was a small Surrey firm that had gone out of business many years ago, hence my failure to find one. So imagine my surprise when, a few weeks ago, I spotted a shiny new Blitz alarm just a short stroll from my home, in a road I visit practically every day. A brief recce turned up several more in the Waterloo area, which scuppers my theory that Blitz alarms only appeal in Conservative boroughs; but note that London SE1 is divided between Labour Lambeth and Lib-Dem Southwark, and so far I have only found Blitzes on the Lib-Dem side of the street – and they are in coalition with the Tories, after all. Blitz Security Alarms, meanwhile, have been upgraded to Blitz Security Group, and acquired a smart new design featuring the ever-trendy Cooper Black font. It's a very nice logo – even if it does conjure up images of a merciless fascist bombing campaign. • Spotted: King's Bench Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Blitz Security Group”, Southwark: shiny bomber

“Blitz Security Alarms”, Old Coulsdon: shaky start

"Blitz Security Alarms" burglar alarm, Old Coulsdon • OK, so it's blurred, but I'd only just got my first digital camera (high-end at the time, £700 for three megapixels – how times change). I was actually photographing a parade of ridiculous half-timbered Tudorbethan convenience stores in deepest Surrey (see below), when I noticed the name on a tiny box located above a fascia. Blitz: a term powerfully associated in the British psyche with a brutal Nazi invasion attempt, and the "Blitz spirit" that survived it. The cod-medieval shops and cod-wartime security device seemed to meld into a parody of the traditional values supposedly espoused in this cosy and affluent Conservative heartland, but it still seemed a weird word to put on a burglar alarm. Intrigued, I started looking out for more wartime burglar alarm names, and soon discovered a Churchill and a Spitfire. They too were in Tory areas, so I started noting the political constituencies of all the alarms I photographed, to see if there was any correlation between subject matter and voting patterns – a project still in process. And thus an obsession was born. • Spotted: Coulsdon Road, Old Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5, England, 2001 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Croydon South Above: the cod-medieval shops where I found the cod-wartime alarm
“Blitz Security Alarms”, Old Coulsdon: shaky start

“Chubb”, Hackney: the oldest brand of all

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Hackney • It's ironic that I selected this iconic blue Chubb box for its Modernist design, as it turns out to be the oldest brand name of all; and also, sadly, a blueprint for the decline of British industry at the hands of high finance over the last 40 years. The company was launched in 1804 by Charles Chubb, who started out selling ships' ironmongery, but moved into security when his brother Jeremiah invented a new type of lock. After gaining a Royal Warrant in the 1830s, the Chubb family enjoyed five generations of global growth, providing security for everything from the Crown Jewels to the Koh-i-Noor diamond to Winston Churchill's wartime papers. By the end of the 1960s the Wolverhampton-based company had swallowed up Rely-A-Bell and many other smaller rivals and was a respected bastion of British industry. According to ex-employee David Ibbs, the rot set in during the 1970s when Chubb damaged its finances by acquiring – under government urging – the failing Gross cash register business. And so, as the era of deregulation dawned, the weakened Chubb shifted from being a proud family-run manufacturer providing careers for life, to being the financial plaything of City moguls driven only by the bottom line. Starting with a misguided acquisition by Racal in 1984, Chubb demerged and remerged with other multinationals several times, "downsizing" (ie making skilled and loyal staff redundant) each time, and gradually splitting apart so that locks, safes and alarms ended up with different owners. Today, the alarms division is just a small part of American conglomerate United Technologies Corporation (UTC), while the other pieces are owned by Swedish multinationals. Chubb's last family boss, George Charles Hayter Chubb, aka the third Baron Hayter, was a highly-regarded Lords cross-bencher who tried to block Maggie Thatcher's destruction of the GLC, and once chaired the Design Council. Presumably his interest in design led to the 1970s introduction of this minimalist blue branding with its striking triangular box, known for obvious reasons as the "Delta". This powerful design has survived Chubb's many changes of ownership and lives on still, its current incarnation being a chunky-looking round-cornered Delta in posh navy plastic. In earlier times there was also a square blue metal box bearing the same logo, and I recently spotted a distressing new pentagonal variation. The example pictured here is a classic old metal Delta with faded paint and sharp corners, possibly dating from the 1980s. The (intentionally?) "chubby" initial C is, apparently, based on the front view of a mortice lock – a last poignant link to the glory days of the original Chubb brothers and their once-great British company. • Spotted: Kings Wharf, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chubb”, Hackney: the oldest brand of all

“JB-Eye”, Manchester: Pacman eats burglar

JB-Eye burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009"JB-Eye Security Systems" burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009 • "Please, Mr Pacman, don't eat me! I don't want to be a topping on your giant cheese pizza!" This looks like a tiny, pleading figure imploring a monster Pacman not to devour him. The unusual refinement of a shadow suggests a blast of nuclear light emanating from the chomping black blob. What the title JB-Eye has to do with it all is opaque – the name of some weird Pacman religion perhaps? • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central JB-Eye burglar alarm, Manchester, 2009
“JB-Eye”, Manchester: Pacman eats burglar

“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