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EC1

Morse, Camden: sleuthing

Morse Security "Morse Security" burglar alarm, Camden • A giant felon's fingerprint on a shiny light-up bell box – how great! The name suggests the sleuthing of Inspector Morse, but of course also evokes morse code - which is a kind of computing. So I stand by including it in my maths theme. • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
Morse, Camden: sleuthing

“Ability”, Camden: generic

Ability Security Systems "Ability Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • Ability. Well, it's a form of excellence, albeit somewhat generic. "So, what particularly excellent quality does your firm have?" "Ability, mate." "OK, my good fellow, can't argue with that. You're hired!" • Spotted: Greville Street, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Ability”, Camden: generic

“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

GAF Alarms "GAF Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • One of my favourites, both for its awkward yet traditional 1920s-style monogram, and the fact that GAF is a sort-of pun on house, though I'm not sure if that's intended.• Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“GAF Alarms”, Islington: punny

“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

"Guard Security Systems" burglar alarm, Camden • That's enough Foot Guards – here's an altogether more violent fellow, who I think may be meant to be a Norman soldier. In fact, he's the most vicious sounder figure I've found since this stabby Centurion in Sheffield. • Spotted: Hatton Garden, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Guard Security Systems”, Camden: vicious

“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

"Metropolitan Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • OK, a slight cheat – the firm's called Metropolitan, but their logo's a giant M, synonymous with groovy new wave synth-popsters M, whose "Pop Muzic" was a massive cross-pond hit in 1979. By dint of its full name, the sounder gets filed under "Religion" too, as a Metropolitan is a type of bishop, especially important in Slavic and Greek Orthodox churches. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury M of Pop Muzik fame
“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

"Ace Security" burglar alarm, Islington • A 1970s disco logo for a 1970s non-disco group: Ace, a bunch of hairy be-flared musos notable mainly for the very successful single "How Long", which was top 20 in both the UK and the USA in 1974-5. • Spotted: Aylesbury Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Ace the one-hit-wonder group
“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

“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

“Security Ltd”, City of London: lions passant

"Security Ltd" burglar alarm, City of London • This shows three lions "passant", as on the Royal Arms of England, dating from the 1198 Great Seal of the Realm. How things last: if only the seal's first owner, Richard I, could have known the design would endure to enhance burglar alarms and football kit over 800 years later. Oddly, there's no actual firm's name on this, unless they're just called Security Limited. Maybe they are. • Spotted: Aldersgate Street, City of London, London, EC1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Security Ltd”, City of London: lions passant

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

"Brocks Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • You don't see too many of these old Brocks boxes with the lion and shield on; normally they are plain white with just the logo at the top. I never know whether that's because they started like that, or the lion and shield faded off – I suspect the latter. A nice design anyway, and it heralds (geddit) the last shield, as the knightly arm-borne protection falls away leaving just a few heraldic-style animals. • Spotted: Albermarle Way, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury

“Brocks Alarms”, Islington: non-faded

“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

“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

“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

"Secom" burglar alarm, Islington • And after yesterday's "rebadged" Secom, here's a very dirty example of the real thing, featuring the bland "UK plug" shape usually only seen on the Japanese conglomerate's sounders and thus presumably a proprietary design (though they do use rectangular boxes too). Sometimes these deltas have neat rectangular strobes on the base as here, and that's as exciting as it gets. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Secom”, Islington: dirty great plug

“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

"Lee Security.com" burglar alarm, Islington • Things have come to a pretty pass when not just the windows, but even the burglar alarm has to be protected by wire mesh. And this isn't from some ultra-deprived inner-city riot zone, but the posh-restaurant hot-spot of Clerkenwell. Those foodies must be desperate folk. • Spotted: St John Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Lee Security.com”, Islington: caged

“Jaguar Alarm Company”, Islington

"Jaguar Alarm Company" burglar alarm, Islington • This is a confident piece of lettering, with a speedy, fluent line that well suggests the fluid motion of a big cat. (Or possibly a big car.) The animal it represents is, according to Wikipedia, a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain; it has jaws stronger than a lion's, and kills by biting directly into the brain of its prey. All of which conjures up some pretty unsavoury images of this security firm's practices, despite their jaunty logo. • Spotted: Paget Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury A real jaguar (photo by USFWS)
“Jaguar Alarm Company”, Islington

“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

"Gemeni Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, scraping the bottom of the zodiacal barrel, a very basic and mis-spelled Gemini alarm – unless I’m missing something, and it says Gemeni for good reason, eg it's written in Romanian. So we’ve had Gemini the twins not once, but twice – one boring, and one boring and dyslexic. Uncanny! That’s it for astrological alarms, just the four: Zodiac, Scorpio, Gemini and Gemeni. I have found no more, whereas there are scores of animals on burglar alarms, which share similar – if less mystical – iconography. As I pointed out in the Zodiac entry, that leaves a gap in the naming market. I hope someone takes it up – and remembers to illustrate it. • Spotted: Goswell Road, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: the constellation of Gemini visualised as twins holding hands (not the usual depiction, which is abstract – see yesterday), by the children's author H.A. Rey. Realistic!
“Gemeni Alarms”, Islington: dyslexic twins

“Mercury Security Systems”, Islington: god of thieves

"Mercury Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • This boring design gives no clue whether its name refers to the planet, the element, the crap Queen singer or the myth. Seeing as the myth came first, I shall include this alarm within the mythology section. Mercury was the Roman version of Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods, famed for his winged sandals and helmet, and a snake-entwined staff called a caduceus. The Romans equated him mainly with travel and commerce, and his image can be found adorning stations and shopping centres to this day. A notably slippery character, with traits which would have taken him far in diplomacy or journalism, Mercury combined patronage of noble things such as music, wit, sport and invention with a reputation for cunning and trickery. Which is perhaps how a god strongly associated with thieves and boundaries – described in an ancient Greek hymn as "a watcher by night, a thief at the gates" – has wangled his way onto a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Above: Mercury in Manhattan, still representing trade and travel today. Left: "Winged Mercury" (1933), a carving by Lee Lawrie on the ex-British Empire Building at the Rockerfeller Centre. Right: "Glory of Commerce" (1911-14) by Jules-Alexis Coutain, aka the famous Mercury clock at Grand Central Terminal. There's more about it on Which Yet Survive, a great but short-lived blog about New York statuary.
“Mercury Security Systems”, Islington: god of thieves

“Thorndon Security”, Camden: typographic relic

"Thorndon Security" burglar alarm, Camden • Graphic design heaven: a load of decaying type on a wall. The numbers are a good old 1950s font, typical of that era when presumably there weren't many different styles of signage lettering to choose from. The alarm sports one big initial, a very common device, and one I'll return to. I found it in the gem-dealing area of Hatton Garden (famously featured in Dustin Hoffman's 1976 film Marathon Man) and, although legitimately photographing in a public street, got very heavily hassled by a security guard for my pains. That was just three years after 9/11, and it would probably be even worse now. It's actually quite difficult photographing burglar alarms –  it often makes me feel like a criminal myself! • Spotted: Hatton Garden, Camden, London, EC1, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Thorndon Security”, Camden: typographic relic