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2012

Brick ghost alarm, Camden: clean patch

Ghost burglar alarm (brick), Camden • While not as rare as yesterday's pentagon, the sharp-cornered hexagon is still a giveaway shape, most likely to have once been beneath an ADT sounder or, if older, a Modern Alarm (not that I've featured any hexagonal examples of those yet). This box must have been there quite some time to leave such a clean patch, so maybe it was indeed a Modern. • Spotted: Gayton Road, Camden, London, NW3, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn
Brick ghost alarm, Camden: clean patch

“Claymore Security”, Edinburgh: great sword

"Claymore Security" burglar alarm, Edinburgh • I wrongly guessed yesterday's sword was a scimitar, when in fact it was a Saxon Seax. Fortunately there's no chance of getting this one wrong, as it's written on the sounder: it's the Scottish Claymore or "great sword", much used in clan warfare and recognisable by the forward-sloping arms of its handle. The firm behind the weapon is a long-standing Scottish outfit – you can find their website here. • Spotted: Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh East
“Claymore Security”, Edinburgh: great sword

“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

"Smiths Security Services" burglar alarm, Oxford • I love the idea of The Smiths running a security firm – it's pure Stella Street. Imagine calling up the engineer about a faulty alarm, only to find floppy-haired poetry-spouting miserablist Morrissey turning up on your doorstep, clad in a giant blouse and waving a bunch of droopy gladioli. Well, it amuses me, anyway. • Spotted: Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Miserablist burglar alarm engineers The Smiths
“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

“Slade Protection”, Westminster: glam rock

"Slade Protection" burglar alarm, City of WestminsterSlade! The mighty Slade! Every one of whom would make a thoroughly convincing glam rock burglar alarm engineer, with Noddy Holder as the affable Victorian-style gaffer. And their sounders would play "Cum on Feel the Noize". • Spotted: Great Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster The mighty Slade
“Slade Protection”, Westminster: glam rock

“Monitored Shop”, Westminster: posh spot

"Monitored Shop" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I guess this does what it says on the can – it monitors the shop. It was found, in contrast yesterday's grot-spot inhabitant, beneath some very posh shopfront mouldings (albeit just on a Thai restaurant) – see below. • Spotted: Great Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Monitored Shop”, Westminster: posh spot

“Alarm Shop II” and “BST”, Camden: fighting labels

"Alarm Shop II" and "British Security Technologies" burglar alarm, Camden • Another mysterious Alarm Shop II logo, this time fighting with a BST logo. Both look like transparent labels, and it's impossible to tell which was there first. It was found in a rather picturesque grot-niche in Leather Lane – that's it, below. • Spotted: Leather Lane, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Alarm Shop II” and “BST”, Camden: fighting labels

“Dragon” burglar alarm, Bath: Welsh magic

"Dragon" burglar alarm, Bath • Some Taffs crossed river to Bristol, it seems, and deposited their red dragon there. Dating back to at least 829 AD, "Y Ddraig Goch" still features on the Welsh flag today, though by Tudor times the poor thing was also supporting the English crown's coat of arms. Reminds me of an old children's song: "Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea..." (blubs uncontrollably). • Spotted: Milsom Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath
“Dragon” burglar alarm, Bath: Welsh magic

“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

"Berkeley Guard" burglar alarm, Oxford • Berkeley has connotations of something really rich, doesn't it? Like a hedge fund, or a property portfolio. So I looked up Berkeley Guard on the internet, and lo and behold, the company was "founded in 1982 by Julian Berkeley, second son of Sir Lennox Berkeley, musician and composer" – proving yet again that there are quite a lot of Sirs in burglar alarm land, even if only peripherally. Incidentally, Julian's brother Michael presents the Sunday morning show Private Passions (a kind of upmarket an upmarket Desert Island Discs) on Radio 3 – so a posh burglar alarm indeed. • Spotted: Queen Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Berkeley Guard”, Oxford: well posh

“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

"Bristol & West Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • The name looks and sounds as if it's a building society (the old fashioned non-hedge fund sort) – so maybe it was. Under Photoshop enhancement, the faded carbuncle above the name (below) resembles a Russian criminal tattoo. Phenomenally complex, it incorporates two unicorns, a massive old ship on a shield (shades of old Westward TV logo), crossed human arms clutching scales of justice and a snake (law v burglar v, geddit?), and the legend Quality in Service. They don't make 'em like that any more. • Spotted: Baldwin Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Bristol & West Security”, Bristol: criminal tattoo

“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

"Shield Burglar Alarm" burglar alarm, Camden • So now I move from the fortification of buildings to the fortification of humans, with the huge burglar alarm category of shields. This sounder does (or rather, did) what it says on the can. There's a side view below for the real "spotters" out there. • Spotted: Bleeding Heart Yard, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Shield Burglar Alarm”, Camden: personal fortification

“Independent Security Contracts”, Islington: encrusted

"Independent Security Contracts Ltd" burglar alarm, Islington • Another embattled shield, encrusted with names: "Security ISC 24 Independent Contractors Ltd" if read in an attempt at logical order. While googling around to find out what this kind of shield represents in heraldry, I learnt the much more interesting fact that Sir Paul McCartney has a totally bonkers coat of arms, which incorporates an abstract guitar – it took him years to get it designed. The tenuous link with ISC is that it's in roughly the same colours. Um, well gold and black v yellow and dark green – I said it was tenuous. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Independent Security Contracts”, Islington: encrusted

“Securi-Guard”, Fowey: slimy shield

"Securi-Guard" burglar alarm, Fowey • So, now we move on to fortifications on shields, combining the popular tropes of militia and aristocracy. It's amazing the label in question is still attached, because this wins the prize for the slimiest burglar alarm I've ever found. It's on a wave-lashed quayside building in Fowey, Cornwall, famed for being a) hard to say (it's pronounced "foy", to rhyme with "toy") and b) where the novelist Daphne du Maurier lived. She wrote eerie, suspenseful stories such as The Birds, Jamaica Inn and Don't Look Now (all since made into scary films), so perhaps there's a giant pecky bird or stabby red-coated dwarf lurking behind that castellated wall. • Spotted: Town Quay, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Securi-Guard”, Fowey: slimy shield

“Rampart”, Oxford: battlement, surely?

"Rampart" burglar alarm, Oxford • This is more like it, a Rampart showing actual ramparts. Although to be pedantic about it, these look more like battlements or crenellations (aka the blocky bits on the top of castles through which to shoot arrows) whereas ramparts are defensive walls. This looks like quite a recent burglar alarm, but I can't find Rampart on the internet except on business listing sites – usually a sign that a firm doesn't trade any more. • Spotted: Park End Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Rampart”, Oxford: battlement, surely?

“Soundandsafe.com”, Westminster: Martello tower

"Soundandsafe.com" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This 2002-founded firm is most unusual in having a URL for a name – and that definitely is their name, as it's the same on their website. Dotcoms don't seem to have much to do with olde worlde turrets, but it's a nice logo anyway, like a marooned Martello tower floating in a sea of dark blue plastic. And I bet it lights up at night. • Spotted: Wells Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Soundandsafe.com”, Westminster: Martello tower

“Castle Security” burglar alarm: Caledonian Camelot

"Castle Security Group Ltd" burglar alarm • A proud flag-flying Caledonian Camelot with 1970s disco lettering, though the mound it's on looks more suited to a sandcastle. This must be a big firm north of the border, as I saw variations on this bell box design all over Edinburgh. (Visits website helpfully trailed on alarm.) Yes, they've been "securing East Central Scotland since 1981", and the website is a veritable playground of animations and sound effects – I had minutes of fun running my cursor up and down the menu. Castle is a clever name for burglar alarms, if you think about it: not just because an Englishman's (and it seems a Scotsman's) home is his castle, but castles have keeps – and sounders warn you to keep out. Positively Shakespearean. • Spotted: Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Edinburgh East
“Castle Security” burglar alarm: Caledonian Camelot

“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

"Krypto Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • And so we segue seamlessly from portcullises to fortifications in general – castles, fortresses, ramparts and so on. This looks like an old-style prison, which would be apt, but because I have seen other versions of Krypto's logo (coming soon), I know it's a castle. But what stands out here is the turret-shaped sounder – I wonder whether the logo was designed to fit it, or vice versa? I've never seen any other similarly-shaped sounders in the UK, though I have abroad. I'm not sad enough to snap burglar alarms on holiday, however – well, not often – so I don't have pictorial proof. • Spotted: New Cavendish Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Krypto Security”, Westminster: turret-shaped

“Sentry Alarms”, Newquay: wasp-waisted

"Sentry Alarms" burglar alarm, Newquay • Simpler than but similar to yesterday's Safeguard Alarms design, and equally nice: a wasp-waisted fortress-plus-portcullis combo, with combat-ready stencil type. And like yesterday's too, it's situated on brutalist pebbledash: apt, as brutalism is a style of architecture which overtly references bastions and fortresses. Sentries are such a popular alarm trope I'll feature a whole run of them soon; but I can't find a firm with this specific logo on the internet. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Sentry Alarms”, Newquay: wasp-waisted

“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

"Safeguard Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I was wading grumpily through Oxford's irritating throngs of meandering coach parties and pillocks on pushbikes, when this unusual alarm, on the side of a massive brutalist building next to the tacky remains of an actual castle, cheered me up a bit. It offers triple security: a shield, a fortress and a portcullis – plus a suggestion of safety by day and night, a towering dungeon, and even possibly a nod to the 2-Tone ska movement of the early 1980s (in my tortured imagination, anyway). Turns out Safeguard Alarms are a genuine family-run firm, founded in 1969 – nice logo! • Spotted: New Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Safeguard Alarms”, Oxford: two-tone

“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

"August Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Is that August the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar, or August to rhyme with disgust – meaning venerable? Either way it doesn't matter, because you're not getting past the mammoth portcullis. Or maybe it's an upside-down picket fence. • Spotted: Evershot Road, Islington, London, N4, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“August Alarms”, Islington: venerable month

Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

Nameless portcullis burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, after a year and a half of daily and increasingly martial burglar alarms, we navigate – like Charles Marlow in Heart of Darkness, like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now – ever deeper into the metaphorical thickets of home as castle. And what do we find at the threshold of the gated community? A ruddy great portcullis on a sounder (and it hasn't even got a name). Better than a fat sweaty lunatic in a tent, obviously. • Spotted: Chiltern Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

“Crusader Alarms”, Lambeth: night knight

"Crusader Alarms Security System" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This has the same cheese grater shape as yesterday (see side view, below), but I'm guessing this is the older iteration, partly because it's so rusty, and also because it's so minimalist, which is classic 1970s. Looking at all three Crusaders in sequence, note the way our burglar-hating Islamophobe has gone from anonymous here to realistically imagined yesterday, to a little blob under the logo the day before yesterday – which is definitely the least impressive in knightly terms. And that's enough knights for now – night night. • Spotted: Theed Street, Lambeth, London SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Theed Street, Lambeth, London SE1, England, 2012
“Crusader Alarms”, Lambeth: night knight

“Knight Security”, Newquay: psychedelic crash

"Knight Security" burglar alarm, Newquay  • Unlike yesterday's un-knightly seaside monogram, this one at least has a shield and some heraldic-looking "black letter" script. That's an illustration of a psychedelic VW camper van bumping into it, by the way – an unlikely crash caused by its location on a surf shop fascia in the not-very-paradisical surfie hub of Newquay. • Spotted: Bank Street, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of St. Austell and Newquay
“Knight Security”, Newquay: psychedelic crash

“Premier Security Ltd”, Westminster: chillax

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

“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

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

“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

"Securite" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • At first I thought this was some fancy French firm called Securité. However their website reveals it's a 20-year-old UK firm, so the name is probably a play on the less exotic-sounding Secure-right, with the tick accidentally looking like an acute accent, but actually relating to the concept of "right". Whatever, it's the last burglar alarm tick for now, bringing the grand total of this not-very-popular category up to five ticks – pathe-tick! (Groan.) • Spotted: Rathbone Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

“Swift Alarms Supplies”, Westminster: fast flier

"Swift Alarms Supplies Limited" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • There are billions (approx) of security firms featuring birds, but this is only the second Swift I've found – the other one is here, and is called simply Swift. This looks like the same silhouette and font as on that one, so I reckon it's an older incarnation of the same company which, judging by the 0892 code, was based in the Tunbridge Wells area. The selfsame bird can be found on the current website of  Swift Alarms Group, and indeed it says they started life in Tunbbridge Wells in 1978 as Swift Alarms Supplies Limited, so my guess was right. I should have just gone to their website first... • Spotted: Newman Passage, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Swift Alarms Supplies”, Westminster: fast flier

“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

"Vitesse" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Ooooh la la – this is French for "quickness". The stylish two-tone logo looks straight out of a 1970s Gallic sci fi movie (or maybe off a 1990s Daft Punk CD sleeve), and sports a tick (the mark, not the insect) which, though popular on deodorants, is a rare alarm trope. The box itself is an unusual flattish metal design, the same as this rusty old Mayfair Selby /York Alarm Centre effort. • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

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

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

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

“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

"Crimefighter Alarms" burglar alarm, Margate • I've already featured a vintage version of this ambiguous fist here, where I noted it was hard to guess if it represented a window-smashing felon or an avenging limb of the law. Either way it's nice to see the 1984-founded Kent firm still going strong with the same punchy logo, even if their sounders are always too inaccessible for me to take a good shot. Their website informs me they've now incorporated another of my favourite crime-related brands, Judge Alarms – I featured one here. • Spotted: Broad Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

"Arlescourt Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Severed hands are a popular image on burglar alarms, and quite apart from reminding thieves what appendage they might lose under sharia law, it's an ancient symbol with many connotations. The heraldic hand on this fine vintage sounder is grimly gripping a key in the manner of the Lady of the Lake brandishing Excalibur from her watery depths. It recalls the folkloric "Hand of Glory" – the dried and pickled mitt of a hanged felon, believed in medieval Europe to have the power to unlock any door it came across. There are grisly if contested examples in Whitby and Walsall museums, and a couple of mentions in Harry Potter. It's all most appropriate for a firm whose name sounds like something straight out of Camelot. • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras [caption id="attachment_11694" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Hands of Glory: left, a medieval version, and right, Whitby Museum's example"][/caption]
“Arlescourt Security”, Camden: hand of glory

“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

"Property Guard" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This wonky sentry was found next to a dingy net-curtained window in the red light area of Soho, so I won't speculate what kind of property his red bulb was was guarding. The sounder looks absolutely ancient, and I have no idea if the company still exists; there's another Property Guard in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but I doubt it's the same firm. After a grand total of six, that's the last "baton" alarm I've found – definitely not a popular shape compared to the roughly contemporaneous Eurobell, and I still don't know what the style is really called. • Spotted: Peter Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

“Glo Bell”, Westminster: self-referential

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

“Jaguar Alarms London”, Wandsworth: holey cat

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

“Civic Alarms”, Oxford: 1970s classic

"Civic Alarms" burglar alarm, Oxford • I like the way the red circle here suggests a "stop" sign, but also echoes the red bulb above it. It's just one of many differently-designed Civic alarms from various areas and eras I've come across, but I don't know if they are all the same firm. This was found on the olde-worlde covered market in Oxford town centre, and I saw various newer examples around town too, so I assume it's this Oxfordshire firm. But whether it's also the 1972-founded Civic Security whose website is here, I have no idea. The geometric slab-serif font is Rockwell (or something similar), which is a classic 1970s favourite, so it's a possibility. • Spotted: Covered Market, High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Civic Alarms”, Oxford: 1970s classic

“OxLox Alarm Systems”, Oxford: baton sounder

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

“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

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

“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

"Trencherwood New Homes" burglar alarm, Southwark • Inexplicably, the house I found this on was "new" in around 1800, which was before even Berkshire-based property firm Trencherwood New Homes’ era, though they're part of history too, now. There's a picture on Flickr of a bronze ram statue Trencherwood commissioned in 1989 (seriously), which has a comment saying they sold up in 1996 and were eventually acquired by Barratt Developments PLC in 2007. Their heyday seems to have been the 1980s, which would be commensurate with this Eurobell – note the famed "off centre" screw, as recently discussed here. It's decorated with a sprig of gently decaying oak leaves and acorns, strengthening my suspicion that all sounders with acorns on are for defunct firms. • Spotted: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Trencherwood New Homes”, Southwark: old oak

“Wheelers”, Southwark: Zulu warrior

"Wheelers Security Systems" burglar alarm, Southwark • If yesterday's arrow-decorated shield was the sort a knight would use, this is more like a Zulu warrior's. As well as an arrow and club crossed behind it, there's a double-headed knotted arrow inside it. What the connection between African arrow overkill and an old-fashioned English name like Wheelers is, I don't know – I always thought it was a posh fish restaurant. Hmm, maybe it's a fish, not a shield... • Spotted: Tanner Street, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Wheelers”, Southwark: Zulu warrior

“Shield Alarms”, Bristol: a hut made of arrows

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Bristol • This is a bit strange – a shield decorated with a hut (or possibly a gate) made out of long skinny arrows. But it's from Bristol, and I've stopped being surprised by the weird sounder designs that emanate from that neck of the woods. For all I know, people in the West Country actually do live in huts made of arrows – which would presumably negate the need for burglar alarms. Although this sounder looks quite recent, of the squillions of Shield security firms on the internet, I can't find one matching this particular logo. • Spotted: Queen Square, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Shield Alarms”, Bristol: a hut made of arrows

“Arrow Security”, Camden: weapon in flight

"Arrow Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Now we move from purely symbolic direction arrows to the depiction of an actual weapon – one being fired at a burglar here, judging by the "flight" marks. Although I've seen a few of its sounders around and they look quite recent, I can't find any trace of Arrow Security as a going concern on the internet – maybe it was this firm (random business directory ahoy) based in Camberley, Surrey. • Spotted: Kings Cross Road, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Arrow Security”, Camden: weapon in flight

“ESS”, Southwark: identifying arrows

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

“CTAC”, City of Westminster: ancient artefact

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

“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

"Stew's Electrical & Security" burglar alarm, Margate • This would better belong with the shield forms at the beginning of my "uncommon shapes" theme, but it's a last-minute discovery and the only example of this box type I've ever found. It's also unique in being cheerily and possessively titled for the proprietor's first rather than last name. The box looks a bit like a cheap, upside-down version of this ESS enclosure – which, according to the commenters, was a chrome shield variation CQR Multibox. All Ramsgate-based Stew's matey details are on a large label, atypical for a sticker in looking professionally-designed. It features tiny icons of those popular security tropes lightning and locksmithery, plus an unusually harmonious (for burglar alarms) pale blue and green colour scheme, which wouldn't look out of place on eco-friendly washing powder. • Spotted: Market Street, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Stew’s” burglar alarm, Margate: matey eco-shield

“Abel”, Islington: glowing logo

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

“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

"Key Integrated Systems" burglar alarm, Bristol • We're moving into uncommon rectangular shapes now, which basically means boxes with fancy edges or indentations – so although rare, they're not the most exciting of enclosures. This has a ridged clear panel beneath a curved white top, and is the only example I've ever seen. It's not very recognisable however, and the best I can say about it is that it's a bit like a soap dish, or perhaps a sea slug. I can't argue with the disco-tastic logo though, which manages to incorporate an acronym, a star, locksmithery, technology, and the fact that K.I.S. were established in 1976. How on earth does Bristol support so many independent security firms? It suggests it's the crime hot-spot of the western world, though I'm sure it's not. • Spotted: Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Key Integrated Systems”, Bristol: soap dish

“Avon Security”, Bristol: round-cornered triangle

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

“Nu-Tron”, Camden: on the old-tron Scala Cinema

"Nu-Tron Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Camden • Like yesterday's rare round-topped Nu-Tron (aka Old-Tron) sounder, this newer version again has an unusual box shape, though one that's much more commonly seen as it's popular with many other companies too. I know nothing of it inner workings, but in superficial design terms it's a good choice: the rounded grey N matches the rounded grey sounder nicely. I found it on the old Scala cinema at Kings Cross, which is now a pool hall; and it looks like someone's scraped a circular sticker off the centre of it, suggesting it's been maintained. • Spotted: Kings Cross Bridge, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Nu-Tron”, Camden: on the old-tron Scala Cinema

“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

"Nu-Tron Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Thanks to various commenters, I now know that Nu-Tron is the successor company to yesterday's M-Tronic, and you can certainly see the resemblance in the big rounded initial. It's an unusual shape of box which I've not featured before, and anything called Nu-Tron that looks more like an Old-Tron simply demands to be put in the "retro-futurist" category. But as for naming your sounders after a thermonuclear device specifically designed to kill all nearby humans while leaving buildings standing? A bit extreme, surely. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Nu-Tron”, Tower Hamlets: thermonuclear device

“M-Tronic”, Islington: antiques arcade oldster

"M-Tronic Alarms Ltd." burglar alarm, Islington • Recently there was much discussion under an old Lander box about the firm M-Tronic, and its successor Nu-Tron. To summarise, it was stated that M-Tronic was an east London company whose bell boxes were secured with two screws (just about visible through the rust here) similar to a Lander box, and whose owners sold out to Lander before going on to form Nu-Tron – a firm which will be discussed tomorrow. I'd never seen an M-Tronic sounder, and the commenters reckoned very few ever existed, but I've now discovered this incredibly oxidised, but still legible, M-Tronic example in the apt surrounds of an Islington antiques arcade. I've put it in the "retrofuturism" section because calling anything something-tronic sounds futuristically dated. And it also makes me think of futuristic-in-80s electro record label M-Tronic, and the similarly vintage electro-hip-hop duo Mantronix, whose logo serendipitously features yesterday's computer typeface. Though even both of those old-skool "tronics" are probably more recent than this ancient alarm with its pre-01 phone number. Interesting phone fact: the prefix here, 555, is regularly used for fictitious phone numbers in American films and TV shows (see for instance The Simpsons), as it covers a special set of numbers not used by any US exchange. • Spotted: Camden Passage, Camden, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“M-Tronic”, Islington: antiques arcade oldster

“Micro”, Camden: a classic of computer design

"Micro Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • This is a classic piece of retro-futurism - it's called Micro, and is illustrated with a microchip, that pinnacle of modernity. The typeface is a Letraset classic called Data 70 (the name's a good clue to its vintage), created by British designer Bob Newman in 1970. It's one of many such that came out around that time, based on the machine-readable MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) text you can still find in chequebooks, which despite the banks' best efforts are still with us. Since their brief moment of trendiness, such "computer fonts" have lived on eternally in the worlds of sci-fi and naffness, though it's the kind of naffness that graphic designers always retain a fondness for. For any typophiles perusing this, there's a really interesting thread about the origins of Data 70-style letterforms here. Of more interest to security professionals will be that the Micro lives above an extremely well-preserved vintage AFA sounder, with all the attendant wiring intact – it's pictured below. Much more fascinating than  the origins of a dodgy old computer font (not). • Spotted: New Oxford Street, Camden, London, WC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Micro”, Camden: a classic of computer design

“Kings”, Westminster: lit from within

"Kings" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is a late entrant to the royalty theme, which I found just the other evening. The logo suggests this is the same firm featured here, albeit without the crown. What's incredibly hard to show in a photo is that this sounder's lit up inside, glowing like a beacon in the dark. The photo below shows how it really looked, and the one under that was taken with flash to show the sounder's details. There are lots of these internally lit alarms around these days – it's the latest trend – but the difficulty of photographing in the dark has stopped me from featuring them. • Spotted: Bruton Place, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Kings”, Westminster: lit from within

“Sovereign Fire & Security”, Bristol: apposite address

"Sovereign Fire & Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • A much more recent bell box from yesterday's Sovereign Security, found in the appropriate surrounds of Queen Square. It's similar to the "middle period" Sovereign I published many months ago here, except with an F instead of an S in the circle, and the addition of "Fire" to the name – a trend that seems to have been creeping in with other firms too. Rather tragically, I photographed this on New Years Day, which makes it my first-ever alarm from 2012. I really should have better things to do with my time. • Spotted: Queen Square, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Sovereign Fire & Security”, Bristol: apposite address