Enfield Security Systems, Covent Garden area, Camden, London, WC2, England, 2004
RSS Security Systems, Cleveland Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2012 • Ah, one of my favourite fonts, Profil.
PSS, Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007
Midland Security Systems, Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Same as here but with a different, rounder box.
LISS Security & Surveillnce London Internal Security Systems Ltd, New […]
HSS Alarms, Artillery Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Same as here except this one has a strobe in the corner.
Guide Security Services, Berners Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, […]
GSS Grays, Middleton Place, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Similar here.
DSSA Bath, Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2009 • Like DSA but with an extra S.
CSS, Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010
Concord Security, Surrey Row, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Now for some boxes with SS in their name, which we can generally assume stands for Security Services. There’s a […]
“National Security Systems” burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Now moving from locally named alarms to nationally named ones, in this case literally. • Spotted: Wells Street, City of Westminster, London, […]
“CSS” burglar alarm, Hackney • I often see these generic alarms featuring a portion of Britain. I guess it’s a standard design people apply their firm’s name to (in this […]
“Midland Security Systems” burglar alarm, Lowestoft • And another Midland alarm (though not actually found in the midlands), to make up for having ignored them for so long. • Spotted: Town […]
“Midland Security Systems” burglar alarm, Rugby • These are quite common, but I’ve never featured one before. • Spotted: Market Place, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative […]
“SDS Samson Direct Security” burglar alarm, Kingswear • Double defence: a Roman helmet and a biblical strongman. • Spotted: Higher Street, Kingswear, Devon, TQ6, England, 2013 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency […]
“Protected by ESS Leeds” burglar alarm, Leeds • Don’t know if this is the same as ths Essex ESS (example here). • Spotted: Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1, England, […]
“Safe N” Sound Security Systems” burglar alarm, Bexhill • Apostrophe […]
“ESS Essex Security Services Ltd” burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Essex Security Services have the benefit of regularly changing their logo and thus featuring many times on this blog. These, […]
“Site Security Services” burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Nothing […]
“Crown Security” burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Not clear if this is faded sticker graffiti or just a random bit of rubbish. Probably the latter. • Spotted: Berwick Street, […]
"HSS Alarms Harlow" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Shown in the distance ages ago on a snotty guano wall, and now here in glorious faded close up. • Spotted: Pundersons Gardens, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
"SSL Security Solutions London" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another SS acronym, shielded by giant plant. Looks like there was a hexagonal sounder there before it. • Spotted: Rathbone Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Tel Cam Security Systems” burglar alarm, Lambeth • Or, in this case, Ecurity Systems. I think that’s a weird tall house in the middle of the triangle, but it’s a […]
“MCSS” burglar alarm, Southwark • Randomly stencilled, army-style – that’s hard core old-school. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of […]
"Sonic Alarms" burglar alarm, Cardiff • I found this on a chapel in Wales – they should have had that Vocal Vale alarm from a few days ago. It's a multi-trope security sensation: sound, lightning, the SAS, awkward diagonal logo, double S, and a semi-unexplained acronym in the second S of SAS. Plus a spiky-headed creature if you factor in Sonic the Hedgehog. Ah, how I used to love playing Sonic the Hedgehog, especially when it got to the roller-coaster level. Not that I ever got any further. • Spotted: Harbour Drive, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF99, Wales, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth
"Sonata Security" burglar alarm, Norwich • I've featured a lot of sound and music-based alarms without ever having a dedicated category (apart from bells), so here's one now. Sonata is rather a tuneful concept for a sounder, and look how the double S makes a kind of snakey heart... very upmarket. The only other classical music reference I've come across so far is Berkeley Guard, run by the scion of a famous composer. • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
"So Secure" burglar alarm, Greenwich • I love this beautiful double S monogram, which is so sophisticatedly retro in its black-and-olive curvyness that it wouldn't look out of place on an Orla Kiely handbag. (That's a compliment, chaps.) However, perhaps not the most legible - it wasn't till I found a version with the website on that I realised the green circle meant it said "SoSecure". Until then I'd always read it as "SSecure", putting it in the rather large "SS" logo category (in the Security Services, rather than Nazi sense). Whereas in fact it kind of says SOS. Very clever. • Spotted: Herbert Road, Greenwich, London, SE18, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Greenwich and Woolwich
"HSS Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • HSS used to be based in Harlow, so I reckon HSS stands for Harlow Security Systems. Aptly for a sounder located in Tower Hamlets, it pictures a Beefeater - aka a Yeoman of the Guard, which is apparently an incorrect term for Yeoman Warder, ie a geezer who ceremonially "guards" the Tower of London. That looks like a vicious weapon he's carrying, but in fact it's just a decorative staff. Tomorrow however, the theme is indeed weapons. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
"Knight Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • Yet another patriotically jousting horseman, this time with the exact same name as the vintage box featured here – so maybe it's the same company. • Spotted: Belvedere Buildings, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
"Wychwood Security" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Spookily-named Wychwood, which sounds like something out of Harry Potter, was once a royal hunting forest covering much of West Oxfordshire. It was also once an Oxfordshire security firm, but Wychwood Security Services is nowadays part of Advance Vision Group, aka AVG, a 1989-founded firm whose sounders I'm not currently familiar with. As for Wychwood, their WSS monogram was a bit more fancy than Woodland Security Systems’, but it still majors on an ill-advised "SS”. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
"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
"Sovereign Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Nestling on a fine brutalist wall is another Sovereign Security sounder, though I don't know if it's the same company as yesterday or the day before. This looks like it dates from some time between those two, yet the design's totally different – but it seems unlikely there would be two firms with the same name operating in the Bristol area. It's a much duller design, even if it finally does spell out that SSS stands for Sovereign Security Services (nothing like repeating your name twice in the space of six inches). It was found in aptly regal Victoria Street, which like half the civic projects in England was named after good Queen Vic, which means they're also named after me.• Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"Sovereign Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • I've already posted a Sovereign Security sounder under the theme of locksmithery, as the logo looks like a chain. Here's an older and much nicer one, even though it still doesn't look remotely regal.• Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
"ASS Security Systems" burglar alarm, Dorking • Ass. What can I say? This is even stupider than Ape. There are really no good connotations to this: it either suggests a beast of burden, a silly fool, or some American buttocks. Also, is it actually meant to read as "Ass Security Systems", or is the logo some infinitely looping attempt to represent "A Security Systems" – or even "AASS Security Systems"? And if so, what does the big A stand for? Ass? Good grief. There's a picture of one below. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley Above: a real ass. (Photo by Hans-Peter Scholz)
"Wakefield" burglar alarm, Worthing • Sleepfield, more like: this was found in West Worthing, which is even more snorey than its dozy neighbour "main" Worthing, mobility scooter capital of the world. Back in 2003 digital cameras weren't up to much and I wasn't taking burglar alarms too seriously, hence the extreme blurriness, but you can just about make out a chain containing the initials WSS at the top. I'd like to get a better shot of this, and Google Street View, though usually a couple of years out of date, shows it as still there. So maybe I'm in luck – assuming I can be bothered to go back to Worthing. My brother (who tweets very amusingly about the underbelly of South Coast life as @LordScumland) lives there, so maybe I will. • Spotted: Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11, England, 2003 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
"Sovereign Security" burglar alarm, Frome • Another abstract piece of chain, unless I am very much mistaken, which is also possibly intended to read as an eye. How Sovereign Security converts to the acronym SSS is unclear, but a crown would have been more appropriate, given the name's royal connotations. All in all an unconnected jumble of popular security cliches: monarchy, locksmithery, vision, and multiples of the letter S. (Acronym update: research shows that the firm started out as Sovereign Security Services, but are now known as Sovereign Fire and Security, and trade from the fascinating – to me, anyway – dockyard hinterlands beneath the M5 motorway at Avonmouth, Bristol. Of course, it's always a fair bet that an unexplained "SS" stands for "Security Systems" – on burglar alarms, at least.) • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome
"Securebase" burglar alarm, Islington • I reckon this is an abstract reference to chain links. It's quite clever if so, reading as both a small white S in the middle, a bigger blue S around it (making the ever-popular SS trope), with maybe the hint of a B, plus two chain links and the visual impression of something tightly twisted up. Though I'm doubtless reading far too much into what is essentially a pretty dull design. • Spotted: Wedmore Gardens, Islington, London, N19, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
"HBSS" burglar alarm, Southwark • Last week I was lamenting a side-on shot I'd taken of a vintage HBSS alarm. Then a couple of days ago I came across this updated version, which I've managed to photograph head on. It's just as random as its predecessor, with the main change being thinner lines and a giant phone number replacing the proud boast of "Grays Thurrock" (local references are so passé these days). Most importantly from an iconographic point of view, the keys have been updated, though these are now so fine they're hard to see. Previously two clumsy little key silhouettes hovered around the logo, like stranded sperm or spacecraft awaiting re-entry. These have now been replaced with two pairs of carefully-drawn linked door keys, conjuring up images of the coffee table at a 1970s wife-swapping party. • Spotted: Southwark Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
"HBSS Grays Thurrock" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I could only take an angled shot of this, as it was in a gated car park, and for some reason alarms with keys on are all really high up. I've seen a few more in the area – I'll have to try and get a front-on shot some day. Still, you can see that it's vintage, and a pretty random design featuring two floating keys, an awkward diagonal logo, an unexplained acronym incorporating the popular "SS" trope, and a huge dangling bulb. Richard Wilson, commenting below, says he thinks HBSS stands for Homes and Business Security Services. There's not much else to report except that Grays Thurrock (aka Grays) is in Essex, a county from which I have few burglar alarms; and that Thurrock is a Saxon name meaning "the bottom of a ship". • Spotted: Autumn Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
"Mercury Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • This boring design gives no clue whether its name refers to the planet, the element, the crap Queen singer or the myth. Seeing as the myth came first, I shall include this alarm within the mythology section. Mercury was the Roman version of Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods, famed for his winged sandals and helmet, and a snake-entwined staff called a caduceus. The Romans equated him mainly with travel and commerce, and his image can be found adorning stations and shopping centres to this day. A notably slippery character, with traits which would have taken him far in diplomacy or journalism, Mercury combined patronage of noble things such as music, wit, sport and invention with a reputation for cunning and trickery. Which is perhaps how a god strongly associated with thieves and boundaries – described in an ancient Greek hymn as "a watcher by night, a thief at the gates" – has wangled his way onto a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: Mercury in Manhattan, still representing trade and travel today. Left: "Winged Mercury" (1933), a carving by Lee Lawrie on the ex-British Empire Building at the Rockerfeller Centre. Right: "Glory of Commerce" (1911-14) by Jules-Alexis Coutain, aka the famous Mercury clock at Grand Central Terminal. There's more about it on Which Yet Survive, a great but short-lived blog about New York statuary.
"WSS Alarms" burglar alarm, Glasgow • I rather like this naive typographic design, which – presumably by accident – stands for Waffen SS and is even in a classic Nazi colourway. The thorny circle of Ws looks like a ring of razor wire protecting the SS, and – although it clearly dates from the days before the World Wide Web caught on – lends it a subliminal online feel. It also bars the logo from my "basic" category, as it requires a certain amount of graphic know-how to put type on a circle, no matter how low-tech the end result. • Spotted: Merkland Street, Partick, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G11, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow North
"SS" burglar alarm, Sheffield • An even more minimalistic SS logo than yesterday's, which again unwittingly conjures up the Nazis. There are loads of these utterly cryptic devices around the Sheffield area, and pleasingly I even found one sharing wall space with an old Britannia box (surrounding the ADT alarm, below). • Spotted: Charlotte Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Above: An ADT alarm surrounded by Britannia and the SS
"SS Alarms" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Hmmm, a firm called simply SS – how cryptic. It could stand for "Steam Ship", as in Isambard Kingdom Brunel's pioneering SS Great Britain. It could stand for "Saints", as in the art-stuffed SS Giovanni e Paolo, one of Venice's finest Gothic churches. It could even, if you're a graphic designer, stand for "Same Size". But whenever I see SS on a burglar alarm, it always makes me think of the Waffen SS, as in Hitler's evil henchmen. And so although I know it probably stands for Security Systems (because SS on a burglar alarm inevitably does), the minimalist logo of SS Alarms has ended up here, in my World War II category. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
"Security Services" burglar alarm, Stoke-On-Trent • You may disagree, but I contend that this represents the face of an owl. An owl made of rope, with the initials SS for eyes, to be sure – but still distinctly an owl, down to the suggestion of ears. Yes, it could be a kinky bra, or a pair of goggles, or just a knot – but that wouldn't be so burglar alarmish. I rest my case. • Spotted: Hanley town centre, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Stoke on Trent Central