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2007

Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

Bastion Security Systems "Bastion Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I love this Bastion logo – it was clearly designed specifically to fit on a Eurobell, and even has a full stop at the end. And for once the clear cap doesn't have a logo or circuit board beneath it. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

Protec Wells "Protec Wells" burglar alarm, Bristol • How charming, a logo in the form a steppy triangle. A typographic ziggurat, if you will. I think it refers to the tiny city of Wells, rather than claiming to protect water-harbouring holes in the ground. Although you never know in the West Country – things sometimes get a bit weird out that way, and they do have quite a lot of ancient wells. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Protec Wells, Bristol: ziggurat

AE, Marlborough: protected

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

Vocal Vale, Norwich: choral

Vocal Vale "Vocal Vale Great Yarmouth" burglar alarm, Norwich • Another classical music reference, with another double initial, and again found in Norwich - I wonder if it's related to yesterday's Sonata Security? Conjures up Welsh miners singing in a valley (or something). • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
Vocal Vale, Norwich: choral

Sonata Security, Norwich: tuneful

Sonata Security "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
Sonata Security, Norwich: tuneful

“Decorum”, Camden: genteel

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

“Simply Quality”, Camden: scrolled

Simply Quality Security Systems "Simply Quality Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • I love this – the utterly boasty claim "simply quality", with a faux woodcut of a ribbon-bound scroll of excellence. Being a sad old graphic designer, I actually recognise it as a bit of early 1990s computer clip-art, no doubt intended for graduation invitations. • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Simply Quality”, Camden: scrolled

“Management Security Services”, Lowestoft: twisted

Management Security Services "Management Security Services" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • It's a bit faded, but this MSS monogram is so tortuously twisted it looks like a piece of modern art. MSS also stands for "manuscript", as do the initials of Midland Security Systems, who I haven't featured yet (but will soon). • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Management Security Services”, Lowestoft: twisted

“AGE”, Great Missenden: slow response

AGE Security Aylesbury "AGE Security Aylesbury" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • Hope they didn't have to wait an age for a response, ha ha - lthough I think they will now, as I can find no evidence this firm is still trading. Presumably the initials actually stand for Aylesbury something-or-other. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“AGE”, Great Missenden: slow response

“24-7”, Great Missenden: sleepy

24-7 "24-7" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • Phew! A sounder that operates 24 hours a day as opposed to, say, just school hours. Unless this means 24 minus 7, which is 17 hours operation a day, allowing already-sleepy Great Missenden even more snores. Notable for being the first numbers-only logo featured, and a nice design even though it does remind me of a cooker timer. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“24-7”, Great Missenden: sleepy

“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: cop clamp

Town & Country "Town & Country" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • This is brilliant – a T and C made out of a clamp, looking like the opening titles for a 1970s cop show. Perhaps not strictly a monogram as it's part of a larger logo, but a top design anyway. The 1983-founded Town & Country's website shows they still boast the T&C clamp on everything from sounders to vans, now in resplendent 3D red. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham
“Town & Country”, Great Missenden: cop clamp

“TH White”, Marlborough: vintage brand

TH White "TH White" burglar alarm, Marlborough • In lieu of a white Christmas, here's a White burglar alarm. It bears a classic monogram of the kind popular in the 1920s or even earlier, and the name T.H White has a good old-fashioned ring to it too. So imagine my surprise when, researching this, I discovered that T.H. White Group is a £90m Wiltshire firm with a finger in pies ranging from agriculture to storage, not to mention burglar alarms. They even publish a company magazine! And they were founded in Devizes in 1832, so maybe their logo is even older than it looks. Hmm, this monogram theme is turning up some truly vintage brands. • Spotted: Town centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Devizes
“TH White”, Marlborough: vintage brand

“Roding”, Tower Hamlets: wasteland

"Roding Security Services" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Another river-cum-creek, the Roding weaves through Essex before reaching the Thames via Barking Creek and Creekmouth, crossing a strange industrial wasteland that's been the subject of both literature (Iain Sinclair's psychogeographic ramblings) and art (Jock McFadyen's vast bleak paintings). But what's that in comparison to being immortalised on a burglar alarm? • Spotted: Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Above: the River Roding, just before reaching the Thames at Barking
“Roding”, Tower Hamlets: wasteland

Ghost under “3D”, Lambeth: usurped

Ghost under "3D Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This faint ghost-shadow is pentagonal, which means it's either an occult symbol, or the final traces of a Shorrock. As for the usurping brand 3D, its initials are clearly meant to suggest three dimensions, but also have the less marketing-friendly meaning of "third". • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Ghost under “3D”, Lambeth: usurped

Ghost under “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: last gasp

Ghost under "ADT" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Now onto ghost alarms that have been cruelly obliterated by newer models. I reckon this round-cornered square can only be the last gasp of a tupperware box-shaped Securicor Granley (or one of its spin-offs). At least it got replaced with a sounder that matches. • Spotted: Coventry Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Ghost under “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: last gasp

Bank ghost alarms, Camden: redundant duo

Ghost burglar alarms (bank), Camden • These ex-sounders are on a Lloyds TSB, but banks haven't got any money so I guess they don't need alarms any more - and they used to have two of them! Unless one of them was some other form of electronic box. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Bank ghost alarms, Camden: redundant duo

Eyed ghost alarm, Camden: screwy peepers

Ghost burglar alarm (eyed), Camden • Nearly a year ago I featured some ex-burglar alarms, which as I explained at the time, come in two forms: ghosts, where they’ve been fully removed, leaving just a mark on the wall; and skeletons, where some casing remains. Then I focused on skeletons, so now I'm posting some ghosts. Some are more recognisable than others, as the only clue to their brand is the shape and a few screw-holes, which here look like eyes. The sounder was clearly round one, so a Thorn or an AFA Minerva perhaps. • Spotted: Finchley Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Eyed ghost alarm, Camden: screwy peepers

“Essex Security Services”, Tower Hamlets: not scimitars

"Essex Security Services" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Courtesy of Essex Security Services, already heavily featured on this blog, come what I at first thought were three scimitars – curved sabres good for slashing from horses, and much favoured in medieval Arabia. But as I am reliably informed by the firm's head honcho (see comments, below), they are in fact Seaxes: Germanic daggers from which the Essex-bound Saxons took their name, and which now feature in the Essex coat of arms. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Essex Security Services”, Tower Hamlets: not scimitars

“Broadsword Security”, Cirencester: battle-ready

"Broadsword Security Services" burglar alarm, Cirencester • This shows Broadsword's current identity - and rather brilliantly, there's an animated sword on their website. But if you'd prefer anti-burglar protection from an actual battle-ready broasdsword, you can buy one here (after all, the Tories reckon it's OK to stab burglars now). Or, if you're a bit too wet for that, there's a broadsword-handled umbrella here• Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds
“Broadsword Security”, Cirencester: battle-ready

“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

"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
“HSS Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: yeoman

“Guardwell Ltd”, Camden: self-explanatory

"Guardwell Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • A name that falls into the "does what it says on the can" category – I doubt there are any firms called Guardbad. Note also the nice retrofuturist "GW" monogram, suggesting a waveform in a circle. One from a motherlode I found in the Kilburn High Road several years ago – if I ever run out of burglar alarms all I have to do is pay another visit, as there must be enough dodgy old bell boxes above the shops there to last at least another year. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Guardwell Ltd”, Camden: self-explanatory

“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

"SOS Security Group" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Although I have a category called "1970s disco", that's for 1970s-looking typography. Whereas this old sounder shares a name with an actual 1970s disco group, The SOS Band – famed mainly for the classic "Just Be good to Me" (which is actually from the early 1980s). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall SOS Band. That's an SOS for the hair police.
“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

"Ace Security" burglar alarm, Islington • A 1970s disco logo for a 1970s non-disco group: Ace, a bunch of hairy be-flared musos notable mainly for the very successful single "How Long", which was top 20 in both the UK and the USA in 1974-5. • Spotted: Aylesbury Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Ace the one-hit-wonder group
“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

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

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

“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

“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

“Anglian”, Lowestoft: fish-fingery fellow

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

“Ambassador”, Tower Hamlets: final shield

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

“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

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

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

“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

“Longcross Security”, Bristol: scribble trees

"Longcross Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Yet more woodlands, this time in pictures rather than words. Longcross Security, founded 2001, is a big firm with a very corporate-looking website, so I guess the tree silhouettes are some branding agency's attempt at portraying longevity and stability – it's a very popular device. The firm's head office is in Ashstead, Surrey, so at least that's got part of a tree in its name. The species on the sounder all look different, but I'm not horticultural enough to know what types are represented, or if there's an ash present – maybe they're just "scribble" trees. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Longcross Security”, Bristol: scribble trees

“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

“Direct Site Services”, Bristol: proverbial V-sign

"Direct Site Services Ltd" burglar alarm, Bristol • Well, this arrow may be making the proverbial V-sign, but the logo is otherwise completely basic. I can't find any evidence that this firm still exists in an operational sense, though they're still listed at Companies House. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Direct Site Services”, Bristol: proverbial V-sign

“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

"Access Intruder Alarms Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Another swirly arrow, not as sophisticated as yesterday's, and with a design verging on the basic. Via Google I found a Southampton firm with the same phone number and a similar name and logo, but when I went to their website I found this:

About Access Intruder Systems. Content Coming Soon. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam non tortor purus, in ornare lacus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Morbi a nisl ipsum (etc etc in cod-Latin for quite some time). Call us today to arrange your FREE Survey.

So either they've not finished their website, they provide a bespoke service for Latin speakers, or they're not around any more. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11273" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Above: Access Intruder Systems' Latin-speaking website"][/caption]
“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

"Westronics Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Finally, another un-nameable shape, which is a bit like the body of a sea creature, or less imaginatively a razor. Maybe the ascendancy of these rounded, amorphous shapes over the chunky, straight-edged forms of yore is due to the advent of computer-aided 3D modelling, something achievable on a laptop today but requiring NASA-like processing power not so long ago. The Berkshire family firm behind this box has appropriately space-age roots, having been founded in 1969, year of the first moon landing. That era is reflected in their logo, which I think is a condensed version of Blippo, a font from 1969 based on Bauhaus supremo Herbert Bayer's influential "Universal Typeface" of the 1920s. I note that Westronics no longer uses this design of sounder, as demonstrated by the up-to-date deltas on their official website here. However it remains the only example of this shape I've come across, and I end with it because it also pictures the next theme, a weapon popular with ancient villains and security forces alike – the arrow. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

“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

“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

“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

“SAS”, Tower Hamlets: commandos on a spacecraft

"SAS Protection" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Finally, something that definitely is obsolete – NASA's recently-decommissioned Space Shuttle, the last of which, Atlantis (below), had its final flight in July 2011; the programme had been running since 1981, which is probably closer to the date of this sounder. What a Space Shuttle has got to do with the SAS, aka the British Army's crack Special Air Service corps, is anyone's guess. But if I was burgling a building and an immense orbital space vehicle bearing a payload of gun-toting, balaclava-clad commandos turned up, I'd definitely be a bit worried. • Spotted: Cambridge Heath Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow [caption id="attachment_10532" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="The last Space Shuttle, Atlantis, prepares to land – presumably not on a burglar"][/caption]
“SAS”, Tower Hamlets: commandos on a spacecraft

“Crown”, City of Westminster: top tropes

"Crown" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • To me, the fact that a pointy metal hat can represent ultimate power is a troubling reminder of the sheer randomness of human society, but it's not a philosophical point that unduly taxes burglar alarm proprietors, who flock to its received symbolism in droves. This crudely-printed example is a real winner: a crown that looks like it came in a cracker, over a black-letter font bearing the twin tropes of Merrie England and its evil World War II enemies the Nazis, both big-hitting themes in burglar alarm world (which bears more than a passing resemblance to life as portrayed on the History Channel). • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Crown”, City of Westminster: top tropes

“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

"Godbold & Co Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lowestoft • OK, so it's a bit tenuous for the Christian theme, but it does namecheck the "big daddy" in the sky. The picturesque surname Godbold dates back to medieval times, when "god" meant "good", and translates as "good brave", or "good dwelling" – both totally appropriate for a security device. God is good, indeed. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
“Godbold & Co”, Lowestoft: good God

Ex-alarm, Lowestoft: fish fingery

Ex-burglar alarm, Lowestoft • This run-down shopfront in isolated Lowestoft doubles as an alarm graveyard, with two mosaic-filled ghosts flanking a cream plastic skeleton. There are no clues to the latter's identity, its only text being an impressed arrow and the word "up". Lowestoft fact: Birds Eye fish fingers are made there, in a factory which casts its fish fingery smell over the whole town. • Spotted: Town centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Waveney
Ex-alarm, Lowestoft: fish fingery

“AC Leigh”, Norwich: 1970s Habitat chic

"AC Leigh (Security)" burglar alarms, Norwich • Oooh, retro – 1970s Habitat chic comes to Norwich, as modelled by a neat pair of vintage sounders in orange and cream on a stained beige background. I'm guessing the top one's for burglars, the bottom one for fires. • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
“AC Leigh”, Norwich: 1970s Habitat chic

“Sterling Security”, Southend-on-Sea: unpolished

"Sterling Security" burglar alarm, Southend-on-Sea • We've had three gem alarms, and now their perfect setting – three precious metals. First up is sterling, a term denoting silver hardened with a small amount of another metal, as pure silver is too soft to fashion into useful items. It's an ancient standard, one which has been regulated from Saxon times at least, and subject to an official assay mark since the 12th century. Add a heraldic lion – a very common burglar alarm trope that I'll cover further one day – and this Sterling sounder suggests an alloy of Britishness, quality, longevity and reliability. Just a pity it hasn't had a polish recently. • Spotted: Town centre, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Rochford and Southend East
“Sterling Security”, Southend-on-Sea: unpolished

“Metro Security Centre”, Tower Hamlets: wide eyed

"Metro Security Centre" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I'm probably reading too much into this design, but I see it as one immense red eye with a staring black pupil, hence its inclusion within the "vision" theme. Although that would only work on sounders of this specific almost-eye shape, and most firms use a variety of box styles over the years, so I'm probably wrong. • Spotted: Redchurch Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Metro Security Centre”, Tower Hamlets: wide eyed

“Octagon”, Marlborough: one-sided

"Octagon" burglar alarm, Marlborough • An abstract octagonal eye for a company called Octagon, in a circular sounder. I bet they'd have liked an octagonal one, but to my knowledge such things don't exist. (There's an eight-sided box as sported by the Next Gen alarm at top left here, but being irregular it looks nothing like a classic octagon.) • Spotted: Town centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Devizes
“Octagon”, Marlborough: one-sided

“Spy Alarms”, Westminster: sitting on fossils

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Here's a more recent iteration of the Spy design than yesterday's, a strange and decorative Egyptian-looking eye which is either crying, emitting rays, or has very effective mascara. It's sited on a strip of marble teeming with the fossils of ancient sea creatures – which is a lot more interesting than the burglar alarm, really. • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster Above: a better view of the fossil marble strip
“Spy Alarms”, Westminster: sitting on fossils

“Locktec Security Group”, Camden: yawning

"Locktec Security Group" burglar alarm, Camden • A while back I posted an ultra-boring Locktec alarm consisting of dull blue lettering, but if this is the same firm they seem to have reincarnated as a fierce, roaring lion. Or perhaps it's yawning – I certainly am, because I'm still on a deadline (and it's got nothing to do with burglar alarms). I quite like these rather rare curved hexagon boxes – sort of a new-fangled update on the classic Modern / ADT look. • Spotted: Kilburn High Road, Camden, London, NW6, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
“Locktec Security Group”, Camden: yawning

“Blue Circle”, Great Missenden: fox-cat-category

"Blue Circle" burglar alarm, Great Missenden • I really can't tell if this is a fox or a cat. Its pointy ears suggest the former, its posture the latter. However, since I already have a load of fox-based alarms, I am putting this firmly in the "cat" category (ha ha), of which it is currently the sole member (I'm talking domestic cats here – there are plenty of big cat alarms). Maybe it's one of those long-eared Abyssinian cats (pictured below), which are reputed to be the same kind depicted ancient Egyptian art. Though why it is trapped inside a Blue Circle logo – which I thought was a brand of cement – remains totally obscure. Perhaps one day the person responsible for this strange and rather Chinese-looking design will enlighten me. • Spotted: Town centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chesham and Amersham Above: a real Abyssinian cat (photo by Karin Langner-Bahmann)
“Blue Circle”, Great Missenden: fox-cat-category

“Colt”, Westminster: dark horse

"Colt Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, how to protect one's burglar alarm from a tsunami of avian arse emissions? One solution is a veil of pigeon netting, here enveloping a Colt alarm in such full-on burqua mode you can barely see it. A dark horse indeed, ha ha. • Spotted: Strutton Ground, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Colt”, Westminster: dark horse

“Securaplace Alarms”, Lambeth: graphics 101

"Securaplace Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This badly-drawn house appears to have a giant rapper's neck-chain dropped over it. Meanwhile the lettering breaks rule 101 of typography: don't use script fonts in all upper case. And definitely not vertically. All in all, not a triumph of graphic design. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Securaplace Alarms”, Lambeth: graphics 101

“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

"Eros Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • After a couple of sensible mythological burglar alarms, we're back to the bonkers ones. Eros? What on earth has Eros, Greek god of sexual love, got to do with security services? And anyway, this looks more like his boyish Roman counterpart Cupid, who was often portrayed as younger than the fully-formed teenage Eros. The resemblance to the Evening Standard's venerable logo makes me think this is a reference to the so-called Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus, that icon of tourist London. However, hard though it is to believe, what Wikipedia says about Alfred Gilbert's piece of high Victorian camp is true. I've double-checked, and the statue that stands surrounded by the horrible hurly burly of Piccadilly is not intended to be Eros, but his butterfly-winged twin brother Anteros, who was associated with selfless and requited love (although he sounds like a half-baked deity the Greeks made up to impress the Romans). For all its faults, this silly, cheeky alarm is one of my all-time favourites – so naughty Cupid has worked his mischievous magic. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Eros and his twin in London. Top left: "Eros Stringing His Bow", a Roman copy of a Greek statue at the British MuseumTop right: ''The Angel of Christian Charity'' aka "The Shaftesbury Memorial" (1893) by Alfred Gilbert at Picadilly Circus, colloquially known as the Eros statue, but actually depicting his selfless twin bro Anteros. Above: London's familiar Evening Standard "Eros" logo (recently dropped from their masthead), which depicts the Piccadilly Circus statue and is therefore actually Anteros.
“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

“Aegis”, Camden: magical fashion item

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

“Titan Alarms”, Cirencester: total defeat

"Titan Alarms" burglar alarm, Cirencester • These days "titanic" suggests immense, but in Greek mythology the Titans were a primordial race of super-deities, children of the supreme earth goddess Gaia. There was a soap opera's worth of them, with second-gen Atlas being the best-known today, but most remaining rather obscure. This was a result of the decade-long War of the Titans, in which they were comprehensively overthrown – both physically and reputationally – by a bunch of younger gods, the Zeus-led Olympians. The huge Giants, also children of Gaia, rebelled against the Olympians but lost; and later tales mixed up Giants and Titans, leading to the word's current connotations of size and strength. So, given that they suffered total, humiliating defeat and never recovered, being protected by a Titan may not be as useful as it sounds. • Spotted: Town centre, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cotswolds Above: the Titans being overthrown in "Fall of the Titans" (c.1637-8) by Peter Paul Rubens from the Musée Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
“Titan Alarms”, Cirencester: total defeat