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ADT, Hackney, 2006

“ADT” burglar alarm, Hackney • Now for some monograms, ie the easy logo solution of joining initials together in various arty / random ways. Here’s a pretty famous one – […]
ADT, Hackney, 2006

TTS Security, Tower Hamlets: weedy

TTS Security "TTS Security" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This really is a weedy little unexplained acronym, isn't it? If it didn't have a triangle and a sort-of-globe on it, I'd never have got round to featuring it. • Spotted: Middlesex Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
TTS Security, Tower Hamlets: weedy

Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

Mack Alarms Limited "Mack Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • I see loads of old Mack Alarms around locally, so it's about time I featured one – notice subtle stripey triangle in background. The 01 phone number suggests it's a pretty old example. • Spotted: Toynbee Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
Mack Alarms, Camden: subtle

CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

CAS Security "CAS Security" burglar alarm, Hackney • This is a very peculiar design; I can't work out whether the logo is meant to be a monogram, a stylised object of some kind, or just random. To me, it most suggests a weird beaky face. I saw loads of these in Birmingham recently, so it's not an uncommon brand. • Spotted: Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
CAS Security, Hackney: beaky

“Roding”, Tower Hamlets: wasteland

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

"ESS" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • Here's a rarely-seen shape that's very similar to Banham's proprietary shield, but with the crucial difference of having its bottom lopped off. Although ESS is an unexplained acronym, l happen to know that this psychedelic soundwave design belongs to Essex Security Services, who seem to regularly update their logo and sounders – not to be confused with ESS (Electronic & Security Services) in Northern Ireland, or ESS-Security Ltd of Leeds. Not the most exclusive set of initials, clearly. • Spotted: Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“ESS”, Tower Hamlets: bottom-lopped shield

“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

“Royale”, Hackney: regal relic

"Royale Security Systems" burglar alarm, Hackney • This looks around the same age as the preceding alarms, but it's so weathered it's hard to decipher the phone number. I could cheat and pretend it has a 3-letter exchange code, but in fact it doesn't: as far as I can make out, it says "Royale Security Systems ?? Benfleet 328?8". Benfleet is in Essex, near the Canvey HQ of the charming old Pearl box I featured recently. This competitor has fared less well, but I can see it once had a classic 1950s-style logo, and I reckon the casing started out as bright blue. I've done a Google search on the firm, but unsurprisingly turned up nothing at all, so any info would be welcome. Tomorrow: the new year ushers in more royal alarms, only somewhat newer than this one. Meanwhile I'll be down in beautiful Bristol, no doubt photographing yet more wonky West Country alarms and being forced to trudge the perimeters of various loser football grounds in recompense. Happy New Year! • Spotted: Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London, E1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“Royale”, Hackney: regal relic

“Granley”, Tower Hamlets: short and sweet

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

“Pearl Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: faded attraction

"Pearl Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • What a beautiful old alarm, its evocative name recalling the faded fairground attractions of its home towns of Canvey and Southend, and matching perfectly the seaside-blue wall and decaying Dream Land awning. I've been parking beneath this sounder for years, as it's usually the nearest free spot to the Whitechapel Gallery, yet I never noticed it till the other week. The building's gaudy paint job is quite recent, so maybe that's what finally made it stand out. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Pearl Alarms”, Tower Hamlets: faded attraction

“Rely-a-Bell” and “Essex”, Tower Hamlets: crowned

"Rely-a-Bell" and "Essex Security Services" burglar alarms, Tower Hamlets • Another striking composition from the endlessly-picturesque Petticoat Lane area, which is studded with vintage alarms. These have got two lines of defence: a communal half-veil of pigeon netting, and individual mini-crowns of pigeon spikes protecting their exposed heads. They're very well preserved, so it seems to have worked. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Rely-a-Bell” and “Essex”, Tower Hamlets: crowned

“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

"Essex Security Services" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This seasidey sunbleached sounder looks like it's been caught in a fishing net. In fact it's another example of pigeon netting, necessary because the alarm resides in the same torrential guano zone as these revolting ADTs. The lovely old Essex logo looks like it pre-dates the chain-link example of a few days ago, but as you can see from the comment below I'm wrong: one of the company's head honchos tells me it's a later design. It's more attractive, but it's also a lot more violent: three immense curved sabres, enough to see off burglars and arial arse bombers alike. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Essex”, Tower Hamlets: netted

“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

"Intruder Alert" and "ADT" burglar alarms, Tower Hamlets • This colourfully crusty corner is the sort of architectural detail that got me interested in photographing burglar alarms in the first place. There's only one kind of intruder causing problems here, and it's got feathers rather than a swag bag. Not to mention a very runny arse. • Spotted: White Church Lane, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Intruder Alert” and “ADT”, Tower Hamlets: crusty

“Radam”, Tower Hamlets: genteel locksmithery

"Radam Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This vintage alarm, found near Petticoat Lane market, is my favourite key example. Although presumably dating from the 1960s, the lettered key has a pre-war look, evoking a genteel age of locksmithery – you can almost imagine a butler answering the alarm bell. There's attention to detail, too: the grooves on the shaft are streamlined into the design, and the notches on the blade echo the "am" of "Radam" – which sounds like a completely made-up name. • Spotted: Goulston Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Radam”, Tower Hamlets: genteel locksmithery

“Allied Security Systems”, Tower Hamlets: John Mills

"Allied Security Systems" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • After three days of dastardly SS alarms, time to wheel out the plucky Allied forces, doubtless led by Sir John Mills. This sturdy old Eurobell sounder actually does resemble some kind of ancient air raid early warning device, what with its giant front-mounted red bulb – the only one of this design I've ever come across. The Allied powers morphed into the United Nations at the end of World War II, and eventually their ex-foes, the Axis powers, joined up too. Axis would be a pretty good name for a burglar alarm, but so far I haven't found one. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow
“Allied Security Systems”, Tower Hamlets: John Mills

“Rely-a-Bell”, Tower Hamlets: a rare 60s survival

Rely-a-Bell burglar alarm, Wentworth Street London E1, 2010"Rely-a-Bell" burglar alarm, Tower HamletsYesterday's post showed the most common and beloved style of Rely-a-Bell, dating probably from the 1950s. This one, covered in pigeon netting, is far rarer; in fact it's the only example of this design I've seen. It's not the only logo variation to be found – there are a few others on Flickr, where I've made a gallery called Rely-a-Bell: History showing variations from the 1920s–1960s. According to a Flickr comment by ~Notes"The Rely-a-Bell Company dates back to 1921 and was a market leader until 1961 when it was purchased by the Burgot company, which later became Chubb". I'd guess this jaunty and professional-looking logo dates from the mid 1960s (assuming Burgot kept the brand name after they took over); it reminds me of the lettering on detergent packs from that era, and the circular device has something of the launderette about it too. I wonder if this was the last-ever iteration of the Rely-a-Bell livery? For more background on Rely-a-Bell, see this memoir by Dave Robertson, MD of Full Stop security (who have an excellent burglar alarm design I shall feature one day), which starts with his time at Rely-a-Bell in the early 1960s. • Spotted: Wentworth Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow Rely-a-Bell burglar alarm, Wentworth Street London E1, 2010
“Rely-a-Bell”, Tower Hamlets: a rare 60s survival

“TR Security”, Tower Hamlets: Grimm psychodrama

TR Security burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets, 2010"TR Security Alarms" burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets • This isn't a cartoon, it's a psychodrama. It's so troubling it reminds me of a Grimm's fairy tale, or one of those scary 1960s eastern european animations so brilliantly pastiched in The Simpsons as jerky cut-price replacements for Itchy and Scratchy. Let me describe the scene. The sun is high; the shadows small. A stocky, bizarrely-dressed man with the bulbous nose of a heavy drinker sprints across a featureless wasteland. In his white-gloved, malformed hands he cradles an intricate jewelled crown, the sort normally kept in a monarch's treasury. Peering over his shoulder, masked eyes glinting, he grins triumphantly back at the victim of his crown theft: a neat suburban house. A house that is half human. A house that is sobbing. Its sides heave with emotion, its door gapes in horror, its upstairs windows have become scrunched-up eyes squeezing out huge tears. By its side sits a writhing tangle of shadows, so dark it's impossible to work out what lies within. Maybe it's the house's existential despair; maybe it's the burglar's black soul; maybe it's just a bad drawing of a bush. But the moral is clear: don't store a crown in a suburban house, and if you must, then don't leave the front door open when there's a weird-looking bloke hanging round. • Spotted: Commercial Street, Tower Hamlets, London, E1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow TR Security burglar alarm, Tower Hamlets, 2010
“TR Security”, Tower Hamlets: Grimm psychodrama