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“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Absolute Security”, East Grinstead: bricky battlements

"Absolute Security (Surrey)" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Is it just my imagination, or are there a disproportionately high number of militia-related alarms in the deep Surrey "stockbroker belt" (quaint term in these days of rapacious bankers) of Dorking and East Grinstead? Whatever, this faded sounder showing two bricky little battlements was old when I photographed it in 2004, so I reckoned the company wouldn't be around any more. But an internet search throws up an Absolute Security in Surrey of 20 years standing, so despite a distinct lack of fortifications on their website, I reckon it's the same firm. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Absolute Security”, East Grinstead: bricky battlements

“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?

“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

“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

“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

“Bastion Protec Systems”, Dorking: defensible space

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

“Castle Security”, Bristol: chess-style

"Castle Security" burglar alarm, Bristol • Oh dear, a pair of very sad and stained old chess-style castles, with even the contact number snipped off (at least, that's what I assume the gap between them is). Probably nothing to do yesterday's Castle – it must be an extremely popular name. Yet another anonymous throwback from the enormous burglar alarm mortuary that is Bristol. • Spotted: Town centre, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Castle Security”, Bristol: chess-style

“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”, Lambeth: Dracula’s castle

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Knightsbridge”, Merton: horsey bling

"Knightsbridge Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Merton • Giant chains, jewelled keys and a white horse (at least that's what I think it is) on top: that's one blingy portcullis Knightsbridge have in their possession, worthy of Harry Potter or Katie Price. Though like West London Security, the placing is slightly off – wealthy Wimbledon Village may very well be full of bespoke portcullises, but it's a long way from Knightsbridge. Dodgy geography seems to be a feature of portcullis alarms. • Spotted: High Street, Wimbledon Village, Merton, London, SW19, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Wimbledon
“Knightsbridge”, Merton: horsey bling

“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

“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

“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?

“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

"Sussex Alarms" burglar alarm, Brighton • Not, as it may appear, Darth Vader, but a Roman soldier in his finely-crafted helmet.Sussex was positively crawling with Romans in olden days, their metal headgear being vastly superior to the barbarians' leather contraptions. Not that I am suggesting Sussex is full of barbarians. • Spotted: Old Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Brighton Kemptown
“Sussex Alarms”, Brighton: superior helmet

“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

"MG Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • It may be slightly contentious to lump this Scottish sounder in under Roman Britain, as the Romans famously never colonised Caledonia – partly because they weren't really that keen on it, apparently. So, although this fellow looks pretty Roman to me, he could be a Pict. The lack of a leather skirt (called, unpronounceably, a "pteruges") is no proof either way, though, as legionaries favoured trousers ("braccae") in colder climes. And of course the kilt hadn't been invented yet – it was the Victorians who dreamt that particular skirt up. • Spotted: Central Station area, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1, Scotland, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
“MG Systems”, Glasgow: possibly a Pict

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

"Crusader Security (UK) Ltd" burglar alarm, Greenwich • Crusaders are slightly at a tangent from knights, as not all crusaders were noble horsemen – the crusades were like a travelling township, with vast crowds of commoners and even women and children tagging along. However, lots of knights were crusaders, and as bloke's got a fancy shield, I'll assume he's one of them. • Spotted: Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London, SE10, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Greenwich and Woolwich
“Crusader Security (UK) Ltd”, Greenwich: fancy shield

“Knight Security”, Newquay: psychedelic crash

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

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

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

“Knighthood”, Tower Hamlets: tricky moves

"Knighthood" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Pictured twice and named thrice, this shows a knight in the chess sense, renowned for its tricky moves. Or maybe the owner of this company actually does have (or hanker after) a knighthood – not impossible, as Sir Jules Thorn would attest, were he still alive. • Spotted: Blackwall Tunnel North Approach, Tower Hamlets, London, E3, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Knighthood”, Tower Hamlets: tricky moves

“Anglian”, Lowestoft: fish-fingery fellow

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

“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

"Knight Installations" burglar alarm, Dorking • This is brilliant – 1970s type framing a triumphal image of a knight in ceremonial armour, complete with plumed full-face visor, cloaked warhorse, St George's Cross jerkin and massive thrusting sword. So very Dorking, and so much more effective than a guard dog. • Spotted: Town centre, Dorking, Surrey, RH4, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Mole Valley
“Knight Installations”, Dorking: thrusting sword

“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

“Ambassador”, Tower Hamlets: final shield

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

“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

"Ambassador" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • With this fancy logo, Ambassador, you are spoiling us. In real life, an ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation, and this fine heraldic logo matches up. Faded Ambassador sounders of many types bearing this shield still abound, although the company itself exists no longer, as the comments here diplomatically explain. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

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

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

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

“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

“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

“Premier”, East Grinstead: head of state

"Premier" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • After sundry aristocrats and yesterday's military dictator, our bigwigs are getting a bit more democratic. In many countries a premier is a head of state, and in some of those states – such as Britain – it's interchangeable with the term Prime Minister. This handsome blue sounder comes from the deeply conservative town of East Grinstead (as quite a few of my bigwig alarms do), and could conceivably date back to the days of John Major, so I reckon it's a Tory premier. • Spotted: High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Premier”, East Grinstead: head of state

“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

“Norman Security”, Lowestoft: fancy peerages

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

“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

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

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

“Duchy”, Cornwall: property of Prince Charles

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

“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

“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

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

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

“City Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: ticked off

"City Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • While arrows and chevrons are popular on burglar alarms, their natural graphic companion the Sure Deodorant-style tick is rare, so here begins a necessarily short run of them. Hornchurch-based City Alarms rocked the tick-plus-London-skyline look for years, though they've now got a totally different logo which you can see on their website here. They've got yet another logo on their brilliant legacy Web 2.0 website here – bristling with sound effects and animations, it must date from around 2000, as it says the 1988-founded firm is 12 years old. • Spotted: The Oval, Tower Hamlets, London, E2, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“City Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: ticked off

“Instant Aid Protection”, Westminster: bold promise

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

“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

“Security Express”, Camden: slanty-edged

"Security Express Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • Bearing the ever-popular shield trope, this slanty-edged bell box is a type that was once quite popular – indeed, it's still a common sight on old Cannon alarms around Bristol. There were some comments about the sounder's design beneath this SWAT box from York, including that it's "very loud and sounds unique", and is possibly a Regal Safe product. Regarding speed, the firm is express no more: a company search shows it was incorporated in 1946 and was also known in the 1980s as Hornet and later Computa-Guard, but was bought by Chubb in the 1990s. Blimey, the stuff you can turn up on the internet. • Spotted: Covent Garden area, Camden, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Security Express”, Camden: slanty-edged

“Swift Fire & Security”, Ealing: strangely static

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

“Swift Security Systems”, Southwark: 1970s band

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

“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

“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

“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

“CalQuick”, Southwark: grungy nut

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

“Sprint”, Camden: city speeding

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

“Vaico International”, Tower Hamlets: global gloves

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

“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

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

“Amega Alarms”, Oxford: worshipping hands

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

“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

“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

"Ideal" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Now on to caring, sharing hands. This clever logo sums up the idea of protecting your abode most elegantly (unless you read it as a mighty giant smiting the house down) – and I always like the uber-positive term "ideal", conjuring up as it does the "ideal homes" of quaintly optimistic 1950s advertising. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few security outfits called Ideal; but the mighty smiting house-hand here leads me to the 30-year-old Southampton firm Ideal Fire & Security Ltd, whose website shows the same logo on their van. • Spotted: Tavistock Street, City of Westminster, London, WC2, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Ideal”, Westminster: mighty hand

“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

“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