Skip to content

Islington

DGI, Islington, 2016

DGI, Upper Holloway, Islington, London, N19, 2016 (by Christopher Seddon) • Possibly the last alarm for a while, a rather racy two-tone jobbie supplied by the noted prehistorian Christopher Seddon (books here), […]
DGI, Islington, 2016

AES, Islington, 2012

“AES” burglar alarm, Islington • There’s a rectangular, less dirty one here. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and […]
AES, Islington, 2012

Alert Security, Islington: mini-monogram

Alert Security "Alert Security" burglar alarm, Islington • There's a mini-monogram on this faded oldster if you look closely – an A in a shield up at the top. To my mind (ie the sad mind of a graphic designer), it makes a rather attractive composition with its background of semi-painted wall (see below). • Spotted: Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Alert Security
Alert Security, Islington: mini-monogram

Southern Electric, Islington: 1980s

Southern Electric Security Systems "Southern Electric Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • This is a very 1980s-looking illustration, though I daresay the alarm is more recent. Whether it's the same Southern Electric as this electricity firm – now with very different look – I have no idea. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
Southern Electric, Islington: 1980s

Securitech, Islington: football shirt

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

“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

“Wilton Alarms”, Islington: registration marks

Wilton Alarms "Wilton Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • This definitely looks like a gun sight's crosshairs, though if I'm honest it also resembles the registration marks printers use to help line up their plates correctly. On the website of Wilton Alarms, the Dorking-based firm explain they're now known as Wilton Security Systems. Luckily they still retain this logo, so I narrowly escaped confusing them with Wilton Alarm Systems of Wilton in Salisbury,  whose unmistakable rapier-wielding wasp is one of my favourite sounder designs, as featured here. • Spotted: Wharfdale Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“Wilton Alarms”, Islington: registration marks

“CPA Alarms”, Islington: obscure

"CPA Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • The strange logo at the top, which to me looks like a giant molar, is in fact some unidentifiable panels (presumably not a Richard Serra sculpture) on top of a globe. The legend around it reads "Pyronix Association of Security Specialists", which is totally opaque to me, as is the acronym CPA. Googling reveals that Pyronix is a major trade supplier and the three weird planks are their logo, but all in all it's a very obscure sounder design for the lay viewer. • Spotted: Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“CPA Alarms”, Islington: obscure

“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”, Islington: where’s Shop 1?

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

"Cherry Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Plant-based imagery is surprisingly popular with security firms, so this week's theme is botanical alarms – that is, sounders featuring fruit, flowers and trees. And what better way to kick off than with this juicy pair of cherries – an image so loaded with fruity connotations that I'm simply not going there. Instead I'll just note that the sounder is the same unusual design as the ESS box featured here, and that Cherry's website features more flashing emergency lights than the Old Kent Road on a Saturday night. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Cherry Security”, Islington: ooh, fruity!

“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

“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

"SYS" burglar alarm, Islington • An even deeper pocket than yesterday, decorated with a not-very-attractive unexplained acronym logo that's presumably meant to suggest "system". The firm's uninformative website is here and the actual sounder can be found here – this example is the only one I've come across in the flesh, so to speak. The logo is a reflected palindrome in the manner of Abba, ie it reads the same in both directions and is also physically reflected down the middle. Bizarrely, I do have an Abba alarm, which I shall post one day. • Spotted: Tollington Park, Islington, London, N4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“SYS”, Islington: deep pocket

“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

“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

"Robot" burglar alarm, Islington • Technically, robots are still futuristic, but there's something so insane about the idea of a 1980s-looking mechanised burglar apprehension device that this Robot sounder definitely belongs in the "retro-futurism" category. I've spotted a couple in the North London area, but googling Robot Security draws a blank, so presumably the firm is no longer of this world. For real robotic security, you could try the useless-looking droid below, which theoretically chucks a net over potential intruders but looks less effective than a hoover. • Spotted: Hemingford Road, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury [caption id="attachment_10526" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="The hoover-like T-34, a not-very-threatening Japanese security droid"][/caption]
“Robot”, Islington: insane apprehension device

“ExtraWatch Security Systems”, Islington: which witch

"ExtraWatch Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • From the land of Arsenal and Old Labour (by which I mean long-serving MP Jeremy Corbyn, not ex-resident Tony Blair) comes this mouldering, faded and defunct-looking item bearing the colours of both; draw from that what parallels you will. So bleached is it that at first I thought it said Extra Witch, which sounds much more interesting and conjures up (ha ha) images of a bevy of broomstick-riding harridans swooping down upon Islington's cowering malefactors. Including, hopefully, Tony Blair. • Spotted: Marlborough Road, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“ExtraWatch Security Systems”, Islington: which witch

“Securidor”, Islington: bilious egg

"Securidor Total Security Systems" burglar alarm, Islington • A pun on Securi-door, presumably, in a font by famous graphic designer Neville Brody (an unlikely hit with burglar alarm designers), above a bilious, badly-drawn eye that looks more like half a fried egg. It's nice to know Securidor offer total (as opposed to what – partial?) security, but the nit-picking grammar police will be on their tail for that wrongly-spaced phone code – it should be 020 8 blah blah blah. • Spotted: Wedmore Gardens, Islington, London, N19, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Securidor”, Islington: bilious egg

“Tindall Security”, Islington: rockabilly owl

"Tindall Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Unlike the last two days' mysterious swift-or-swallow SWAT alarms, Tindall have a highly recognisable owl, and the firm is still demonstrably in existence, with a fully functioning website and a head office in Hertford, albeit on an industrial estate inacessible to Google Street View (I hate it when that happens). The owl's got a flat-top – maybe it's a fan of rockabilly. OK, that's enough birds. Tomorrow: vision. • Spotted: Tollington Park, Islington, London, N4, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Tindall Security”, Islington: rockabilly owl

“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

“MR”, Islington: ultimate deterrent

"MR Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Finally, the ultimate nightmare – when pigeon spikes stop working. This row of shops was encrusted with spikes, but also with bird poo. Time to call in the hawks...  • Spotted: Stroud Green Road, Islington, London, N4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North Above: a hawk – the ultimate pigeon deterrent
“MR”, Islington: ultimate deterrent

“Securebase”, Islington: abstract chain

"Securebase" burglar alarm, Islington • I reckon this is an abstract reference to chain links. It's quite clever if so, reading as both a small white S in the middle, a bigger blue S around it (making the ever-popular SS trope), with maybe the hint of a B, plus two chain links and the visual impression of something tightly twisted up. Though I'm doubtless reading far too much into what is essentially a pretty dull design. • Spotted: Wedmore Gardens, Islington, London, N19, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Securebase”, Islington: abstract chain

“Home Counties Monitored Security”, Islington: smug

"Home Counties Monitored Security" burglar alarm, Islington • This is a grainy digital enlargement, as the box was positioned high up on a block of private flats (you never see alarms on council flats). It's the most modern alarm I've found depicting a key, which means that in design terms it's old-fashioned. It's also the only key with flat teeth, denoting a chunky lever lock rather than a dainty but less-secure pin-tumbler one. Note also a little house roof over the letter "H", emphasising the "Home" in that smug term, "Home Counties" – where does that leave all the other counties, then? So, a paean to stolid home ownership and southern civic pride, on a supremely boring alarm. • Spotted: Crouch Hill, Islington, London, N4, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington North
“Home Counties Monitored Security”, Islington: smug

“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

“ARG Security”, Islington: bouquet of barbed wire

"ARG Security" burglar alarm, Islington • Echoing yesterday's imagery, another pointy roof decorated with barbed wire and a rusty vintage alarm, this time enlivened by a spray of weedy foliage and – for some reason – a string of giant fairy lights entangled with the wire. The building is a defunct garage, one of an ever-diminishing clutch of old-style industrial units in the rapidly gentrifying hinterland of Kings Cross. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury
“ARG Security”, Islington: bouquet of barbed wire

“Videotech”, Islington: detection on drugs

Videotech burglar alarm Islington 2010"Videotech Security" burglar alarm, Islington • I know Sherlock Holmes was into drugs, but this is ridiculous. He's grown to immense proportions and is squinting at a rubbery gingerbread-style house through a magnifying glass, as if inspecting the chimney for crumbs. It's more like a suburb of the nightmare world inhabited by the sobbing, half-human house on the scary TR Security alarm than the glossy fusion of Video and Tech promised by the firm's title. But at least it's quite amusing, unlike most other detection-themed alarms – as has been demonstrated over last few days. • Spotted: York Way, Islington, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Videotech burglar alarm Islington 2010
“Videotech”, Islington: detection on drugs