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Shield

SOS, Glasgow, 2010

“SOS” burglar alarm, Glasgow • Looks like they blanked out something above the padlock shield. There’s another, earlier-looking version here. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • […]
SOS, Glasgow, 2010

Alert Security, Islington: mini-monogram

Alert Security "Alert Security" burglar alarm, Islington • There's a mini-monogram on this faded oldster if you look closely – an A in a shield up at the top. To my mind (ie the sad mind of a graphic designer), it makes a rather attractive composition with its background of semi-painted wall (see below). • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Alert Security
Alert Security, Islington: mini-monogram

“Decorum”, Camden: genteel

Decorum Alarms "Decorum Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • Surely the most genteel name for a burglar alarm firm ever, and appropriate for the decorous Hampstead borders where I found it. Should belong in a posh little sub-genre with Kudos from Bath, which featured right at the start of this blog, and which has the same type of clock-radio-alike sounder. • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Decorum”, Camden: genteel

“ATA Systems”, Bristol: intricate

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

“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

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

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

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

"Berkeley Guard" burglar alarm, Oxford • Berkeley has connotations of something really rich, doesn't it? Like a hedge fund, or a property portfolio. So I looked up Berkeley Guard on the internet, and lo and behold, the company was "founded in 1982 by Julian Berkeley, second son of Sir Lennox Berkeley, musician and composer" – proving yet again that there are quite a lot of Sirs in burglar alarm land, even if only peripherally. Incidentally, Julian's brother Michael presents the Sunday morning show Private Passions (a kind of upmarket an upmarket Desert Island Discs) on Radio 3 – so a posh burglar alarm indeed. • Spotted: Queen Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

“A1 Security”, Norwich: traffic cops

"A1 Security Protecting the Community Norwich" burglar alarm, Norwich • This piece of DIY heraldry conjures up the police force with its badge, checkers, and ribband reading "Protecting the community". But they're obviously not traffic cops, as the A1 – aka Britain's longest numbered road – doesn't go anywhere near Norwich. A name chosen to rise to the top of the phone directory, then. • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
“A1 Security”, Norwich: traffic cops

“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

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

“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

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

“Ambassador”, Old Coulsdon: dog-head

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

“Hadleigh Security”, Tower Hamlets: crane and cockles

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

“CG Computa Guard”, Bolton: green and gritty

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

“WEC Alarms”, Nottingham: cheery acronym

"WEC Alarms" burglar alarm, Nottingham • An cheery yellow unexplained acronym livening up a nice green Georgian house, though not exactly "in keeping". The building is some kind of defunct costume museum, opposite Nottingham's stupid castle, so a shield seems appropriate. I learn from their website that WEC were established in 1981 as a subsidiary of Woodthorpe Electrical Contractors, who were formed in 1963 – hence the name. • Spotted: Castle Gate, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham South

“WEC Alarms”, Nottingham: cheery acronym

“Security Installation Services”, Camden: birotastic

"Security Installation Services Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • Uuuuh? This looks like it was traced in biro off a US police badge. And the thing in the middle looks like a candle. Maybe it's meant to suggest the SAS, but to me it conjures up the schoolroom. • Spotted: Parkway, Camden, London, NW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Security Installation Services”, Camden: birotastic

“Shivon”, Westminster: head-turner

"Shivon Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I wonder if this is pronounced like Siobhán? I'd never heard of this word but it does come up as a name on Google, usually for young women. According to the not-very-reliable online Urban Dictionary, Shivon means "a girl who can turn the head of any man" – a definition which I am sure this firm was not named after. Nice shield, anyway – three letter S shapes, geddit? • Spotted: Wellington Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Shivon”, Westminster: head-turner

“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

“Scotshield”, Glasgow: patriotic

"Scotshield Fire & Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • You'd never get a firm called Engshield, would you? Britshield, maybe. But there's no doubt where this one's from. In fact, it's so patriotic it was found on the Rangers football stadium at Ibrox Park (see photo below). You know, the really famous Glasgow football club who went broke and are now relegated to the Irn-Bru Third Division – there's a pic of the ground here. So who knows whether they'll be able to maintain their security contract. • Spotted: Edmiston Drive, Ibrox, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G51, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow South West
“Scotshield”, Glasgow: patriotic

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: glum

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Yet another glum shield from the creators of the previous two sounders – hardly inspiring enough to warrant a three-strong showing, but benefiting from the fact that I just want to get rid of every shield variation I have • Spotted: Eldon Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: glum

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: twingo bingo

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • And so – ta da – we make a slight return to yellow shields. I wonder if this is any relative of the brace of vintage yellow Shields I published a week ago? It has the same typeface as this old Shield Security System sounder. All these shield sounders are kind of like burglar alarm Twingo Bingo. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: twingo bingo

“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

"Sentry" burglar alarm, Newham • So, you get the picture – I'm going to feature every single alarm I have with a shield on it, without much in the way of intelligent comment. That's because I've got a lot of shield alarms, but not much to say about them. • Spotted: Canal path nr Blaker Road, Newham, London, E15, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

“LanGuard Alarms”, Brighton: deja vu

"LanGuard Alarms" burglar alarm, Brighton • And another vintage shield-bearer – I guess shields were popular in the olden days. It's very similar to yesterday's box, but with a bulb. Is that Lan as in Local Area Network, I wonder? Or Len and Allan or something? Hmmm, I'm getting deja vu, maybe I featured this one before. (Checks.) Ah, I featured a Kestrel sticker which had been placed over a LanGuard box a while back and I see from the comment there that Lan refers to Lang, the proprietors. Apparently they're still going strong in the Brighton area, so this certainly isn't indicative of their current look – there's more info in the comment section below. • Spotted: Arundel Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“LanGuard Alarms”, Brighton: deja vu

“Honeywell Shield”, Tower Hamlets: bee-like

"Honeywell Shield Security System" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This is obviously the same company as yesterday, but taken over by Honeywell, a charmingly rural bee-like name for what is actually a technological behemoth. I also see plain Honeywell alarms around, so I guess they dumped the Shield part at some point. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Honeywell Shield”, Tower Hamlets: bee-like

“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

"Shield Security System" burglar alarm, Hackney • And still the crumpled old Shields keep on coming. This is a nice old vintage design, quite a few of which are still around. Maybe someone can tell me if this is the same company as the last two yellow Shields• Spotted: Kingsland Road, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

"Shield Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Camden • So now I move from the fortification of buildings to the fortification of humans, with the huge burglar alarm category of shields. This sounder does (or rather, did) what it says on the can. There's a side view below for the real "spotters" out there. • Spotted: Bleeding Heart Yard, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

“Independent Security Contracts”, Islington: encrusted

"Independent Security Contracts Ltd" burglar alarm, Islington • Another embattled shield, encrusted with names: "Security ISC 24 Independent Contractors Ltd" if read in an attempt at logical order. While googling around to find out what this kind of shield represents in heraldry, I learnt the much more interesting fact that Sir Paul McCartney has a totally bonkers coat of arms, which incorporates an abstract guitar – it took him years to get it designed. The tenuous link with ISC is that it's in roughly the same colours. Um, well gold and black v yellow and dark green – I said it was tenuous. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Independent Security Contracts”, Islington: encrusted

“Securi-Guard”, Fowey: slimy shield

"Securi-Guard" burglar alarm, Fowey • So, now we move on to fortifications on shields, combining the popular tropes of militia and aristocracy. It's amazing the label in question is still attached, because this wins the prize for the slimiest burglar alarm I've ever found. It's on a wave-lashed quayside building in Fowey, Cornwall, famed for being a) hard to say (it's pronounced "foy", to rhyme with "toy") and b) where the novelist Daphne du Maurier lived. She wrote eerie, suspenseful stories such as The Birds, Jamaica Inn and Don't Look Now (all since made into scary films), so perhaps there's a giant pecky bird or stabby red-coated dwarf lurking behind that castellated wall. • Spotted: Town Quay, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Securi-Guard”, Fowey: slimy shield

“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

"Allied Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Like Safeguard Alarms, another shield / fortress / portcullis combo, with a name that earns it honorary inclusion in the WWII category too. I guess this is a pretty old sounder, as it looks really faded, but Allied Security is still going strong. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

"Safeguard Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I was wading grumpily through Oxford's irritating throngs of meandering coach parties and pillocks on pushbikes, when this unusual alarm, on the side of a massive brutalist building next to the tacky remains of an actual castle, cheered me up a bit. It offers triple security: a shield, a fortress and a portcullis – plus a suggestion of safety by day and night, a towering dungeon, and even possibly a nod to the 2-Tone ska movement of the early 1980s (in my tortured imagination, anyway). Turns out Safeguard Alarms are a genuine family-run firm, founded in 1969 – nice logo! • Spotted: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

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

Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

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

“Crusader 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

“Knight Security”, Newquay: psychedelic crash

"Knight Security" burglar alarm, Newquay  • Unlike yesterday's un-knightly seaside monogram, this one at least has a shield and some heraldic-looking "black letter" script. That's an illustration of a psychedelic VW camper van bumping into it, by the way – an unlikely crash caused by its location on a surf shop fascia in the not-very-paradisical surfie hub of Newquay. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Knight Security”, Newquay: psychedelic crash

“Anglian”, Lowestoft: fish-fingery fellow

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

“Ambassador”, Tower Hamlets: final shield

"Ambassador Security Group" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • A later Ambassador than yesterday's, this bears their final simplified shield logo, as also seen fading away on the Secom-style box discussed in the comments here. Ambassadors always end up as knights, and the heraldic shield of course also refers to knights. Thus, uncoincidentally, the theme for tomorrow is "knighthood". • Spotted: Coventry Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Ambassador”, Tower Hamlets: final shield

“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

"Ambassador" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • With this fancy logo, Ambassador, you are spoiling us. In real life, an ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation, and this fine heraldic logo matches up. Faded Ambassador sounders of many types bearing this shield still abound, although the company itself exists no longer, as the comments here diplomatically explain. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

“Cromwell Security”, Camden: headless dictator

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

“Security Express”, Camden: slanty-edged

"Security Express Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • Bearing the ever-popular shield trope, this slanty-edged bell box is a type that was once quite popular – indeed, it's still a common sight on old Cannon alarms around Bristol. There were some comments about the sounder's design beneath this SWAT box from York, including that it's "very loud and sounds unique", and is possibly a Regal Safe product. Regarding speed, the firm is express no more: a company search shows it was incorporated in 1946 and was also known in the 1980s as Hornet and later Computa-Guard, but was bought by Chubb in the 1990s. Blimey, the stuff you can turn up on the internet. • Spotted: Covent Garden area, Camden, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Security Express”, Camden: slanty-edged

“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

"Arlescourt Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Severed hands are a popular image on burglar alarms, and quite apart from reminding thieves what appendage they might lose under sharia law, it's an ancient symbol with many connotations. The heraldic hand on this fine vintage sounder is grimly gripping a key in the manner of the Lady of the Lake brandishing Excalibur from her watery depths. It recalls the folkloric "Hand of Glory" – the dried and pickled mitt of a hanged felon, believed in medieval Europe to have the power to unlock any door it came across. There are grisly if contested examples in Whitby and Walsall museums, and a couple of mentions in Harry Potter. It's all most appropriate for a firm whose name sounds like something straight out of Camelot. • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_11694" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hands of Glory: left, a medieval version, and right, Whitby Museum's example"][/caption]
“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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