Skip to content

Kent

“Optima”, Herne Bay: fontastic

Optima Alarms "Optima Alarms" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • Presumably this is meant to suggest more Latin, ie optimus, from which we derive optimal or optimum – all words for best. Optima however is a typeface, though not the one used on this sounder. • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Optima”, Herne Bay: fontastic

“Alert”, Margate: awakenings

Alert Security "Alert Security" burglar alarm, Margate • Alert reads as both an adjective and a verb: boasting that the excellent security is awake (as one would hope), but also promising to alert security (and awaken all the neighbours too) in case of felony. It's not exactly Shakespeare, but it is quite clever. • Spotted: Fort Hill, Margate, Kent, CT9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Alert”, Margate: awakenings

“Coastal”, Folkestone: riverine

"Coastal" burglar alarm, Folkestone • Where do rivers go? To the coast, of course (except the ones that feed lakes, or dry up in the desert, or do weird things underground, etc etc). But in most cases they do head for the coast, so I shall file Coastal under Rivers. Even though Folkestone, where I found this, doesn't actually have any rivers – just a tiny brook called the Pent Stream. • Spotted: Town centre, Folkestone, Kent, CT20, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Folkestone and Hythe Above: not-very-exciting coastal Folkestone
“Coastal”, Folkestone: riverine

“Sabre Security Services”, Herne Bay: slashed

"Sabre Security Services" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • Ah, sabres – a big favourite in the Napoleonic wars, and indeed all post-medieval wars, until made obsolete by rifles (against which a sabre was pretty suicidal). The eponymous firm, meanwhile, was based in Whitstable, Kent – but I can't find a current website for them, so maybe they got slashed. • Spotted: Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Sabre Security Services”, Herne Bay: slashed

“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

“Crimefighter”, Margate: long-lived fist

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

“Oakland Security”, Beckenham: protective tree

"Oakland Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • From burglar alarm acorns grow security system oaks, and unlike the defunct nut-based companies of the last two days, Horsham-based Oakland Security Systems, founded in 1995, is still going strong. I just learned an interesting oak fact on Wikipedia: the reason window blinds often have acorn-shaped pulls is because having an acorn on your windowsill is meant to protect against lightning. Not for any scientific reason, but because in ancient Norse myth, Thor sheltered from a thunderstorm under an oak tree. Which was pretty stupid of him, really – and I thought he was meant to be the thunder god anyway. But maybe that extrapolates to acorns and oaks being seen as protective on burglar alarms – it's certainly quite a popular motif. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham
“Oakland Security”, Beckenham: protective tree

“Cox Security”, Beckenham: apple in Bowieland

"Cox Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Cox - it's an apple, geddit? To me, the logo also looks like a staring eye, which would make it a pun on "the apple of my eye" and thus also qualify it for the "vision" and "monograms" categories. I found a couple of Cox security firms on the internet: Cox Security Solutions Ltd near Milton Keynes, and the wonderfully-named CoxLocks in the Surrey area, which is nearer to Beckenham (which, pathetically, I always associate with David Bowie in his dress-wearing days). But neither has this logo, so it may be some completely different firm. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham [caption id="attachment_11506" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Left, David Bowie in Beckenham (and a dress); right, a cox apple"][/caption]
“Cox Security”, Beckenham: apple in Bowieland

“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

"APT" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • This has a logo of weird broken arrows which I can only assume refers to some kind of circuit diagram. Back in 2004, when I photographed this in Herne Bay, I later wandered past a junk shop which had the APT logo on its fascia. So, unless APT were combining security with a sideline in car boot sales, by that time they had either closed down or moved onwards and upwards. There's still an APT Security in Kent boasting 20 years of experience and a much smarter logo, so maybe it was the latter. • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“APT”, Herne Bay: circuit diagram

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

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

“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery

"Micromark Security Systems" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • I've included this splendid space-age case in the "retro-futurism" category because it's a top piece of 1960s-style sci-fi design, and Micro-Anything, like Anything-Tronic, conjures up the early days of integrated circuits (and yes, that does include Microsoft). I've seen quite a few of these around – they seem to be used by Micromark only – and they're always still in pristine condition. I'd assumed that this was because they were some high-end piece of kit, but having done an image search on Micromark, I've discovered they target the cheap DIY market, as explained in this Guardian article and on this spammy-looking Security System Guide. This and several other Micromark systems (none of which I've spotted in the wild) crop up listed on Amazon and various price comparison sites, but they generally seem to be unavailable, so I'll leave it to the experts to tell me more about this mysterious brand. Bizarrely, there's a YouTube video here of some lad setting up a Micromark alarm on his wardrobe – I doubt that his mother was impressed. • Spotted: Station Road, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Micromark”, Herne Bay: sixties sci-fi DIY mystery

“Raysil”, Birchington-on-Sea: sci-fi Clearasil

"Raysil Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, Birchington-on-Sea • Once again an abstract eye stares out from a diamond-shaped panel, this one less elegant than yesterday's and possibly constructed from a clunky mutated R and Y. Raysil, reminiscent of Clearasil, is an odd name. The word "ray' is always quite sci-fi-sounding, and it's set in what in lesser graphic design circles of the 1980s would have passed for a sci-fi typeface. But I'm wondering if, more prosaically, it's made of two names run together: Ray and Silvia, for instance, or Ray Silver (though my researches show the erstwhile owners, who sold out to a venture capital company in 2008, are not called anything like that). As an aside, can I point out that this hefty, angular sounder is surely one of the ugliest "jewel-shaped" (aka delta) boxes ever made. • Spotted: Town centre, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, CT7, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Raysil”, Birchington-on-Sea: sci-fi Clearasil

“Eagle”, Birchington-on-Sea: clumsy king

"Eagle" burglar alarm, Birchington-on-Sea • The eagle has been seen as king of the birds and a messenger of the gods since ancient times (although there's a bit of a crossover with falcons), and an Apollo Eagle has already featured in the mythology section. This design has an evocative 1960s feel, apt for sleepy Birchington-on-Sea, though the clumsily-drawn eagle looks less like a lord of the air than a delivery owl fresh from Hogwarts. I've also found a version that includes the word "Canterbury", so perhaps that's where it actually comes from. • Spotted: Town centre, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, CT7, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Eagle”, Birchington-on-Sea: clumsy king

“Direct”, Beckenham: terror eyes

"Direct Security" burglar alarm, Beckenham • Aha, there's room on top of this burglar alarm for a really avant-garde pigeon deterrent. Nothing as mundane as spikes, though: how about a pretend owl with a rotating head at £16.99 (below), an ultrasonic sound system for just £880.55, or – barmiest of all – a giant orange balloon with animated "terror eyes", only £70.90? No? Kind of shows why pigeon spikes are so popular. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham Above, barmy so-called bird scarers: swivelly-headed owl, ultrasonic sound system and giant orange "terror eyes" ball
“Direct”, Beckenham: terror eyes

“Initial Shorrock”, Herne Bay: seaside smear

"Initial Shorrock" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • This nasty little smear was found in the seaside town of Herne Bay, so it may have emanated from the rear of a seagull rather than a pigeon – it does look like it was dropped at speed from a great height. Not the world's most exciting piece of birdshit, but one with a smidgeon of irony, as Initial are a vast industrial cleaning company. • Spotted: Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Initial Shorrock”, Herne Bay: seaside smear

“Hurleys Security”, Herne Bay: antarctic beach hut

"Hurleys Security" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • A seasidey logo for a seaside town, with jaunty 1950s-style lettering and what appears to be a beach hut in the key's handle. Some people may think of starlet Elizabeth Hurley when they see this logo, and some may wonder where the apostrophe has gone. I however am reminded of Frank Hurley, the brilliant Australian cinematographer who accompanied Ernest Shackleton's catastrophic 1914 expedition to the South Pole (although after a heroic journey Shackleton, unlike Captain Scott, brought all his men back alive). Hurley recorded all the stunning images of icy strife that help keep the legend alive today, and basically invented the Antarctic documentary – along the way being confined in various snow-bound shacks not unlike the one on the alarm. • Spotted: William Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Hurleys Security”, Herne Bay: antarctic beach hut

“Javes”, Birchington-on-Sea: spider poo

"Javes Intruder Alarms" burglar alarm, Birchington-on-Sea • Rather than beautiful decay, this is colourful but slightly unpleasant decay. It looks as if in the distant past, someone attempted – god knows why – to decorate this rather old burglar alarm with a wicker basket and some dried flowers. Since then it has become a desiccated grime trap, festooned with cobwebs and spider poo (and believe me spiders leave a lot of poo: I have experience of this). Birchington-on-Sea, as its name suggests, is a seriously old-fashioned seaside town, the sort of place Miss Marple would have solved murders in the 1930s. So it's definitely a bit odd. But even so, this burglar alarm decoration is beyond bizarre. • Spotted: Town centre, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, CT7, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North
“Javes”, Birchington-on-Sea: spider poo

“Bluebird Securities”, Beckenham: white cliffs

"Bluebird Securities" burglar alarm, Beckenham"There'll be bluebirds over
/ The white cliffs of Dover / 
Tomorrow, just you wait and see. / There'll be love and laughter / And peace ever after / Tomorrow, when the world is free." In fact lyricist Nat Burton's words never came true, because – as discussed alongside the yellow version of this alarm – bluebirds are only found in North America, home of the song's writers. Which didn't stop this Battle of Britain spirit-raiser becoming a massive UK hit for Vera Lynn in 1942 (not to mention Glen Miller and several other artistes in the US), and remaining Britain's most celebrated WWII song ever since. • Spotted: High Street, Beckenham, Kent, BR3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Beckenham
“Bluebird Securities”, Beckenham: white cliffs

“Judge”, Herne Bay: cross-dressing for justice

Judge burglar alarm Herne Bay 2004"Judge Alarms" burglar alarm, Herne Bay • Ah, a stern British judge in his white powdered wig and shiny black tights – what a reassuring picture of justice. I love this hopelessly literal design, though sadly I don't have an in-focus photo of it. Below the main image is another version which, in an example of perfect product placement, I found on a shop called Chainstore Massacre, offering prices both slaughtered and murdered. These alarms predate the UK's court dress reforms of 2008 (a controversial redesign by Betty Jackson), prior to which the entire British judiciary seemed to ponce around in bizarre 18th Century fancy dress. Things have loosened up since then, but in many circumstances wigging up is still required, and even today a High Court judge dresses like this on special occasions. If you want to follow suit, the actual wigs are available here, yours in dark blonde or light grey for two grand apiece. A snip! • Spotted: High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Thanet North Judge burglar alarm Herne Bay 2004 Judge alarm on Chain Store Massacre shop Herne Bay 2004
“Judge”, Herne Bay: cross-dressing for justice

“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”

Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002“Crimefighter” burglar alarm, Whitstable • There's a nice 1970s feel to this, perhaps inspired by seminal TV cop show The Sweeney – though it’s not clear whether the fist represents a window-smashing felon, or a big fat punch from the long arm of the law. I prefer to think it's the latter, accompanied by Regan and Carter's immortal phrase: "Shut it, you slaaaaag!" • Spotted: Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Canterbury Crime Fighter burglar alarm, Whitstable, 2002
“Crimefighter”, Whitstable: “Shut it, you slaaaag!”