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Trapped

“Ace”, Southwark: trapped

"Ace" burglar alarm, Southwark • My final cage is an accidental one – a bondage burglar alarm trapped behind some random piping. It's on an taxi garage under the vast railway viaduct that scythes through Bankside in London. Painted a jaunty red, it's a rare survivor of the old-skool businesses that used to make this area so interesting, now all being replaced by identikit glass apartment blocks aimed at a seemingly endless supply of rich international students. In my day, students lived in slums heated by leaving the oven door open till the gas meter ran out – those were the days! (Note, I am not old enough for it to have been poisonous "town gas".) But at least we got grants... • Spotted: Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Ace”, Southwark: trapped

“JMJ”, Sheffield: ill-fitting

"JMJ" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Thanks to a comment on yesterday's JB-Eye post, I now know that its red, horizontal-barred cage was an off-the-peg number. So what about this ill-fitting jobbie? Was it originally made for a jewel-shaped box (I wish someone would tell me what the proper name is for that shape) which later got replaced? Or is this the only shape you can get? As an aside, I cannot say how stupid I felt saying to my travelling companion, "hang on, I have to take a photo of that burglar alarm in an ill-fitting cage". I have had many such moments, but I remember this unedifying spot, next to an unpleasant bar surrounded by broken glass, as a particular low point. • Spotted: Eldon Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“JMJ”, Sheffield: ill-fitting

“JB-Eye”, Manchester: off-the-peg?

"JB-Eye Security Systems" burglar alarm, Manchester • I've already commented on the Pacman-ness of JB-Eye, but what I'm wondering about here is the cage. Was it specially made for this bell box? Or are there off-the-peg alarm cages available? This question will make more sense when tomorrow's example has been posted. • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“JB-Eye”, Manchester: off-the-peg?

“King Security Ltd”, Sheffield: Shakespearean

"King Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Sheffield • A caged King in Campo Lane – there's something rather Shakespearean about that. It's on a little old-fashioned jewellers called DH Baines & Co; the spire reflected in the window belongs to Sheffield Cathedral, which was opposite (and probably still is). • Spotted: Campo Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“King Security Ltd”, Sheffield: Shakespearean

“CTS”, Glasgow: half-cut

"CTS" burglar alarm, Glasgow • This bit of Glasgow's so posh, they only needed to cage half the burglar alarm, ha ha. It's actually above a doorway in a railway arch, hence the artistic composition, which looks like the kind of "intervention" you might find in a pop-up gallery in a multi-storey car park (I'm not making this up). As it happens, there was a pop-up gallery in the next-door railway arch (it was during an art festival), so who knows – maybe it actually was a piece of art. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“CTS”, Glasgow: half-cut

“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

"Lee Security.com" burglar alarm, Islington • Things have come to a pretty pass when not just the windows, but even the burglar alarm has to be protected by wire mesh. And this isn't from some ultra-deprived inner-city riot zone, but the posh-restaurant hot-spot of Clerkenwell. Those foodies must be desperate folk. • Spotted: St John Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

“Banham”, Westminster: tilting at niches

"Banham" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • My final niche for now is pushing it a bit, because I accept that this isn't strictly a niche. However, this tilting Banham alarm, looking as if it's trying desperately to break free of its restricted slot on a smart SW1 balcony, doesn't really fit within any other theme, and is a nice counterpoint to the bricked-up Banham a few entries back. And that's niche enough for me. • Spotted: Vauxhall bridge Road, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Banham”, Westminster: tilting at niches

“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: leafy glade

"Town & Country" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • A natural niche rather than an architectural one, this swathe of leaves is protecting an aptly-named Town & Country alarm (which has an excellent clamp-based logo that I'll feature in more depth another time). I found it in the chi-chi Chilterns town of Great Missenden, long-time home of author Roald Dahl, who now lies buried in the church graveyard (he's dead, obviously). • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: leafy glade

“Thorn”, East Grinstead: prim and proper

"Thorn" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • I've already recounted the tangled corporate history of the modernist Thorn alarms, which you'll find here. This 1970s-designed Thorn is protruding through the twee terracotta tiles of a no doubt historic roof, from which – East Grinstead being a prim and proper kind of place – the proud homeowner has cut a neat circular niche to accommodate their big red anti-burglar device. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Thorn”, East Grinstead: prim and proper

“Spy Alarms”, Lambeth: a creepy Masonic sign?

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Once upon a time, a proud Lower Marsh retailer had this burglar alarm smartly fitted into a niche in their shop sign. Such was their attention to detail, that before the Spy label was stuck on, they even had the alarm's case painted dark blue to match the fascia. Then along came the sun, the wind and the rain – and off started to peel the Spy label, because it didn't stick to the paint properly. The result is a scarily blank crying / beaming Egyptian-style eye above a decaying paranoiac logo, peeking creepily out of its hole like a weird old sign for some defunct Masonic lodge. (Although Lower Marsh is so odd it wouldn't surprise me if there actually was a Masonic lodge there.) • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Spy Alarms”, Lambeth: a creepy Masonic sign?

Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

Burglar alarm with name hidden in niche, City of Westminster • A custom alarm niche in swanky New Bond Street, home of London's most expensive niche retailers. The sounder is clinging gecko-like to the roof of a shop doorway, which I happened across while it was undergoing refitting works during the transition from one rip-off fashion emporium to another. And so high class a job was it, that when the builders boarded the doorway up, they even cut out this snug little hand-tailored hole especially for the burglar alarm. • Spotted: New Bond Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

“Banham”, Lambeth: posh alarm, rough niche

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

“Home Guard Vess”, Birkenhead: roadside icons

"Home Guard Vess" burglar alarm, Birkenhead • This, like yesterday's niche, comes from a Merseyside warehouse, though across the the river in Birkenhead. I found it during a rather anal search for 1930s Mersey Tunnel vents, immense rectilinear brick structures reminiscent of neo-fascist churches (there are some excellent photos here). Of course, due to its Irish heritage, the whole Merseyside area is strongly Roman Catholic – which lends these burglar alarm niches the feel of vigilant roadside icons. • Spotted: Shore Road area, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birkenhead
“Home Guard Vess”, Birkenhead: roadside icons

“Falcon Security”, Liverpool: tatty bird, nice niche

"Falcon Security" burglar alarm, Liverpool • I always enjoy burglar alarms' varied architectural settings: some languish in obscure corners amidst layers of grimy urban decay, whilst others are proudly placed and neatly painted around. Some are even fortunate enough to have their own dedicated niches, and it is to these that I turn this week. Having just finished a fortnight of random burglar alarm birds, my first niche is home to a rather tatty falcon (a species be covered more fully in a later series on hawkish alarm birds). This circular brickwork detail decorates a 19th-century warehouse near Tate Liverpool, now given over to that booming 21st-century descendant of warehousing, self-storage. • Spotted: Norfolk Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Liverpool Riverside
“Falcon Security”, Liverpool: tatty bird, nice niche