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Typographic

“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

“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

“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 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

“Rampart Security”, St Albans: un-illustrated

"Rampart Security" burglar alarm, St Albans • Apart from Bastion, this is the only fortification alarm featured that doesn't actually picture its defences. It's pasted over a vintage Shorrock, unless I'm very much mistaken – although of a type I've not featured yet, I'm surprised to discover. • Spotted: Town centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of St Albans
“Rampart Security”, St Albans: un-illustrated

“Bastion Protec Systems”, Dorking: defensible space

"Bastion Protec Systems" burglar alarm, Dorking • One of the very few "defensible space" sounders without an image on it, the name Bastion helpfully sums up all the alarms in this section. A bastion is literally a pointy bit of fortification that pokes out from castles and the like, but figuratively means a stronghold of some kind. As it happens I really like this logo: 1970s disco it may be, but it's sensitively designed in classic style, and looks like it was done by a professional. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Bastion Protec Systems”, Dorking: defensible space

“Krypto Security”, Lambeth: Dracula’s castle

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Yet another Krypto – I love Krypto sounders. Especially this nicely-drawn design, which sports a proper turreted castle (unlike yesterday's prisony thing) and spooky gothic lettering, complete with dripping mould. It looks more like an advert for Dracula than a sounder. Oh, and it was found in a road with Marsh in its name, like yesterday's – boggy ground is obviously a popular location for Krypto's creepy castles. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Krypto Security”, Lambeth: Dracula’s castle

“TES Security”, Bolton: named twice

"TES Security" burglar alarm, Bolton • This is quite strange, when you deconstruct it: a portcullis with a jaunty 1960s-style monogram in the middle, with a completely different logo suspended from it by chains, perhaps because the top one isn't very legible. The one above looks a bit like a bike and suggests a balancing act, while the one below is in a font beloved of 1970s sci-fi TV shows. So, a retro-futuristic design with a superannuated phone number – but no indication of what the initials stand for, or where a portcullis might fit into the grand scheme of things. • Spotted: Marsden Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bolton North East
“TES Security”, Bolton: named twice

“Britannia”, Southwark: patriotic lion

"Britannia" burglar alarm, Southwark • I end the Roman Britain theme as I began, with Britannia – I never tire of their swinging sixties-style logo, which wouldn't look out of place in a Paul Smith boutique. This old box has a bulb on top, which thanks to the comment here I now know is considered somewhat insecure, as a passing ne'er-do-well could use it to lever the alarm off. • Spotted: Morocco Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Britannia”, Southwark: patriotic lion

“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

"Aztec Solutions" burglar alarm, Bristol • The logo says "Aztec Securities" (which, if Aztec practices were actually followed, would involve ritually ripping out the still-beating hearts of felons), but the designer has surely used clip art of a Roman soldier to illustrate it. This headgear looks strongly like a legionary's plumed helmet with visor and ear guard to me, rather than a pre-Columbian feathered headdress with ear plugs. Either that or Sussex Alarms is portraying an Aztec too. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

“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

“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

“Knight Guard Security”, Brighton: un-knightly logo

"Knight Guard Security" burglar alarm, Brighton • Boo, no picture of a knight on this one, or even a humble guard – just a rather decaying G thrust into the welcoming arms of a big fat K. A most un-knightly logo; and I've even got a version of this where they dropped the monogram completely. • Spotted: Gloucester Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Green constituency of Brighton Pavilion
“Knight Guard Security”, Brighton: un-knightly logo

“Knight Security Systems”, Islington: noble pun

"Knight Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • With their connotations of nobility, bravery and chivalry, and the happy pun on "night", knights are one of the most popular burglar alarm themes. This old example is so huge (see side view, below) it could even have a few mounted warriors lurking within it. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Knight Security Systems”, Islington: noble pun

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This Admiral's taken over another alarm – I'm guessing, from the style and colour of the box, that it's an A1. Just a thought: if Admiral merged with Abel, they'd be Admirable. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Perfectly placed on a half-timbered beam, another bigwig from East Grinstead, where I like to think plenty of real retired admirals reside. The rank of Admiral dates from 1297, and the simple logo belongs to a 1992-founded firm whose sounders I spot all over the place. The red-and-white scheme is appropriate, as an Admiral's flag is the similarly-hued St George's Cross. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

“Premier Security Ltd”, Westminster: chillax

"Premier Security Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Phew, what a lot of different Premier burglar alarms there are. Finally, a whizzy silver one with faux futuristic lettering from the UK Prime Minister's home turf of Westminster. A new breed of Conservative premier, perhaps – the pseudo-modern kind that likes to chillax and LOL. • Spotted: Newman Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Premier Security Ltd”, Westminster: chillax

“Norman Security”, Lowestoft: fancy peerages

"Norman Security Lowestoft" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • That's enough aristocratic bigwigs for now. I blame it all on the Normans, who after 1066 took only a few years to replace the Anglo-Saxon landholders with rich French upstarts and a fancy system of peerages, paid for then just as now. Norman Security go back nearly as far: according to the local business site here, they are are "a sister company to Norman Electrical who have been trading since the 1950s" – though the lack of a dedicated web presence suggests both may now be defunct. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Norman Security”, Lowestoft: fancy peerages

“Viscount Alarms”, St Albans: non-egalitarian balls

"Viscount Alarms" burglar alarm, St Albans • Of Norman origin, like all Britain's aristocratic titles, a viscount is a middle-ranking sort of peer, below an earl but above a baron. Resplendent in a coronet bearing 16 balls (see below), such a personage should be addressed as "Lord", if you're feling deferential. The more egalitarian Anglo-Saxon equivalent was the "shire reeve" or sheriff, which would be a good title for a burglar alarm in my opinion. But I have never come across any Sheriff Alarms, perhaps because of the word's unfortunate cowboy connotations. According to the comments below this Xtal alarm, Viscount were a well-run business who used to do the alarms for Shell petrol stations and Robert Dyas, but were brought to an untimely end by the failure of their parent company. • Spotted: Town centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of St Albans [caption id="attachment_12231" align="alignnone" width="472"] A viscount's coronet with its 16 non-egalitarian balls[/caption]
“Viscount Alarms”, St Albans: non-egalitarian balls

“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

"Duchy Alarms" burglar alarm, Cornwall  • Today starts the theme of "bigwigs", by which I mean the aristocracy and the political establishment, the so-called "great and the good" – subjects ever-popular on burglar alarms. We start with a Duchy, property of a monarch or duke (the next rung down from monarchy), so it's the biggest wig I've featured since the royalty theme, assuming we leave the higher powers of religion out of it. This alarm refers to the Duchy of Cornwall, that bit of the county that belongs to the Prince of Wales, and has done since 1337 (not the same Prince, of course). Apparently, when people in Cornwall die without wills, their estate goes not to help suffering children or even homeless cats, but to the Duchy. I wonder if Prince Charles owns this burglar alarm? • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

“Instant Aid Protection”, Westminster: bold promise

"Instant Aid Protection" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This vintage Eurobell boldly promises instant aid, which is about as speedy as you can get. I'm not sure if the company was called "Instant Aid" or "Instant Aid Protection", but either way it's not exactly a catchy name, and the logo – if such it is – is pretty basic too. It was found in the dilapidated but once-grand shopping arcade at Victoria Station (hence the fancy moulding, below), which is now being redeveloped. • Spotted: Victoria Arcade, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster [caption id="attachment_11856" align="alignnone" width="472"] The alarm in its grungily grand setting at Victoria Station[/caption]
“Instant Aid Protection”, Westminster: bold promise

“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

“Swift Fire & Security”, Ealing: strangely static

"Swift Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Ealing • At last, a Swift that's easy to find – the 1982-founded company's website is here. You see absolutely loads of their alarms around, but nicely designed though it is, their logo doesn't visually suggest speed in any way; in fact, it looks positively static. It's on the same unusual soap-dish box as the Key Integrated Systems here, which I now know is called an Odyssey 4. • Spotted: Ashbourne Parade, Ealing, London, W5, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Ealing Central and Acton
“Swift Fire & Security”, Ealing: strangely static

“Swift Security Systems”, Southwark: 1970s band

"Swift Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • This looks like the logo for a 1970s band, as doodled on the back of a schoolbook. It's positively leaning forward with swiftness, and the enclosing "S" is keeping everything safe. I can't find an extant firm called specifically Swift Security Systems, however, so its provenance remains a mystery. • Spotted: Borough High Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Swift Security Systems”, Southwark: 1970s band

“CalQuick”, Southwark: grungy nut

"CalQuick Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • Found in a crumbly Peckham arcade, this grungy old sounder features a splendid technical drawing-style monogram which resembles a wrench turning a nut. Unlike yesterday's firm, they managed to spell the word "Quick" right – then lost the plot with "Call".• Spotted: Station Way, Southwark, London, SE15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Camberwell and Peckham
“CalQuick”, Southwark: grungy nut

“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

"Sprint Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • If your burglar alarm goes off you need help fast, so it's not surprising that swiftness is a popular security theme. This superb vintage Sprint, which undoubtedly rang rather than beeping like a reversing lorry on steroids, is very similar to the Arlescourt sounder here. It's ideally placed above a matching shop selling some vintage sprinters of a different type, namely Italian scooters (see below). And even the logo looks like it's speeding. • Spotted: Clerkenwell Road, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_11728" align="alignnone" width="472"] A vintage Sprint alarm above some classic sprinters[/caption]
“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

"Vaico International" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • These hands look like they're literally trying to put the world to rights on this sadly leaning sounder. There' a picture of a more recent Vaico sounder here – hands still tightly cupping their proud globe of internationalness – and the 1997-founded firm's official website is here, though it doesn't offer any explanation of the cryptic name. Globes are a very popular theme, and one I'll return to soon. These are the last disembodied hands for now: tomorrow, alarms relating to swiftness. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

"SP" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Poignantly faded in true seaside style, this shows a pair of sensitively-painted disembodied hands, in the manner of a Latin American devotional retablo, cupping the anonymous initials "SP" between them. It's an old alarm, and a minimal name to search on: there are quite a few SP security firms on various business directories, but I can't find one from southern England, so presumably these caring hands are defunct. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

"Amega Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • These severed, supplicating hands look like they're worshipping rays of light, or catching a shower, but actually they're cradling a faded letter A. It belongs to Oxford-based Amega, a 25-year-old firm whose more recent boxes, featuring the same design, can be seen here. I've also come across handless sounders bearing the very similar name Amiga – as in the legendary 1980s computer – but I assume that's a completely different company. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

"Xtal" burglar alarm, Wandsworth • XTAL – what a brilliant sci-fi-sounding acronym, albeit unexplained. London's 01 area code only lasted until 1990, so unless Xtal's proprietor was deeply into avant-garde 1980s electronica, it's unlikely the firm's name was inspired by the eponymous track on Aphex Twin's 1992 debut album Selected Ambient Works 85–92. It's more likely both names refer to a different genre of electronica, namely a type of crystal oscillator sometimes notated as XTAL on electrical schematic diagrams. The term is now as deprecated is this ancient "baton" sounder's phone number, and I fear the once Wimbledon-based firm may be redundant too, for despite there being plenty of recent-looking Xtal sounders lurking around London, their website is nowhere to be found. • Spotted: Battersea Park Road, Wandsworth, London, SW11, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea
“Xtal”, Wandsworth: deprecated electronica

“Glo Bell”, Westminster: self-referential

"Glo Bell" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Sporting Edward Benguiat and Victor Caruso's ever-popular Bauhaus font from 1975, this is the only red "baton" sounder I've ever found. I've seen quite a few newer-style Glo Bell alarms around London, and though I can't find a website for them, the firm is apparently still active – good news, as I always like self-referential bell boxes featuring bells. • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Glo Bell”, Westminster: self-referential

“Jaguar Alarms London”, Wandsworth: holey cat

"Jaguar Alarms London" burglar alarm, Wandsworth • Presumably this minimalist and somewhat holed Jaguar is a vintage remnant of the Acton-based Jaguar Alarm Company featured here – a company later acquired by Ambush, as discussed in these comments. This so-called (by me) "baton" sounder is unusual for having a blue bulb, and the logo printed directly on to it – all the others I've found have red bulbs and labels. Riveting! • Spotted: Battersea High Street, Wandsworth, London, SE11, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Battersea
“Jaguar Alarms London”, Wandsworth: holey cat

“Anglia Property Guards”, Norwich: not Alan Partridge

"Anglia Property Guards" burglar alarm, Norwich • Strictly speaking this monogram reads AGP, rather than APG, although the G is pretty indecipherable. It's just as well they spelled the whole name out, or I might have thought it was a reference to Norwich's finest export, Alan Partridge, aha. It's such a vintage alarm I wasn't expecting the firm to exist any more, but they're still going strong – you can see their current sounder and more legible logo here. Coincidentally they're based in a place called Banham, which is of course the name of another long-lived burglar alarm firm. • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
“Anglia Property Guards”, Norwich: not Alan Partridge

“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

"OxLox Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Oxford • Today I start a brief run of what, until someone tells me their proper name, I can only call "baton" sounders – these long, slim, rather elegant boxes, with a flat circular bulb at the top. From the ancient phone numbers it's clear they are vintage, and they generally sport interesting graphics. This one, OxLox, is superb: it looks like a piece of art typography, or concrete poetry, and namechecks a bizarre anglo-jewish food combination – ox (as in ox cheek or ox tail) and lox (as in the cured salmon you get in bagels). In fact it's a clever play on "Oxford Locks", for an Oxfordshire firm that is no more. (Update: a commenter, below, says they do still exist but with a different phone number.) • Spotted: George Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

“Wychwood Security”, Cirencester: ex-wood

"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
“Wychwood Security”, Cirencester: ex-wood

“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

"Bushwood Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Named after both a bush and a wood, this is very botanical, in name if not design. At first I assumed it was titled after the Bushwood area of Leytonstone, near to Epping Forest – an enclave once described as a "hidden gem" by Time Out's property section. But web research suggests Bushwood were a Wandsworth firm who later changed their name to Barking Dog Security (not from Barking, ha ha), whose excellent dog-based sounder I've not featured yet. And now the URL www.bushwoodsecurity.co.uk leads to a sub-site of Crown Security Systems (the one I featured blurrily here), so maybe Crown bought out the original Bushwood. It's all very confusing. • Spotted: Berners Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

“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

“Oakpark Alarms”, Aylesbury: long-lived oak

"Oakpark Alarms" burglar alarm, Aylesbury • Another long-lived oak, Winslow-based Oakpark Alarms was founded in 1985. Although their website still wishes visitors a happy christmas 2010, one of the two tweets on their minimal Twitter page wishes the world a happy new 2012, so I guess they are still around (if not very good at updating web things). I was hoping Oakpark would turn out to be some leafy Buckinghamshire landmark – a historic park, or a posh golf club, say – but that appears not to be the case, so I guess it's just a random name. Their base of Winslow does have some burglar-related fame, however: it's the setting of Terence Rattigan's famous play "The Winslow Boy", based on the true story of an Edwardian naval cadet wrongly convicted of theft. • Spotted: Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Oakpark Alarms”, Aylesbury: long-lived oak

“Acorn Security Alarms”, Bristol: nutty bird

"Acorn Security Alarms" burglar alarm, Bristol • This Acorn was slightly easier to track down than yesterday's, but seems just as defunct. Originally a Gloucestershire firm, its URL www.acornsecurityalarms.co.uk now redirects to Swift Fire & Security, a national company founded in 1982 – which I haven't featured yet, despite it falling within the "arbitrary birds" category. So maybe the swift is a bird that eats nuts. • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Acorn Security Alarms”, Bristol: nutty bird

“Cox Security”, Beckenham: apple in Bowieland

"Cox Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Cox - it's an apple, geddit? To me, the logo also looks like a staring eye, which would make it a pun on "the apple of my eye" and thus also qualify it for the "vision" and "monograms" categories. I found a couple of Cox security firms on the internet: Cox Security Solutions Ltd near Milton Keynes, and the wonderfully-named CoxLocks in the Surrey area, which is nearer to Beckenham (which, pathetically, I always associate with David Bowie in his dress-wearing days). But neither has this logo, so it may be some completely different firm. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham [caption id="attachment_11506" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Left, David Bowie in Beckenham (and a dress); right, a cox apple"][/caption]
“Cox Security”, Beckenham: apple in Bowieland

“Beanacre Alarms”, Frome: rural old bean

"Beanacre Alarms" burglar alarm, Frome • Just what you'd expect to find in the rural West Country, Beanacre is an obviously botanical name, as it sounds like an acre you grow beans on. And sure enough, there is indeed a place in Wiltshire called Beanacre – which is where this elderly alarm emanated from, as this local business site attests. It's not the world's most exciting acre – that's a picture of it, below. • Spotted: Town centre, Frome, Somerset, BA11, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Somerton and Frome [caption id="attachment_11499" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Welcome to Beanacre. Please drive carefully."][/caption]
“Beanacre Alarms”, Frome: rural old bean

“Thorndon”, Newham: tenuous thorns

"Thorndon Chelmsford" burglar alarm, Newham • Yet another variation on thorns, admittedly rather tenuous – but it's a nice old Eurobell box, and I have to feature these things somewhere! Essex-based Thorndon were formed in 1982, an era this sounder probably dates from – but I've seen plenty of newer ones too. • Spotted: Cooks Road, Newham, London, E15, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Thorndon”, Newham: tenuous thorns

“Briar”, Cambridge: thorny proposition

"Briar" burglar alarm, Cambridge • Ah, Briar with its bonkers B logo – one of my favourites, here featured in its correct botanic context. Though as I've noted before, a rose or some thorns would be a more appropriate logo for this 1983-established Cambridge firm. • Spotted: Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of South Cambridgeshire
“Briar”, Cambridge: thorny proposition

“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Birkenhead • Another alarm named after the Arrowe area of Wirral, this is an earlier incarnation of yesterday's logo. That modern one was curving and wafty like a hot air diagram, in caring sharing hug-a-hoodie style. But this straight arrow harks back to a harsher, more forceful era – the kind of weapon to shoot an errant intruder stone dead. Nice! • Spotted: Shore Road area, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birkenhead
“Arrowe”, Birkenhead: sharp shooter

“Tetco”, Tower Hamlets: corporate thrust

"Tetco" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This thrusting, self-piercing arrow is either strangely phallic or reminiscent of a devil's tail. It has a late 1980s corporate feel: something Margaret Thatcher would have approved of on a BA plane's tailfin, or the door of a privatised BT phone box. Calling your company "something-co" is equally corporate, but a risky strategy: it can sound impressive if the image is good enough, but it can also look pathetic with a shonky design. This just about falls in the former camp, so I assumed Tetco was quite a big operation. However Google only throws up a Tetco Security Systems in Deal, Kent that exists solely on business directory sites (aka business graveyards), and another registered in Cheshire that appears equally inactive. So despite its professional image and name, this firm is presumably defunct. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Tetco”, Tower Hamlets: corporate thrust

“ESS”, Southwark: identifying arrows

"ESS" burglar alarm, Southwark • Blimey, there are a lot of security firms called ESS. There's the long-established Essex Security Services, who I've featured four times now. Then there's ESS (Electronic & Security Services) in Northern Ireland, and ESS-Security Ltd of Leeds. But the swirly arrows in this logo point to Electronic Security Solutions of County Durham, albeit a long way from their Darlington base. Which proves the value of logos: without those identifying arrows, and the fact that ESS also picture them on their website, I'd have had no way of knowing which of the four firms was behind this sounder. • Spotted: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“ESS”, Southwark: identifying arrows

“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

"APT" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • This has a logo of weird broken arrows which I can only assume refers to some kind of circuit diagram. Back in 2004, when I photographed this in Herne Bay, I later wandered past a junk shop which had the APT logo on its fascia. So, unless APT were combining security with a sideline in car boot sales, by that time they had either closed down or moved onwards and upwards. There's still an APT Security in Kent boasting 20 years of experience and a much smarter logo, so maybe it was the latter. • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

"Scamp Security Hull" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • One red arrow pointing in, three green arrows pointing out – perhaps representing a burglar being caught by three scamps. Let's face it, SCAMP is an odd acronym, but the Hull-based family firm still exists, so thanks to their website I know it stands for "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols". Or, in full, the double-secure "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols Security". Apparently the company was established in 1962 and changed its name to SCAMP Security in 1986, but what the original name was isn't mentioned. Doubtless it was shorter. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

“BAT Alarm”, Birmingham: exploding arrows

"BAT Alarm" burglar alarm, Birmingham • Robin – the Bat Alarm! Actually this belongs not to Batman but to Birmingham Alarm Technicians, whose square box was featured in the creatures theme here. My blurred shot of their delta sounder gets a showing in this arrows category thanks to – of course – its exploding arrows, which look a bit like a rotated version of the somewhat dubious "arrow cross" discussed yesterday• Spotted: Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, West Midlands, B18, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Birmingham Ladywood
“BAT Alarm”, Birmingham: exploding arrows

“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

"CTAC" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • The arrowhead is an ancient artefact, and an ancient symbol – examples of both have been found dating back to prehistoric times. And examples of both can be found on this burglar alarm, which was discovered above a Covent Garden restaurant, rather than the entrance to a cave. The red shapes look like actual arrowheads, of the type fired from a bow; while the blue ones are more symbolic, in the sense of indicating direction – though diverging arrows can have more sinister readings too, as I shall discuss tomorrow. What CTAC stands for is unknown – the company's website gives no clue, though it's does say it's a niche provider of high end security solutions, and a member of Westminster Group PLC. The attractive logo recalls a compass rose, so maybe one of the Cs stands for compass, and I bet AC is "access control". • Spotted: Bow Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

“Yale”, Tower Hamlets: humdrum wedge

"Yale" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Now come a few odd-shaped sounders for which I can't find the correct geometrical terms (because there probably aren't any). The hulking contraption above is the dummy box companion to Yale's round sounder here – though as I commented there, if that is a gleaming Gouda, this is a mere humdrum wedge of Cheddar. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Yale”, Tower Hamlets: humdrum wedge

“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

"Alarm Service Group" burglar alarm, Bristol • As I've never seen it used by anyone but Alarm Service Group, I must assume that this super-smart and beautifully-designed modernist sounder is proprietary to them, though they also use Eurobells. Or, I should say, once used: the firm doesn't exist any more, though there are still lots of their boxes around in Bristol, mainly in very good condition. I love the yellow-and-green colour scheme, the broad green strobe (if that's what it is) at the bottom, and the mysterious symbolism of the logo – part totalitarian throwback, part bow-tied chains. Whoever came up with this constructivist classic had a great eye for design. There's a photo of one below on a massive Soviet-style building in Bristol: a perfect match. • Spotted: Wine Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West [caption id="attachment_11029" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="A perfect match: Alarm Service Group's modernist sounder graces the Soviet-style Cafe Central in Quay Street, Bristol, 2011"][/caption]
“Alarm Service Group”, Bristol: constructivist classic

“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

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

“Banham Security”, Southwark”: silver-grilled

"Banham Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Before Banham developed their shield-shaped sounder they used all sorts of box styles, but this is the only shiny silver-grilled one I've found, and in fact the only example of this type of box I've ever seen. It's on an attractive old building in Bermondsey Street called the Time and Talents Settlement, home to a charity founded by local women in 1887 and still going strong today, offering locals "volunteering opportunities and numerous groups and projects to participate in". Maybe I'll go round and volunteer to run a burglar alarm-spotting course. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Banham Security”, Southwark”: silver-grilled

“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • This style of Response is much more common than yesterday's tricorder, and often has other firms' branding (the Response-branded version being a DIY alarm, I think). In its wavy curvaceousness, the case reminds me of nothing so much as a ladies' shaver. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Response alarms are always a convoluted shape, perhaps due to their solar panels. This old example looks like some piece of kit off Star Trek's USS Enterprise – a tricorder, perhaps – and is the only one of its kind I've ever seen. • Spotted: Cornwall Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

"Securicor Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • You only see this giant tupperware cheesebox – a shape that bears no relation to any other sounder – on old Securicor and Securicor Granley boxes. They're quite rare and often pretty worn, but apart from being skew-wiff, this one is in decent condition. Some variations have the logo on a printed label affixed to the raised flat panel, but this is the most deluxe version, with the whole logo in moulded 3D type. • Spotted: Clifton Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Securicor Granley”, Hackney: tupperware box

“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

"Cirencester Intruder Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • Another square oddity, which reminds me of a 1970s clock radio – I'm loving the big blue bulb. The name conjures up visions of American secret agents rampaging round deepest Gloucestershire (which they probably do). • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
“Cirencester Intruder Alarms”, Cirencester: oddity

“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

"Secom Carroll Security Communication Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • And my final Carroll for now, after being taken over by Secom – which happened in 1989, according to the comment here. This is before Secom had their current logo or weird plug boxes, but it's still an unusual shape – a wedgey square with double grilles on each side. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

"Carroll Security" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This must be an earlier version of yesterday's Carroll, as it looks like metal and they aren't yet a "Group". It's a more geometrical version of yesterday's logo, again professional, and surely designed in the 1970s. Once again it's an unusual sounder shape, this time like a badly-cult wedge of cheese. I used to think this was to fit the sloping roof, but I've seen others on flat walls since and they all have the same slanting box. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

"Carroll Security Group" burglar alarm, Camden • I featured one of these arched sounders a while back for Nu-Tron, but they're pretty unusual, although I was informed in this comment there's a cache of them around Lyme Regis. This is a good use of the shape, with a professional-looking logo that reads as an S, a C, and also a kind of Yin-Yang symbol (or possibly two entwined maggots). The firm's name is in the font Rockwell, which is very redolent of the 1970s, though this must date from later. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

"SYS" burglar alarm, Islington • An even deeper pocket than yesterday, decorated with a not-very-attractive unexplained acronym logo that's presumably meant to suggest "system". The firm's uninformative website is here and the actual sounder can be found here – this example is the only one I've come across in the flesh, so to speak. The logo is a reflected palindrome in the manner of Abba, ie it reads the same in both directions and is also physically reflected down the middle. Bizarrely, I do have an Abba alarm, which I shall post one day. • Spotted: Tollington Park, Islington, London, N4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

“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

“Micromark”, Great Missenden: 1960s sci-fi

"Micromark Security Systems" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • I've already featured Micromark in the retrofuturism section, and I now know they're a defunct DIY option – but I still like their unusual proprietary boxes, which are really 1960s sci-fi. There are quite a few yellow ones around, but this the only white-with-big-black-spot example I've seen. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Micromark”, Great Missenden: 1960s sci-fi

“MicroTec Security”, Milton Keynes: fancy-edged

"MicroTec Security" burglar alarm, Milton Keynes • Like yesterday's pointy-sided MicroTec, this newer box is a rarely-sighted fancy-edged shape – indeed the only example I've seen. It's duller and less recognisable than the older enclosure however, so it's good to see they've kept their striking retrofuturist logo. • Spotted: Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK9, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Milton Keynes North
“MicroTec Security”, Milton Keynes: fancy-edged

“Microtec Security”, Richmond: pointy-sided survivor

"Microtec Security" burglar alarm, Richmond upon Thames • This is quite a striking old pointy-sided sounder design which doesn't crop up very often, though I also featured a vertical one here. I know that 20-year-old MicroTec Security still exists, and with much the same logo, because I was driving behind one of their vans in central London the other day – although they're actually based in Farnborough, Hampshire. Their name also qualifies them for the recent "retrofuturism" category, due celebrating micro-ness and tec-ness. This is a triple whammy as it also uses computer-style "camel caps", where a capital letter is used to break up two strung-together words. • Spotted: Barnes High Street, Richmond upon Thames, London, SW13, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Richmond Park
“Microtec Security”, Richmond: pointy-sided survivor

“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

"Servian" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Regular polygons aren't that common, especially heptagons – the only other similar sounder I've featured is here. Hampshire-based Servian's sterile lozenge logo reminds me of pharmaceuticals packaging, but the name actually recalls ancient Rome's burglar alarm-appropriate Servian Wall, a massive defensive barrier made from blocks of volcanic rock, which repelled Hannibal amongst others. So strong was it that some of the 2,400-year-old edifice still stands today, with a large chunk next to Rome's main railway station.There's even a bit, apparently, in the station's McDonalds. • Spotted: Pont Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington Above: ancient Rome, showing the Servian wall in blue, and the later Aurelian wall in red, plus an impressive remnant of the Servian Wall next to Rome's Termini Station.
“Servian”, Chelsea: heptagonal defence structure

“Next Gen”, Hackney: shiny Trekkie plug

"Next Gen Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hackney • Half-way between the Secom and Ambush plugs, though with eight sides rather than six, this is another rarely-seen bell box shape that resembles a giant electrical plug. It would be quite attractive if the logo wasn't so basic, which is a waste of tasteful chrome. In its futuristicness, it can't help but conjure up Captain Picard and his chums from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In contrast, the Elstree-based firm's website has a brilliant stock photo of an old school "pantomime burglar" wearing black hat, gloves and goggles. Make it so! • Spotted: Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Next Gen”, Hackney: shiny Trekkie plug

“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

"Ambush Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This looks even more like a chunky British electrical plug than yesterday's Secom, and is the only example of this sounder shape I've ever come across. It's the only Ambush device I've found too: a quick Google shows they're an Uxbridge outfit that formed in 1998, and acquired Jaguar Alarm Company in 2005 (possibly this firm). The ancient tactic of ambush is a classic militia-style burglar alarm name, of the kind that started me writing this bonkers blog in the first place; in olden times, such a manoeuvre might have involved battalions of soldiers concealed behind a hilltop, but I imagine this firm's response is more modest. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Ambush”, Tower Hamlets: chunky UK plug

“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

"Secom" burglar alarm, Islington • And after yesterday's "rebadged" Secom, here's a very dirty example of the real thing, featuring the bland "UK plug" shape usually only seen on the Japanese conglomerate's sounders and thus presumably a proprietary design (though they do use rectangular boxes too). Sometimes these deltas have neat rectangular strobes on the base as here, and that's as exciting as it gets. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

“DDD Fire & Security”, Hackney: illuminated wedge

"DDD Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • Morphing onwards from the last few days' triangles and shields, this is a flat-bottomed wedge that lights up at night. They used to be pretty rare, hence featuring here in the "uncommon shapes" category, though I fear they are swiftly becoming popular (fear, because they're impossible to photograph well when illuminated). In purely visual terms, they look quite effective and I prefer them to the chunky faceted "jewel" shapes of the last decade or so; however when I featured one recently, it met with a certain amount of derision from the commenters. As for DDD Fire & Security, they're a large Coventry-based firm who were founded in 1968, but their website gives no clue to what the memorable triple D stands for – presumably not a bra size. I've come across various "3D" firms – one stood for "Defend, Deter, Detect" – so maybe it's a variant on that, without the unhelpful connotations of coming third. • Spotted: Hewett Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“DDD Fire & Security”, Hackney: illuminated wedge

“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

"ESS" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Here's a rarely-seen shape that's very similar to Banham's proprietary shield, but with the crucial difference of having its bottom lopped off. Although ESS is an unexplained acronym, l happen to know that this psychedelic soundwave design belongs to Essex Security Services, who seem to regularly update their logo and sounders – not to be confused with ESS (Electronic & Security Services) in Northern Ireland, or ESS-Security Ltd of Leeds. Not the most exclusive set of initials, clearly. • Spotted: Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

“Tara”, Kensington: venerable green shield

"Tara" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Yet another take on the triangle, this venerable shield classifies as "uncommon" because it's used only by divisions of Banham, who must have taken over Tara at some point (they used to have really boring rectangular boxes with a very basic logo). You see many Taras in Kensington & Chelsea, so I liked to imagine the firm was named after some posh filly (eg Palmer Tomkinson) rather then the Scouse for goodbye – this one was even found in Cheval (ie horse) Place. But as pointed out in this comment, the Hill of Tara is an important Irish Neolithic site that was the mythical seat of Ireland's high kings – hence perhaps the green logo, which I'm rather partial to. • Spotted: Cheval Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
“Tara”, Kensington: venerable green shield

“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

"Avon Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Avon calling: a modern take on the triangle, available with different-coloured surrounds. You don't see them that often, although it's a nice-looking design; however Avon have managed to take it downmarket with a basic, skew-wiff sticker. • Spotted: King Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

“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

“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Camden • A pentagonal rather than triangular Chubb – unusual! You normally only see this shape on Initial and Shorrock alarms, so I'm guessing that when Chubb took them over they retained a few legacy sounders. The screw in the C totally ruins the effect, unfortunately. • Spotted: Charlotte Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

“Bates Alarms”, Southwark: pocket psycho

"Bates Alarms" burglar alarm, Southwark • If yesterday's Friedland was a pouch, this is a jeans back pocket. I've found it billed as an obsolete Euro-Siren so I assume it's not proprietary, though it's a shape I've only seen used by Bates Alarms. Established in 1965, they describe themselves as London's oldest independent electronic security company; their awkward "ba" logo, which possibly dates from that era, also earns them a spot in the "naive monogram" category. It's a bit pathetic, but I always think of Norman Bates from Psycho when I spot one – not the most reassuring of associations. • Spotted: Webber Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Bates Alarms”, Southwark: pocket psycho

“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

"Wilkin Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ovals sounders aren't totally rare, but they're uncommon enough to include here as I've only found about four firms using them. All were this specific design, though one had a white rather than blue panel at the back. It's possibly an ellipse rather than an oval, but I don't have enough maths to understand what the difference is. I featured a virulent yellow guano-streaked Wilkin sounder here a while back – this is obviously a newer design. • Spotted: Wellington Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

“Young & Young”, Chelsea: shorn-off circle

"Young & Young" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Attempting to proceed logically through the uncommon shapes, yesterday's deep drum leads on to a nice silver box that's almost a circle, except for a bit shorn off the base. Whether there's a proper geometrical name for such a construct, I have no idea – "arc" doesn't sound right, so maybe it's a massive "segment". Whatever it's called, Young & Young are the only example of it I've come across on a sounder so far. • Spotted: Cadogan Street, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham
“Young & Young”, Chelsea: shorn-off circle

“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery

"Micromark Security Systems" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • I've included this splendid space-age case in the "retro-futurism" category because it's a top piece of 1960s-style sci-fi design, and Micro-Anything, like Anything-Tronic, conjures up the early days of integrated circuits (and yes, that does include Microsoft). I've seen quite a few of these around – they seem to be used by Micromark only – and they're always still in pristine condition. I'd assumed that this was because they were some high-end piece of kit, but having done an image search on Micromark, I've discovered they target the cheap DIY market, as explained in this Guardian article and on this spammy-looking Security System Guide. This and several other Micromark systems (none of which I've spotted in the wild) crop up listed on Amazon and various price comparison sites, but they generally seem to be unavailable, so I'll leave it to the experts to tell me more about this mysterious brand. Bizarrely, there's a YouTube video here of some lad setting up a Micromark alarm on his wardrobe – I doubt that his mother was impressed. • Spotted: Station Road, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery