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2010

“Amco”, Camden: military badge

"Amco" burglar alarm, Camden • I suppose AMCO stands for Alarm Monitoring Co. But what of the Harry Potterish legend "Superna petamus", which doesn't, as the petals in the middle would suggest, mean "always flowering"? Well, the slightly different "Superna Petimus" means "We seek higher things", and is the motto of RAF Cranwell, where RAF officers are trained. This spelling, I think, means "let us seek higher things", and though AMCO's logo doesn't look like RAF Cranwell's coat of arms, it does resemble a British military badge. So endeth a super-category started several weeks ago, namely militia. And now, as Monty Python famously said, for something completely different... • Spotted: Goodge Place, Camden, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Amco”, Camden: military badge

Sheba Alarms”, Southwark: non-rottweiller

"Sheba Alarms" burglar alarm, Southwark • I used to live in a really tough part of London where everyone had rottweilers, and they were all – depending on if they were boys or girls – called Tyson or Sheba. The dogs, that is. However this is a lion, and Sheba was a biblical land (probably Yemen), so either this is a lion of the desert, or the designer thought it was a mutt. • Spotted: Dolben Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Sheba Alarms”, Southwark: non-rottweiller

“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

“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

“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

“Nexus Security”, Tower Hamlets: connected

"Nexus Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I quote from the University of Wikipedia: "Nexus is a connection, usually where multiple elements meet, as for example spokes at a hub, originally from a Latin verb meaning 'connect, bind'." Despite its classical origins, the word is kind of sci-fi sounding, which is why it's also been used in everything from Bladerunner to World of Warcraft. I don't know what connection that has to a shield with a crusader-style crucifix on it. • Spotted: Wrexham Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Nexus Security”, Tower Hamlets: connected

“Scotshield”, Glasgow: patriotic

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

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: glum

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

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: twingo bingo

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

“LanGuard Alarms”, Brighton: deja vu

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

“Honeywell Shield”, Tower Hamlets: bee-like

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

“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

“Krypto Security”, Newham: swept away

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, Newham • Mr Krypto, your fortified portcullis is of no use here – it didn't keep out the Olympics, which have now swamped Marshgate Lane where I found you, sweeping you and your equally faded sounder brethren away on a tide of G4S-"protected" new-build. • Spotted: Marshgate Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Krypto Security”, Newham: swept away

“National Security”, Tower Hamlets: lock ’em all up

"National Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Oooer, this is a bit foreboding: a tall, harshly-lit tower casting the menacing shadow of a portcullis. Punningly, it's in Tower Hamlets – and it's national, too! Lock 'em all up, that's what I say. • Spotted: Brushfield Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“National Security”, Tower Hamlets: lock ’em all up

“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Islington • I've already featured Security Centres twice in the lightning category, but I'm a sucker for decaying sounders, so here they are again with a very rusty portcullis. There's a slightly complicated history discussed in the comments here, regarding a 1980s UK company called Security Centres, who presumably installed this alarm, and also the vintage one here. They were then acquired by Modern Alarms, after which some ex-employees founded a Welsh firm called Security Centres (GB) using the same portcullis logo, as featured here, and are still going strong. Shows how popular the portcullis is! • Spotted: Wharfdale Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Security Centres”, Islington: complicated history

“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

“Associated Security”, Tower Hamlets: maybe a fence

"Associated Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I question the mechanics of this portcullis, as although (unlike the last two examples) it has supports, the palings appear to be strung out on wire. So maybe it isn't a portcullis at all, but some kind of electrified fence. Redolent of the prison camp, or maybe just a fold-away bed, it to me suggests the sculptures of Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum. I know that's reading too much into it... but cut me some slack, there's only so much you can say about clip-art portcullises. • Spotted: Leyden Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Associated Security”, Tower Hamlets: maybe a fence

Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

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

“Crusader Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: noble mein

"Crusader Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Again, I think we can assume that this fellow's a knight . Security firms wouldn't settle for any old hoi polloi on their sounders, and he's wearing a crowny thing, plus looks of noble mein – a suave smirk and one eyebrow raised, like the James Bond (played by Roger Moore) of crusading. • Spotted: Toynbee Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Crusader Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: noble mein

“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

“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

“P-Tech Alarm”, Beckenham: tick-plus-tech

"P-Tech Alarm" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Another tick-plus-tech combo, echoing yesterday's InTech, though I would guess the "P" stands for something prosaic like Paul, rather than a scientific term. Interesting University of Wikipedia fact: although the tick (or check mark as Americans call it) suggests rightness and verification in some cultures, in others – including Scandinavia and Japan – it means exactly the opposite, ie error or wrong. So tick-based logos would not work internationally, though as its lack of web findability suggests P-Tech is probably defunct, it won't be a problem for them. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham
“P-Tech Alarm”, Beckenham: tick-plus-tech

“Pizza Express”, Camden: pizza mind

"Pizza Express" burglar alarm, Camden • Even if the burglar alarm engineer moves slowly you'll get a meal pretty fast with this company. I'm rather impressed that Pizza Express have had customised sounders printed up for all their branches, and in posh-looking silver (well, chrome, or plastic or something) too. Not many firms do that. Pity you can see the unpainted patch behind it where they had a presumably non-pizza-branded sounder before. • Spotted: Parkway, Camden, London, NW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Pizza Express”, Camden: pizza mind

“Alarmfast”, Glasgow: Caledonian sail

"Alarmfast" burglar alarm, Glasgow • Here's a more recent version of yesterday's self-explanatory "fast" alarm. They've moved to the unusual tupperware box-style shape I featured here, and pruned their weird logo to simply the spindly triangle, which now looks like a hang glider sail, or perhaps an arrow. The red sandstone wall behind it shows this is from Glasgow: Alarmfast sounders are all over the place there, as befits a 20-year-old Caledonian firm. • Spotted: Merchant City area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“Alarmfast”, Glasgow: Caledonian sail

“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

“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

"Shef-Guard" burglar alarm, Sheffield • More giant house-caring hands: this pair is either cradling a family home or crushing Noah's ark. The local geographical reference in the name is nice – suggesting it's specifically the citizens of Sheffield whom long-established Shef-Guard have been shielding for the last 25 years. • Spotted: Norfolk Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

"Sensormatic" burglar alarm, Hackney • We've had a few threatening hands, and now here's a technical one. I'll give Sensormatic the benefit of the doubt, and assume that the crosshairs refer to some form of sensing equipment, rather than the ability to shoot pilferers through the hand. • Spotted: Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Sensormatic”, Hackney: pilfering fingers

“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

"Challenger Security Products" burglar alarm, Brighton • More heraldic gauntlet than hand, on a medieval coat of arms this striking fist would have symbolised strength, power, and loyalty. On a modern burglar alarm, it looks rather like the logo for a tiny authoritarian state – and seems to promise the strong-arm tactic of a punch somewhere sensitive. • Spotted: Arundel Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Challenger”, Brighton: strong-arm tactics

“Woodside”, Westminster: bosky cops

"Woodside" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is a classic of what I think of as "police" design – alarms with blue-and-white graphics recalling, whether intentionally or not, the corporate identity of the UK's constabulary; in this case, the checks that adorn their cars and hatbands. It is at odds with the bucolic name of Woodside, perhaps chosen because this Finchley-based firm is surrounded by so many woods. No, I never associated Margaret Thatcher's old manor with woodlands either – but look on Google maps and you'll see Big Wood, Little Wood, Cherry Tree Wood, Highgate Wood, Queen's Wood and Coldfall Wood all in the vicinity. Who knew Finchley was so bosky? • Spotted: Horseferry Road, City of Westminster, London, SW1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Woodside”, Westminster: bosky cops

“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

“Oakland Security”, Beckenham: protective tree

"Oakland Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • From burglar alarm acorns grow security system oaks, and unlike the defunct nut-based companies of the last two days, Horsham-based Oakland Security Systems, founded in 1995, is still going strong. I just learned an interesting oak fact on Wikipedia: the reason window blinds often have acorn-shaped pulls is because having an acorn on your windowsill is meant to protect against lightning. Not for any scientific reason, but because in ancient Norse myth, Thor sheltered from a thunderstorm under an oak tree. Which was pretty stupid of him, really – and I thought he was meant to be the thunder god anyway. But maybe that extrapolates to acorns and oaks being seen as protective on burglar alarms – it's certainly quite a popular motif. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham
“Oakland Security”, Beckenham: protective tree

“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

“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

“Ace Security”, St Albans: unlucky clover

"Ace Security" burglar alarm, St Albans • There are loads of firms called Ace: this particular Ace Security is a family firm based in Bedford, whose three-leafed clover is certainly unlucky for the burglar. OK, so it's meant to be an ace of clubs, not a plant: but historically the suit of clubs was also known as clovers or flowers, and is believed to originate from the German suit of acorns, so it's botanical enough. As for luckiness, you'll only find one four-leafed clover for every 10,000 three-lobed specimens plucked, so they're definitely rare. But not as rare as the 56-leaved example allegedly discovered in Japan in 2009 – something to do with nuclear contamination, perhaps. • Spotted: Town centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of St Albans
“Ace Security”, St Albans: unlucky clover

“Saffron Security”, Cambridge: posh spice

"Saffron Security" burglar alarm, Cambridge • I love this – it's so genteel, right down to the pink wall. It looks like an illustration from a Victorian seed catalogue, just what you'd expect to find in learned Cambridge. I'm surprised they don't call it by its Latin name (which is Crocus sativus). Saffron is the rarest spice in the world: 90 per cent comes from Iran, but since medieval times the UK has produced small amounts too. It was first cultivated in Cambridgeshire, and nearby Saffron Walden in Essex became so wealthy trading the crop that it was named after it. Saffron Security trades from Saffron Walden too – hence its fragrant, tasty name. • Spotted: Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of South Cambridgeshire
“Saffron Security”, Cambridge: posh spice

“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

"Cherry Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Plant-based imagery is surprisingly popular with security firms, so this week's theme is botanical alarms – that is, sounders featuring fruit, flowers and trees. And what better way to kick off than with this juicy pair of cherries – an image so loaded with fruity connotations that I'm simply not going there. Instead I'll just note that the sounder is the same unusual design as the ESS box featured here, and that Cherry's website features more flashing emergency lights than the Old Kent Road on a Saturday night. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

"Sharp Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • A big bold tabloid-style arrow from Sharp – albeit a trifle faded, and on what I think is a rather despised sounder amongst the burglar alarm cognoscenti. I like it, although it would be equally at home pointing to a car boot sale. The 20-year-old firm of Sharp Alarm Systems still exists, now with an even more tabloid-looking red, black and white design and some of those delta boxes that light up at night. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Sharp Alarm Systems”, Derby: big bold pointer

“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

"Arrowe Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • Although illustrated with an arrow, Cheshire firm Arrowe is not mis-spelled – its name refers to Arrowe Park and Hall in Wirral, an estate founded by Liverpudlian slave trader John Shaw, and later bought by cleaning products magnate Lord Leverhulme. These days the the park is owned by the local authority, the hall is a private care home, and the name is immortalised on a burglar alarm. From slaves to soapsuds to sounders: so goes the modern world. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Arrowe”, Derby: soapsuds to sounders

“SecureAlot”, Hackney: greetings from Spamalot

"SecureAlot" burglar alarm, Hackney • These aren't quite arrows – more like half arrows or lances, which suits a name that sounds like a comedy knight from Monty Python's Spamalot. Sir Securealot the Bonkers Burglar Alarm, perhaps – mates with Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot and Sir Bedevere The Strangely Flatulent. The firm's website has lots of phone numbers but no HQ address, so maybe they do indeed hail from Camelot. • Spotted: Mehetabel Road, Hackney, London, E9, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“SecureAlot”, Hackney: greetings from Spamalot

“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

"Pointer" burglar alarm, Derby • I've already featured a couple of Pointers, but this is by far the most recent – and the only example of this slightly "pocketty" shape of sounder I've ever come across. I still like the cute mutt logo, now in a smart silver roundel. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Pointer”, Derby: pocket dog

“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

“Saturn”, Brighton: heptagonal planet

"Saturn Security Systems" burglar alarm, Brighton • The same heptagonal box as yesterday, but with different strobes – it's the only one I've ever found like this, and I always like a sounder with a planet on it. Google threw up a few Saturn Securities, but none were this firm – I finally tracked them down on an old business directory, but the listed website has disappeared so presumably the company has too. Those screws are a bit rusty, so it certainly can't have been opened for a while. • Spotted: Bristol Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Saturn”, Brighton: heptagonal planet

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Friedland”, Newham: solar-powered pouch

"Friedland" burglar alarm, Newham • I can only describe this as a "pouch". It looks a bit like a paper shredder, but I think the grille on top is a solar panel. Web research shows that Friedland is a division of Honeywell, whose name occasionally crops up on vintage alarms, and who still boast the same logo. • Spotted: Marshgate Lane, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Friedland”, Newham: solar-powered pouch

“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

"Evolution (Electronic Security Systems) Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I'm being pedantic here, but unlike yesterday's alarm this isn't quite an oval (or ellipse), because the ends are a bit squared off – so it may be a "squoval", a stupid term for a squared-off oval which possibly exists only in the mind of a Wikipedia editor. Whatever, this Evolution box is the sole example of this particular design I've come across, so it's definitely uncommon. The racy phone number, 07000 EVOLUTION, makes it sound like you can ring up and jump forward a gene pool or two – amazing to think that Darwin's "dangerous idea" has now become so commonplace you can even find it on burglar alarms. • Spotted: Little Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

“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

“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

"First Choice" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, time for a rather large new category: uncommon shapes. By that I mean sounder covers in shapes that don't crop up that often, either through general unpopularity, or because they're the preserve of one particular firm. Circular sounders aren't rare, but this particular design – a deep cylinder with semi-notched sides – I've only seen used by First Choice, perhaps to match their yin-yang logo. Unsuited as a Buddhist peace symbol may seem to the business of felon-fighting, it's not the only example I've found on a burglar alarm, though the other one may have been a "political statement" as I found it in a radical part of Bristol – I'll publish it one day. • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

"Robot" burglar alarm, Islington • Technically, robots are still futuristic, but there's something so insane about the idea of a 1980s-looking mechanised burglar apprehension device that this Robot sounder definitely belongs in the "retro-futurism" category. I've spotted a couple in the North London area, but googling Robot Security draws a blank, so presumably the firm is no longer of this world. For real robotic security, you could try the useless-looking droid below, which theoretically chucks a net over potential intruders but looks less effective than a hoover. • Spotted: Hemingford Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury [caption id="attachment_10526" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="The hoover-like T-34, a not-very-threatening Japanese security droid"][/caption]
“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

“Disc”, Glasgow: sounder with a built-in CD

"Disc Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • This is one for the retro-futurism archives – a weird and wonderful bell box with a mini-CD in the centre (not quite obsolete, but hardly futuristic), and a faux-computer font as discussed in the Micro entry. Photos on the Caledonian firm's website suggest the CD comes to life when the sun shines (cue crap Scottish weather jokes), refracting a shimmering rainbow of hues – though if they wanted to be truly retro-trendy, they'd need a steampunk vinyl burglar alarm like the 1939 Burgot example below. The Disc here is proudly protecting the Glasgow Police Museum, which explores the history of the UK’s first police force – namely, the City of Glasgow Police – and apparently contains Europe's largest collection of police uniforms. Nice to know they still need a burglar alarm, though. • Spotted: Bell Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central The Police Museum in Glasgow with its Disc burglar alarm-cum-CD Burgot burglar alarm with vinyl disc, 1939, from the Science Museum, London
“Disc”, Glasgow: sounder with a built-in CD

“Monarch”, Lambeth: dribbly digital throwback

"Monarch Security Services" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I started the royalty theme with a Monarch, so I'll end with one. I don't know if this is the same firm, and as it's long pre-internet I can't find out, but it's the most sorry example of a regal alarm so far – faded and dribbly and with a design that makes no reference to the lofty name. Instead, it's in a style that's come to be known as "retro-futurism", that is to say designs which were originally an attempt to look futuristic but now look poignantly dated – like this alarm's imitation seven-segment LED font, recalling the days when pocket calculators cost 200 quid. With renewed interest in film cameras, vinyl records and 8-bit video games, retro-futurism is much in vogue these days. I'd hate to see burglar alarms left out of a fashion craze, so coming next... retro-futurism! • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Monarch”, Lambeth: dribbly digital throwback

“Crown Securities”, Stoke: save the Wedgwood!

"Crown Securities" burglar alarm, Stoke-On-Trent • My excuse for this one being blurred is that it was high up on a horrible pub and I just snapped it while I was scurrying past, feeling slightly beleaguered. For, contrary to what it says beneath the only remotely accurate rendition of a non-panto crown I've come across so far, there are no securities in Stoke. At least I was lucky enough to see the fantastic Wedgwood Museum while I was up there, something which should belong to the nation, but whose collection is about to be sold off due to (simplistically) Robert Maxwell's pension fund rapacity, a poorly-drafted law, and some naive financial management by the museum's trustees. Which is tragic and disgraceful, as the Wedgwood Museum is one of the few uplifting and tourist-enticing things in what is, with no disrespect intended, a pretty grim and depleted area. There's a campaign to save the Wedgwood here: it isn't a very good website unfortunately, but anyone concerned about our future heritage should try and wade their way through its templates and send a letter to the relevant MPs it suggests. There's also a billionaire white knight in the offing – Phones4u founder John Caudwell, who grew up in Stoke – but it shouldn't have come to this. Hmmm, Jan 7th and already off topic... and I said I wasn't going to write much this year! • Spotted: Hanley town centre, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Stoke on Trent Central
“Crown Securities”, Stoke: save the Wedgwood!

“Kings”, Hackney: what about queens?

"Kings" burglar alarm, Hackney • Not just one, but many monarchs share the crown to this security firm. The name also ties into Christmas 2011's Christian (or, if you want to be pedantic, Judaeo-Christian) theme, due to its no doubt inadvertent reference to the Book of Kings – which does not return the compliment by mentioning burglar alarms. More prosaically, the owner is probably a Mr Kings – or, if he's bad at punctuation, Mr King – a surname which, like so many in the UK, originates from a medieval nickname, this time for one of kingly demeanour. It may be common on burglar alarms simply because, despite its regal pretensions, it's a common name; but it also handily illustrates the ego-puffing old saw that an Englishman's home is his castle, with each regally branded burglar alarm suggesting that the security-conscious homeowner is, in essence, a little monarch. Which is leaves a gap in the market for bell boxes aimed at socially-aspirant women, because I've never come across any labelled Queen. • Spotted: Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Kings”, Hackney: what about queens?

“King Security”, Sheffield: Jason King, that is

"King Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Only a small crown for this bell box, whose design recalls a kind of 1960s retro-grooviness, or possibly cheap frozen food packaging. It somehow makes me think of hirsute '70s TV detective Jason King: that's him, down below. • Spotted: Wicker, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Above: Peter Wyngarde, plus inadvisable facial hair, as Jason King. Calm down, ladies!
“King Security”, Sheffield: Jason King, that is

“Granley”, Tower Hamlets: short and sweet

"Granley Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • A very nice old Granley, with the kind of short and sweet (and therefore memorable) phone number we can only dream about nowadays, where BIS stands for for Bishopsgate in the City of London. To see more vintage alarms with three-letter phone codes, check out my Flickr gallery here – the photos were mainly curated from a Flickr pool called ONE TEL LET, featuring all sorts of objects bearing old-style exchange codes. It's full of fascinating photos (for those of a nerdy bent, anyway), and I recommend a look. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Granley”, Tower Hamlets: short and sweet

“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

"Summa" burglar alarm, Aylesbury • There's a learned Christian reference here, possibly unintentional: the Summa Theologica, aka the Summa, was a major religious tract by 13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, hugely influential despite being unfinished. In it, he attempted to sum up all of Christian theology to that date, and present five infallible arguments for the existence of God. In broader terms, Summa could refer to a summary of anything; but the mountain-like triangle suggests it is meant in its Latin sense, "summit". Unless it's a weird masonic symbol representing the Holy Trinity, which I very much doubt. • Spotted: Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Aylesbury
“Summa”, Aylesbury: theological treatise

“Hewes”, Newham: Jesus fish

"Hewes Security" burglar alarm, Newham • The branding of 40-year-old Essex-based firm Hewes includes an unambiguous "ichthys"  symbol, based on a Greek acronym early Christians used to recognise each other. Also known as the "Jesus Fish", its incorporation into logos is more common in the super-religious US, where enthusiastic use by fundamentalists and creationists has spawned a slew of parodies, such as a Darwin Fish, with legs; and a Trek Fish, which resembles the Starship Enterprise. In the UK, the sign is less controversial; in my experience, it's most often seen on the bumper of aged Nissan cars being erratically driven by hat-wearing folk, no doubt on the premise that Jesus will save them. • Spotted: High Street, Newham, London, E15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham Above: alternate bumper stickers – a Darwin Fish, left; and a Trek Fish, right.
“Hewes”, Newham: Jesus fish

Ex-alarm, Southwark: rusty remnant

Ex-burglar alarm, Southwark • Good news: this rusty old bell box remnant is the last "skeleton alarm" for now. The age and long, narrow shape suggest to me it may have been a Brocks, of which there are others in the area. Or perhaps it was a fire alarm? I await expert advice. • Spotted: Price's Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Ex-alarm, Southwark: rusty remnant

Ex-alarm, Southwark: skeletons and ghosts

Ex-burglar alarm, Southwark • Ex-burglar alarms come in two forms: ghosts, where they've gone completely, leaving just a patch on the wall; and skeletons, where some of the casing remains. For the next five days I'm going to focus on the latter – and maybe some of the experts out there will be able to discern what model they were when intact (not that it will mean much to me). First up, a very anonymous metal backing plate from an office building in Southwark, with no identifying features other than random holes. • Spotted: King's Bench Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Ex-alarm, Southwark: skeletons and ghosts

“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

"C&H Alarms" and nameless burglar alarm, Sheffield • Finally, not exactly a multiple, but such a nice pairing it looks deliberate – a fancy new C&H sounder on a charming pink wall, showing up its plain-faced companion on dowdy unpainted bricks, united by the curlicued Myrtles plaque, hovering like some protective Victorian auntie. (I'm wasted here – I should be writing hackneyed romantic fiction, not burglar alarm descriptions.) I found them near Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, on an enforced tour of various football grounds – always fertile ground for burglar alarms too, fortunately. • Spotted: Parkside Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

"ADT" burglar alarms, Hackney • I spotted these above an art gallery (Hoxton Square's full of them), and though not quite as impressive as the Design Museum's "Daisy" ADTs, it still looks a bit like a crappy art installation. To put it in art-speak, there's a poignant narrative tension in the way the lower ADT has been eternally blocked from joining its elevated companion by the Cyberman-esque piping snuggling round its head. And there's a cubist element in the repeated angles reminiscent of Paul Noble's Nobson Newtown, an immense pencil-drawn metropolis of everyday turd-folk presented in isometric projection (I'm not making this up) ... surely a contender for the Turner Prize next year. OK, that's enough spurious justification of a boring shot of two ADT burglar alarms. • Spotted: Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

“Alpha”, Manchester: flying ducks

"Alpha" burglar alarms, Manchester • The graphic designer in me enjoys seeing things neatly aligned, and these two random Alphas don't comply, looking like flying ducks missing a third bird. Fledgling burglar alarm engineers should take note: compare them with the preceeding carefully-considered compositions and see how much more pleasing sounders look when placed with architectural precision. • Spotted: Little Peter Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Alpha”, Manchester: flying ducks

“Stevens Security”, St Albans: wrath of Zeus

"Stevens Security" burglar alarm, St Albans • Finally, the most emphatic and recent lightning strike of all, suggesting that if you tangle with Stevens Security, you'll make not just Steven but the mighty Zeus very, very cross. You'd certainly feel it if this hefty black arrow of a thunderbolt pierced you – but not for long. Tomorrow: multiples. • Spotted: Town centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of St Albans
“Stevens Security”, St Albans: wrath of Zeus

“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

"Chloride Granley" burglar alarm, Hackney • I've featured this brilliant vintage sounder before, but only really small, as part of a wider decaying tableau. If you look closely there's a lightning flash in the "O" of "Chloride", which is then repeated as the large jagged circle in the middle. It's unusual in being stencilled, and is the only one of its kind I've ever found, though unadorned Granley boxes are still fairly common. Decades ago Chloride – who I associate with car batteries – must have taken over Granley, and instead of stickering on a new logo as is the norm, they used a stencil so you can still see the old design underneath: a palimpsest, if you will. I'd be interested to know more about either firm, if any of the security pros out there can enlighten me. • Spotted: Leonard Street, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Chloride Granley”, Hackney: palimpsest

“Intervene Security Ltd”, Tower Hamlets: lightning field

"Intervene Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • A piece of Land art I have always wanted to see is Walter de Maria's The Lightning Field (1977), a square kilometre of remote New Mexico desert bristling with 400 steel poles, designed to channel both occasional lightning storms and the sun's daily passage. But since it's around 5,000 miles away, and you have to pay $250 to stay there overnight (and aren't even allowed to take photos), I shall have to make do instead with a few burglar alarms bearing lightning flashes, aka thunderbolts. Once popular, it's rather a low-tech symbol these days, so is found mainly on vintage sounders such as this one. Note to completists: I've already featured a few thunderbolts – on Aegis, EnrightHaven and X Ray – in other categories. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Intervene Security Ltd”, Tower Hamlets: lightning field

“MECE”, Camden: see me

"MECE" burglar alarm, Camden • Assuming this firm isn't run by an ecstasy-chugging rapper called MC EE, the logo is intended to read "me see" – geddit? – and is thus, like yesterday's iC, a "backronym". What the letters actually stand for isn't indicated on MECE's website, though I did learn that it's a huge 18-year-old company with offices across Europe, and loads of major clients including Eurotunnel, Cambridge University and the 2012 Olympics. Which makes it odd that I've only ever come across a couple of their sounders. • Spotted: Store Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“MECE”, Camden: see me

“IC Integrated Security Ltd”, Southwark: backronym

"IC Integrated Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Southwark • To end this vision theme, a few examples of punning abbreviations, where the characters stand for entire words or syllables. While broadly acronyms, these seem to be a grey area in the English language, with no precise term for the multifarious kinds of letter-play available, though in an extensive entry, fascinating to those of a sub-editorial bent, Wikipedia suggests "initialism" as a catch-all term. I suspect this is what they would cutely sub-class a "backronym" – "one deliberately designed to be especially apt for the thing being named" – as Integrated Security happily reduces to iC, reading as "I see", or even "eye see". Had the designer dotted the "i" with an eye, this would have created enough levels of punning to end the universe. It possibly did end the company, because their website was last updated in 2009. • Spotted: Old Jamaica Road, Southwark, London, SE16, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“IC Integrated Security Ltd”, Southwark: backronym

“CamWatch”, Sheffield: prayer pomegranate

"CamWatch" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ah, the modern world – up until now eyes have been watching from the vision-themed burglar alarms, but today it's a camera. However, there may be observation from a higher power still, for this is situated on Sheffield's Old Synagogue, a striking Victorian Gothic building rearing up from a narrow side-street near the cathedral. My photo of the frontage (below) doesn't really do it justice; it's carved with Hebrew inscriptions and topped with a stone pomegranate, whose 613 seeds represent the number of laws in the first five books of the Bible. By the 1950s it had become a warehouse for the woollen trade and later a hairdressing supplier, and is now restored as office space. There's a bit more info about its warehouse days half way down this rambling discussion thread, and an article on Sheffield's symbolically carved buildings – including the pomegranate – here. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“CamWatch”, Sheffield: prayer pomegranate

“ExtraWatch Security Systems”, Islington: which witch

"ExtraWatch Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • From the land of Arsenal and Old Labour (by which I mean long-serving MP Jeremy Corbyn, not ex-resident Tony Blair) comes this mouldering, faded and defunct-looking item bearing the colours of both; draw from that what parallels you will. So bleached is it that at first I thought it said Extra Witch, which sounds much more interesting and conjures up (ha ha) images of a bevy of broomstick-riding harridans swooping down upon Islington's cowering malefactors. Including, hopefully, Tony Blair. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“ExtraWatch Security Systems”, Islington: which witch

“Raysil”, Southwark: snorey update

"Raysil Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Southwark • Here we have a more recent and less faded version of yesterday's Raysil alarm, sporting the same dodgy design on a lovely new hexagonal box. In other words, a snorey update included for the sake of completeness. • Spotted: Farnham Place, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Raysil”, Southwark: snorey update

“Crism”, Sheffield: concrete poetry

"Crism" burglar alarm, Sheffield • A piece of concrete poetry, no less. I haven't got a subscription to the OED (never thought a burglar alarm blog would necessitate one), so can't check if it's a real word – but I suspect it isn't. And even if it was, in Scrabble it would only get you a weedy 9 points. To continue the poetry theme, the only rhymes are "prism" (from which it is doubtless derived) and "schism", so it's probably pronounced "Krizzum", though I'm not stalkerish enough to ring them and see how they say it when they answer the phone. I guessed it was a firm run by someone called Chris M, and checking their website find this is indeed the case. Which would surely be "ChrisM" (note the upper-case M, and being one letter away from "Christ"), but perhaps that's a bit too avant-garde, even for Sheffield. • Spotted: Campo Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Crism”, Sheffield: concrete poetry

“Securidor”, Islington: bilious egg

"Securidor Total Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • A pun on Securi-door, presumably, in a font by famous graphic designer Neville Brody (an unlikely hit with burglar alarm designers), above a bilious, badly-drawn eye that looks more like half a fried egg. It's nice to know Securidor offer total (as opposed to what – partial?) security, but the nit-picking grammar police will be on their tail for that wrongly-spaced phone code – it should be 020 8 blah blah blah. • Spotted: Wedmore Gardens, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Securidor”, Islington: bilious egg

“Image Security”, Westminster: unattracive pupil

"Image Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Continuing the theme of abstract eyes is this more literal – and far less distinguished – take on the "red warning eye" as featured by Barry Bros yesterday. Note the red strobe, which is far more common than the unusual green one featured a few days ago on this Spy alarm. • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Image Security”, Westminster: unattracive pupil

“Spy Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: giant mascara

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • My final Spy alarm is the only example of this logo I've found – which I reckon is a more recent design than yesterday's, though the eye still sports giant mascara. The green strobe at the bottom is unusual (most seem to be blue), and was presumably chosen to match the lettering. • Spotted: Fairfield Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Spy Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: giant mascara

“Spy Alarms”, Lewisham: not cyclops

"Spy Alarms" burglar alarm, Lewisham • Why do all these designs only have one eye? Here's another cyclops, the Masonic-looking Spy, on a sounder so old it's got an 081 London number. Actually, I've just noticed there's another little eye in the "P", so it's not a cyclops after all; but it's still really weird. • Spotted: Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London, SE13, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Lewisham Deptford
“Spy Alarms”, Lewisham: not cyclops

“Enright Security”, Southwark: futuristic

"Enright Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • I've already shown a small version of this as part of a decaying duo on an old laundry, so here it is in close-up: a superb vintage sounder with a sci-fi eye pierced by a lightning flash. Mike Hardesty, whose company it was, explains in his interesting comments here that the firm was started in 1976, named after his partner Eddy Enright, and sold to Lander Alarms in 1982. The logo was meant to represent an electronic eye, and was designed by a customer from his previous company who was "a bit of an arty person". I bet he never thought it would turn up on a futuristic invention called "the internet" over 30 years later. • Spotted: Pages Walk, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Enright Security”, Southwark: futuristic

“Permanex”, Kensington: grumpy raptor

"Permanex" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • My final hawkish bird represents Permanex, whose name has nothing to do with avians. Therefore there's no clue as to what species this grumpy raptor is, but I'm guessing the scruffy fellow's a kestrel. Permanex specialise in guarding scaffolding, and I'm coming across their alarms with increasing frequency; it's surprising there are still so many large building projects going on in this horrible financial climate, but that's London for you. • Spotted: Cheval Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
“Permanex”, Kensington: grumpy raptor