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2011

Chubb, Bristol: triangularity

Chubb "Chubb" burglar alarm, Bristol • And here we have the ultimate in burglar alarm triangularity, the Chubb. I'm talking vintage Chubbs here, the kind with a sharp-edged metal box. and even a mini-triangle strobe on the top. It's a superb-looking design, but sadly  they tend to go a bit rusty... • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Chubb, Bristol: triangularity

Choice, Hackney: essay

Choice "Choice" burglar alarm, Hackney • Another triangle-circle combo, this time channelling the ever-popular pizza-cum-Pacman furrow. This one's more Pacman than pizza, and they've practically written an essay on it, in really tiny type. • Spotted: Charlotte Road, Hackney, London, EC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
Choice, Hackney: essay

Abel, York: label

“Abel” burglar alarm, York • Bit of a cheat, because this is just a triangular label. And it’s not even that triangular. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 […]
Abel, York: label

FSE, Camden: smiley

FSE "FSE" burglar alarm, Camden • I love this. Who knows what it stands for, but it resembles a fat clownish smiley face, using a classic 1970s "go-faster stripes" font Stop, by Aldo Novarese. In fact this sounder was probably designed in the rave-tastic 1990s, when such "go-faster" styles came back into vogue; there's a learned article about it here• Spotted: Gordon Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
FSE, Camden: smiley

Safeway Security, York: triangles

Safeway Security "Safeway Security" burglar alarm, York • Starting today: some examples of the very popular burglar alarm trope of triangles, often allied with monograms. This one's not to be confused with a certain supermarket. • Spotted: Burton Stone Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Safeway Security, York: triangles

Orion, York: multi-faceted

Orion "Orion" burglar alarm, York • Ah, the multi-faceted Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology who has lent his name to a region of the night sky, the Lunar Module used in the Apollo 16 mission, NASA's Space Shuttle replacement, a brace of space stations, and vast amounts of other scientific and astronomical things too. Not to mention a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Orion, York: multi-faceted

Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

Ades Burglar Alarm "Ades Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Bristol • I really like this weird old 1970s disco-style logo I found in Bristol, home of one squillion burglar alarm firms. It's probably meant to be soundwaves emanating from a bell, but looks more like a lot of crescent moons surrounding a planet, so I'm including it in the astronomy category too. The colour of the box may be significant: Ades is an unusual surname thought to derive from the Hebrew for "red". • Spotted: Gloucester Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Ades Burglar Alarm, Bristol: red moons

City Security Holdings, Bristol: wrinkled

City Security Holdings "City Security Holdings" burglar alarm, Bristol • I always thought this logo was a crescent moon, but have just realised it may also be half an eye and also a C monogram – multilayered! Sadly the labels on these City alarms haven't worn well, they all seem to end up wrinkled like this one. • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
City Security Holdings, Bristol: wrinkled

B.D. Security, Fulham: barking

BD ChelseaHarbour Hamm&Ful nr SW10 0XD 6118_800 "B.D. Security" burglar alarm, Hammersmith and Fulham • I have long been waiting to show this excellent cartoon logo, in which which I think B.D. stands for 'barking dog'. There weren't any guard dogs in earshot when I photographed it, though; maybe the firm is based in Barking. • Spotted: Chelsea Harbour, Hammersmith and Fulham, London, SW10, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chelsea and Fulham
B.D. Security, Fulham: barking

Blakeglow, Southwark: dolphin

Blakeglow BermondseySt nr SE1 3UB 50865_800 "Blakeglow" burglar alarm, Southwark • A contender for the least-convincing burglar alarm corporate identity award, this tiny peeling sticker looks like it was drawn in biro, and – bizarrely – features that noted guardian beast, a leaping dolphin. At least, that's what I think it is; the shape of its beak seems to rule out a killer whale. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Blakeglow, Southwark: dolphin

Plexnet, Bristol: computery

Plexnet Networking and Digital Technology "Plexnet Networking and Digital Technology" burglar alarm, Bristol • I have no idea what a plexnet is, but it sounds digital and computery, so I'm including it here. • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Plexnet, Bristol: computery

Amiga, Camden: picobyte

Amiga "Amiga" burglar alarm, Camden • Ancient home computer  alert – I seem to remember Amigas were popular with musicians in the early 1990s, because you could create a whole album using about one picobyte of memory. Thus adding relevance to the weird spotlight logo, which is probably meant to look like it's shining on burglars. • Spotted: Tavistock Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
Amiga, Camden: picobyte

Radius, Lambeth: chariot wheel

Radius "Radius" burglar alarm, Lambeth • In classical geometry, the radius of a circle or sphere is the length of a line segment from its center to its perimeter. The name comes from the Latin radius, meaning 'ray', but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. And it's also one of the two sub-elbow arm bones, so called because it rotates around the other one, the ulna. Thanks, Wikipedia! • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Radius, Lambeth: chariot wheel

RVTV Security, Chelsea: wibbly

RVTV Security "RVTV Security" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • More camera techiness, this time with  a TV-themed sounder. At least I assume the unexplained acronym refers to security TV: it's a pretty dull old logo, and the grey globe gives no clue at all. Unless it represents a giant bouncy ball that wibbles out and squashes you, like in The Prisoner. Now that would be a good burglar deterrent. • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
RVTV Security, Chelsea: wibbly

CMR Electrical, Bristol: tiny

CMR Electrical Telephone Bristol "CMR Electrical Telephone Bristol" burglar alarm, Bristol • A tiny, tiny old logo with a giant telephone number. It's too small to make out here, but the logo is a wee house surrounded by a giant chain and keys. • Spotted: Small Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
CMR Electrical, Bristol: tiny

London Electricity, Southwark: plug

London Electricity Security Systems "London Electricity Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • Now for a few electronic-themed sounders. You still see quite a few of these London Electricity alarms around, usually pretty faded. Though it remains a familiar logo (a plug made of L and E, geddit?), it's an old one – the firm actually became LEB in 1990. • Spotted: Tyers Gate, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
London Electricity, Southwark: plug

Securitech, Islington: football shirt

Securitech "Securitech" burglar alarm, Islington • Today we move from science to technology, one of burglar alarm land's favourite tropes. I really like this striking old design, which looks like a stripy football shirt. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
Securitech, Islington: football shirt

Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Prism "Prism" burglar alarm, Lambeth • A transparent object which refracts light, from ancient Greek prisma, meaning "something sawed". Also featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP, which this resembles. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Prism, Lambeth: refraction

AES, Lambeth: rocket

AES "AES" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Kind of a triangular stack going on here, like a rocket of initials with a blast of phone numbers beneath. Fanciful, moi? • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
AES, Lambeth: rocket

“Alarms 4 Scaffolding”, Camden: unlucky for some

Alarms 4 Scaffolding "Alarms 4 Scaffolding" burglar alarm, Camden • Can security firms only count up to four? This is the third to feature the number – which is considered extremely unlucky in China, where it signifies death. And it's the death of this numbers theme, because there's a new one tomorrow. • Spotted: Coptic Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Alarms 4 Scaffolding”, Camden: unlucky for some

“Adept”, Bath: understated

Adept Fire & Security Systems Ltd "Adept Fire & Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Bath • This logo with its strange pink spot suggests only borderline excellence, as adept is such an odd, understated word: the thesaurus offers flowery synonyms like adroit, accomplished, and dextrous. But it's more fun playing "antonym alarms", so my non-excellent doppelganger would simply be called "Inept fire and security". Which might not catch on. • Spotted: Miles's Buildings, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Adept”, Bath: understated

“Future”, Bath: timely

Future Security Systems "Future Security Systems" burglar alarm, Bath • So endeth two years of burglar alarms. But blub ye not (in the unlikely event that you were), because - amazingly, heroically, certifiably - I have at least another year's-worth to publish, though I won't always be writing "pithy" comments as in the past. And to usher in the new year, 2013's first theme is "Time", which I shall kick off with the, um, futuristic Future. Why? Well, 2013 sounds like a science fiction year, and also there's a big publishing company called Future based in Bath, where I found this sounder. So here's to the future. Cheers! • Spotted: Margaret's Buildings, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Future”, Bath: timely

“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

Hunter "Hunter" burglar alarm, Lambeth • What do hunters do? They shoot things. I rest my shooting-related case. Incidentally, I found this burglar alarm on the side of one of Damian Hirst's many studios, the one where teams of assistants used to make spot paintings for him. He's now had the entire road closed down (thanks, Dame, now I have to make a massive detour!) while the building is turned, at vast expense, into a swanky art gallery and restaurant. So the burglar alarm is no more. • Spotted: Newport Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

“Marksman”, Bristol: take aim

Marksman Security Ltd "Marksman Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Bristol • Today I start a brief and brutal run of shooting-related sounder designs, both deliberate and coincidental. The word "marksman" is a fairly unambiguous reference to firearms, as are the target-like soundwaves (if that's what they are)... so, take aim! • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Marksman”, Bristol: take aim

“Delta”, Hackney: creek

"Delta Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • According to useless Yahoo Answers, there are no river deltas in Britain, because there's not a vast enough area of flat land. But I've found one: the Wandle Delta. Admittedly it's just an forgotten little industrial creek off the Thames, but hey – we can't all be the Mississippi. In fact there are plans to smarten it up with posh housing, but I rather like how it looks now – must go and explore it before it's too late. Amazing the things you learn researching burglar alarms! • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Wandle Delta Tom Bolton 5502093622_235213cc86 Above: a great pic of the Wandle Delta by Tom Bolton – see more on Flickr here
“Delta”, Hackney: creek

“A1 Alarms”, Southwark: straight

"A1 Alarms" burglar alarm, Southwark • The A1, running from London to York and Edinburgh largely following a straight ancient Roman route, is famously the UK's longest numbered road. This company probably meant their name in the sense of "very good", but seeing as I've found examples of their sounders in both London and York, perhaps they did have the highway in mind too. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark Above: part of the very long A1
“A1 Alarms”, Southwark: straight

Ghost under “ASG Vision”, Bristol: anagrams

Ghost under "ASG Vision (on OS Resolution)" burglar alarm, Bristol • Triple acronym whammy: ADG on OSR on something that was a flat-ended oval. Maybe one of these also-Bristolian APS jobbies? In which case the total initials are ADGOSRAPS, whose anagrams include Rap Ass Dog, Spar as God and Drag Soaps. Wow, deep. • Spotted: Broad Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Ghost under “ASG Vision”, Bristol: anagrams

Ghost under “GC”, Chelsea: comeuppance

Ghost under "GC Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • And now mighty Chubb gets its comeuppance, with just two measly corners peeking out from beneath a somewhat less venerable brand (albeit one boasting soundwaves – always a good point). • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
Ghost under “GC”, Chelsea: comeuppance

“Arrow Security”, Chelsea: go faster

"Arrow Security" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • A very completist entry as I've already shown a similar Arrow Security sounder here. This one looks newer, and the arrow's more subtly shaded with thinner "go faster" stripes, and that's about it... • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington
“Arrow Security”, Chelsea: go faster

“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

"Homeguard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Derby • These guys look like toy soldiers, albeit with guns – and their bearskins look like bobbles. But, given the Queen only gets four Foot Guards outside her gaff, having three on the front of your house isn't bad going. • Spotted: Town centre, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Derby South
“Homeguard Security Systems”, Derby: bobble hats

“Sentry Alarms”, Rugby: old guard

"Sentry Alarms" burglar alarm, Rugby • So, after a brief musical interlude, we're back with the mega-militia theme, this time with sounders boasting guards and sentries. To kick things off in Rugby (ha ha), here's one I've already shown small as part of the "decay" theme, but it's ancient enough to be worth repeating close-up – I'm always a sucker for geographical phone codes. • Spotted: Gas Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Rugby
“Sentry Alarms”, Rugby: old guard

“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

"Black Box Security" burglar alarm, YorkBlack Box were a model-fronted Italian house music group famous for "Ride on Time", the UK's best-selling single of 1989. There was also a weird 90s group called Black Box Recorder, run by Luke Haines of cult indie band The Auteurs, but I prefer Italian House myself. • Spotted: Gillygate, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central Black Box non-security
“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

"Abba" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Oh yes, an ancient Abba alarm with soundwaves in the background. Named after a Swedish group formed in Stockholm in 1972, or possibly a north London electrical shop I ran across recently, also called Abba. • Spotted: Brayburne Avenue, Lambeth, London SW4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall The other Abba
“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

“Alarm Shop II”, Islington: where’s Shop 1?

"Alarm Shop II" burglar alarm, Islington • Now a very brief run of alarms named after shops. Not famous shops, like M&S or Tesco – just generic shops, as in Shop. This disco-tastic logo actually says Shop II, which is quite odd – I'm presuming it's pronounced Shop Two, as in Elizabeth Two, rather than Shop Eleven, as in a football team. But I've never found a Shop I. • Spotted: Packington Street, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Alarm Shop II”, Islington: where’s Shop 1?

“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

"New Century Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is a double whammy: a shield-within-shield logo. And not just that, but a gauntlet clutching a lightning bolt, a rampant lion, a window at night (I think), a repetition of their name, and what looks like the European stars. There's even another version with "21st" above the title, just in case you thought the new century was the 18th. Talk about covering all the bases. • Spotted: Surrey Street, Bristol, Avon, BS2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“New Century Security”, Bristol: double whammy

“WEC Alarms”, Nottingham: cheery acronym

"WEC Alarms" burglar alarm, Nottingham • An cheery yellow unexplained acronym livening up a nice green Georgian house, though not exactly "in keeping". The building is some kind of defunct costume museum, opposite Nottingham's stupid castle, so a shield seems appropriate. I learn from their website that WEC were established in 1981 as a subsidiary of Woodthorpe Electrical Contractors, who were formed in 1963 – hence the name. • Spotted: Castle Gate, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham South

“WEC Alarms”, Nottingham: cheery acronym

“Shivon”, Westminster: head-turner

"Shivon Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I wonder if this is pronounced like Siobhán? I'd never heard of this word but it does come up as a name on Google, usually for young women. According to the not-very-reliable online Urban Dictionary, Shivon means "a girl who can turn the head of any man" – a definition which I am sure this firm was not named after. Nice shield, anyway – three letter S shapes, geddit? • Spotted: Wellington Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Shivon”, Westminster: head-turner

“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

"Sentry" burglar alarm, Newham • So, you get the picture – I'm going to feature every single alarm I have with a shield on it, without much in the way of intelligent comment. That's because I've got a lot of shield alarms, but not much to say about them. • Spotted: Canal path nr Blaker Road, Newham, London, E15, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of West Ham
“Sentry”, Newham: no comment

“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

"Shield Security System" burglar alarm, Hackney • And still the crumpled old Shields keep on coming. This is a nice old vintage design, quite a few of which are still around. Maybe someone can tell me if this is the same company as the last two yellow Shields• Spotted: Kingsland Road, Hackney, London, E2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Shield Security System”, Hackney: crumpled

“Citadel”, York: Pooterish connection

"Citadel" burglar alarm, York • In the curiously timeless 1892 comic novel Diary of a Nobody, "my own citadel" was how Mr Pooter grandiosely described his home, a modest Victorian villa constantly rattled by passing trains. Not so different from where I found this, then: and if burglar alarms been invented in his day, Mr Pooter would definitely have had one. • Spotted: Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Citadel”, York: Pooterish connection

“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

"Baymont Alarms York" burglar alarm, York • At last, a portcullis attached to an actual, realistic building: a bit of York's ancient city walls, no doubt, or some local fortress. I thought Baymont sounded like a place, but it doesn't seem to be, so maybe it's someone's name. • Spotted: Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

"Allied Security" burglar alarm, Southwark • Like Safeguard Alarms, another shield / fortress / portcullis combo, with a name that earns it honorary inclusion in the WWII category too. I guess this is a pretty old sounder, as it looks really faded, but Allied Security is still going strong. • Spotted: Bermondsey Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Allied Security”, Southwark: faded fortress

“Britannia”, Southwark: patriotic lion

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

“Aztec Solutions”, Bristol: surely a Roman?

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

“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

"Citadel Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • The ghostly guardian on this is so worn out he looks like a marauding mummy or a giant robot (reproduced small), but the name Citadel suggests it's a Roman soldier. And the sounder's nearly as ancient as its source matter. • Spotted: Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Citadel”, Southwark: ghostly guardian

“Britannia”, Westminster: Roman invader

"Britannia" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • You'd think invasion was a bad subject for burglar alarms – let alone for a country – but both Britain and security firms seem to revel in our colonisation by Rome. Thus there are quite a few alarms on a "Romans in Britain" theme – or, as this one more accurately puts it, in Britannia. I prefer Britannia's older two designs, here, assuming it's the same firm. But thankfully they've retained the Union Jack (or Union Flag, as we're boringly supposed to call it these days), and are to be applauded for depicting only the fourth woman I've come across on a sounder. However Boadicea might have been better, as she at least tried to keep the Romans at bay.• Spotted: Strand, City of Wetminster, London, WC2, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Britannia”, Westminster: Roman invader

“Knight Security Systems”, Islington: noble pun

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

“Senator Security”, Camden: enduring title

"Senator Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Passing from ancient Rome to modern America, Senator is the most enduring political title of all time. Perhaps that's why this burglar alarm is marked, unusually, with a rather fierce-looking cross – to indicate a vote of confidence. • Spotted: Verulam Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Senator Security”, Camden: enduring title

“Cromwell Security”, Camden: headless dictator

"Cromwell Security" burglar alarm, Camden • As a UK bigwig, Cromwell was one of a republican kind, dispensing briefly with the monarchy and ruling as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. Of course, royalty swiftly returned – rather successfully, as we are seeing this weekend – and, though he had died peacefully, three years later parliament had Cromwell dug up and beheaded. Since then the warty head led a colourful life of its own, being sold on from chancer to chancer, finally ending up buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where Ollie had studied. All of which makes Cromwell a rather odd subject for a burglar alarm; but, despite being essentially a military dictator, he still ranks high in popularity polls of historical Britons. There's even a steam train named after him! • Spotted: Millman Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_12250" align="alignnone" width="472"] What Oliver Cromwell really looked like (painting by Samuel Cooper)[/caption]
“Cromwell Security”, Camden: headless dictator

“Baron Security”, Islington: ball shortage

"Baron Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Baron Security of Epping sounds like the kind of dodgy title an unsuspecting American would buy over the internet. Barons are entitled to be called "lord", but it's actually a rather lowly rank, being bottom of the five rungs of the peerage. And in this case even the coronet is dubious: it should have six silver balls around it, like the one pictured below – I reckon the Baron flogged them on Ebay. Of course, I jest. Baron is a surname as well as a title, so that's more likely the origin of 1985-founded Baron Security's name. I still prefer to think of this firm as being owned by a rampaging, serf-baiting, coronet-pawning Essex aristocrat, though.• Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury [caption id="attachment_12237" align="alignnone" width="472"] A baron's coronet, showing four of its regulation six balls[/caption]
“Baron Security”, Islington: ball shortage

“Swift Security Systems”, Southwark: 1970s band

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

“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

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

“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

"Holt Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This striking stylised hand looks like it's had the fingers chopped off in a nasty door-trapping incident, though it also recalls the shape of a house, and (coincidentally) the cute "grabber" icon that moves things around on Mac computers. The firm is presumably the long-established West Sussex family business whose website is here, though there's no matching logo on the site. I think we can safely assume it's not run by reggae legend John Holt, who sang my favourite anti-work song of all time, "Mr Big Boss" – you can hear it here. Totally off burglar alarm topic, but on my more usual subject of art, Holt also sang the sublime "Riding for a Fall", with which Tracey Emin soundtracked the eponymous film of herself trotting defiantly around Margate beach at sunset on a donkey. Sounds stupid, but the quavering fairground classic lent it considerable poignancy. So as well as having a messy bed, Emin's got great taste in music, despite including "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" in her Desert Island Discs. • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11709" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Scenes from Tracey Emin's "Riding for a Fall", 1998 – basically the artist trotting around on Margate beach to the strains of John Holt's eponymous classic. Sadly there's not a copy of the video to be found on the internet, as artists are very hot on copyright."][/caption]
“Holt Security Systems”, Lambeth: hand-house

“Acorn Security Alarms”, Bristol: nutty bird

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

“Acorn”, Nottingham: nuts no more

"Acorn" burglar alarm, Nottingham • This Acorn drove me nuts researching it. I assume it is the same as the squirrel-adorned Acorn Security Systems here, as the nut is the same. But there are endless security firms called Acorn, most of which seem to be defunct, or at least without websites, and none with the number above. But via the magic of phone codes and Google, I was able to discover that 0602 is a Nottingham area code which in 1995 was replaced with 0115, giving Robin Hood's city eight million (count 'em) phone numbers. A search on the updated version, 0115 927 1632, led me to Acorn Security Systems of Nottingham, who were definitely the purveyors of this sounder, as the number is basically same. A company check reveals they were dissolved in 2001, hence the lack of a web trail. You still see absolutely loads of these sounders around the East Midlands area, so they were obviously a successful firm once – maybe they reached security nirvana, and sold out to ADT. And if you like prowling on Google street view, there's still a fading signboard on their ex-premises here (also shown below). Truly, the internet is eroding our privacy. • Spotted: Castle Gate, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Nottingham South [googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=Alpha+House,+Belgrave+Road,+Nottingham,+United+Kingdom&aq=0&oq=Alpha+house&sll=53.00306,-1.195965&sspn=0.016477,0.045447&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Alpha+House,+Belgrave+Rd,+Nottingham+NG6+8HN,+United+Kingdom&t=m&layer=c&cbll=53.002783,-1.203596&panoid=nGteR8F2JEnZhF3QwT5QFw&cbp=13,179.84,,2,-2.01&ll=52.998166,-1.203604&spn=0.01622,0.040512&z=14&output=svembed&w=472&h=314]
“Acorn”, Nottingham: nuts no more

“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

"Thorn" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Speaking of thorns, as I was yesterday, here's the real thing – a red rose of a sounder sporting the modernist white spike of Thorn electronics. It's one of several variations on the red drum that have existed over the years, in this case notable for not mentioning either Minerva or EMI – see the comment here for the most comprehensive round-up so far. • Spotted: Hatfields, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

"Cactus Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Kent-based Cactus Security specialise in construction sites, so you see a lot of their alarms on scaffolded buidings. The message is clear: you really wouldn't want to scale a structure bristling with piercing spikes. And maybe there's a nod to the wild west in their logo, too... not that I'm suggesting the building industry is inhabited by cowboys. • Spotted: Southampton Place, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Cactus Security”, Camden: piercing spikes

“Direct Security”, Hackney: nice old arrow

"Direct Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • This is a nice old arrow logo – it doesn't even bother with "01" on the phone number. I found it on a defunct tyre shop, which was encrusted with Direct's devices – I also snapped an even older version, which I'll wheel out one day. I wonder if this Direct has any connection with the boring Direct Site Services sounder I featured a few days ago? • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington
“Direct Security”, Hackney: nice old arrow

“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

"Len Gunstone Bath" burglar alarm, Bath • Three arrows in one – or perhaps an arrow piercing a triangular rock – for Len Gunstone of Bath, whose sounder is taking a bath in Gay Street (no chortling at the back there). Oh, I've just realised – it's also a naive monogram comprised of a very angular "L" (outer black triangle) and "G" (inner yellow triangle), with an arrow in the centre. Clever – but unreadable. Googling Len Gunstone throws up a 2012 website for a firm called BSA, aka Bath Security Alarms, whose logo is a cube inexplicably emerging from (or dropping into) a hole. Not one I've come across yet in the plastic. • Spotted: Gay Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Len Gunstone”, Bath: three arrows in one

“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

"Hoffman Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I've already featured a white Hoffman box here, when I compared its arrow logo to the Dad's Army credits. But the symbol also has more ancient origins: the central four-armed cross is a heraldic mark called the cross barbee, also known as the arrow cross, denoting movement in all directions. In the 1930s it was adopted by the Hungarian fascists, and has since become associated with extremist right wing groups such as the American Nationalist movement. The logo bears an even stronger resemblance to the eight-pointed "Symbol of Chaos" (definitely not something needed on a burglar alarm), a design first doodled  the early 1960s by the writer Michael Moorcock in for his Elric of Melniboné stories and later taken up by role playing games, comic books, heavy metal groups and the like. All connotations which were totally unknown to Hoffman, I'm sure, who in fact based this logo on the joystick controls of a CCTV system. • Spotted: Brixton Road, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood [caption id="attachment_11252" align="alignnone" width="472"] Left, the cross barbee or arrow cross; right, the "symbol of chaos"[/caption]
“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos