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Lambeth

Masco, Lambeth, 2012

“Masco” burglar alarm, Lambeth • Here it is in happier days. It’s since been removed. • Spotted: Frazier Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Masco, Lambeth, 2012

Chubb, Lambeth, 2012

“Chubb” burglar alarm, Lambeth • Burglar alarms seem to attract sticker graffiti, so starting today, a catch-up of this theme. Balancing on a post near the Southbank Centre’s skateboard hotspot, […]
Chubb, Lambeth, 2012

Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

Bastion Security Systems "Bastion Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I love this Bastion logo – it was clearly designed specifically to fit on a Eurobell, and even has a full stop at the end. And for once the clear cap doesn't have a logo or circuit board beneath it. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Bastion, Lambeth: full stop

Banham, Lambeth: minimal

Banham "Banham" burglar alarm, Lambeth • An even more minimal Banham Eurobell than yesterday's. You could even suspect someone letraseted the logo on to make their security arrangements look posh. • Spotted: Roupell Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Banham, Lambeth: minimal

Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

Apollo Alarms "Apollo Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Found near the Archbishop of Canterbury's gaff at Lambeth Palace, this features un-Christian Apollo, favourite Greek god of burglar alarms. So maybe that triangle of radiating waves is meant to be sunrays, rather than the more usual soundwaves.• Spotted: Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Apollo Alarms, Lambeth: sunrays

Orion Security Solutions, Lambeth: infinite

Orion Security Solutions "Orion Security Solutions" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Maybe this portrays a scene from deep within the Orion constellation – a planet in shadow, with some little moons floating in front of it, all in the infinite blackness of outer space (a fanciful theory somewhat quashed by the fact that Orion do the box in white as well). • Spotted: Beehive Place, Lambeth, London, SW9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood
Orion Security Solutions, Lambeth: infinite

Code, Lambeth: console

Code Security Systems

"Code Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Judging by the logo, I think they mean computer code – the look is very early 1990s console game (or possibly a reject from a gay rave club). • Spotted: Beehive Place, Lambeth, London, SW9, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood

Code, Lambeth: console

Radius, Lambeth: chariot wheel

Radius "Radius" burglar alarm, Lambeth • In classical geometry, the radius of a circle or sphere is the length of a line segment from its center to its perimeter. The name comes from the Latin radius, meaning 'ray', but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. And it's also one of the two sub-elbow arm bones, so called because it rotates around the other one, the ulna. Thanks, Wikipedia! • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Radius, Lambeth: chariot wheel

Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

Altech Security "Altech Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • As in All Tech, perhaps? The black "flag" design works well within this delta shape, though it's a bit weird repeating the name twice. And it makes me think of Back Flag cockroach traps (or Roach Motels as they charmingly call them in the USA). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Altech Security, Lambeth: flag

Prism, Lambeth: refraction

Prism "Prism" burglar alarm, Lambeth • A transparent object which refracts light, from ancient Greek prisma, meaning "something sawed". Also featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP, which this resembles. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Prism, Lambeth: refraction

GSS, Lambeth: extended

GSS Grays "GSS Grays" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I like the way the extended sci-fi-style type of this unexplained  SS-themed acronym fills the whole sounder. Grays Security Systems, perhaps? • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
GSS, Lambeth: extended

AES, Lambeth: rocket

AES "AES" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Kind of a triangular stack going on here, like a rocket of initials with a blast of phone numbers beneath. Fanciful, moi? • Spotted: Secker Street, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
AES, Lambeth: rocket

“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

Hunter "Hunter" burglar alarm, Lambeth • What do hunters do? They shoot things. I rest my shooting-related case. Incidentally, I found this burglar alarm on the side of one of Damian Hirst's many studios, the one where teams of assistants used to make spot paintings for him. He's now had the entire road closed down (thanks, Dame, now I have to make a massive detour!) while the building is turned, at vast expense, into a swanky art gallery and restaurant. So the burglar alarm is no more. • Spotted: Newport Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Hunter”, Lambeth: art shoot

Ghost under “3D”, Lambeth: usurped

Ghost under "3D Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This faint ghost-shadow is pentagonal, which means it's either an occult symbol, or the final traces of a Shorrock. As for the usurping brand 3D, its initials are clearly meant to suggest three dimensions, but also have the less marketing-friendly meaning of "third". • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Ghost under “3D”, Lambeth: usurped

“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

"SOS Security Group" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Although I have a category called "1970s disco", that's for 1970s-looking typography. Whereas this old sounder shares a name with an actual 1970s disco group, The SOS Band – famed mainly for the classic "Just Be good to Me" (which is actually from the early 1980s). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall SOS Band. That's an SOS for the hair police.
“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

"Abba" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Oh yes, an ancient Abba alarm with soundwaves in the background. Named after a Swedish group formed in Stockholm in 1972, or possibly a north London electrical shop I ran across recently, also called Abba. • Spotted: Brayburne Avenue, Lambeth, London SW4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall The other Abba
“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

“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

“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

“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

“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

"Thorn" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Speaking of thorns, as I was yesterday, here's the real thing – a red rose of a sounder sporting the modernist white spike of Thorn electronics. It's one of several variations on the red drum that have existed over the years, in this case notable for not mentioning either Minerva or EMI – see the comment here for the most comprehensive round-up so far. • Spotted: Hatfields, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“Thorn”, Lambeth: white spike

“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

"Access Intruder Alarms Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Another swirly arrow, not as sophisticated as yesterday's, and with a design verging on the basic. Via Google I found a Southampton firm with the same phone number and a similar name and logo, but when I went to their website I found this:

About Access Intruder Systems. Content Coming Soon. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam non tortor purus, in ornare lacus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Morbi a nisl ipsum (etc etc in cod-Latin for quite some time). Call us today to arrange your FREE Survey.

So either they've not finished their website, they provide a bespoke service for Latin speakers, or they're not around any more. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall [caption id="attachment_11273" align="alignnone" width="472" caption="Above: Access Intruder Systems' Latin-speaking website"][/caption]
“Access”, Lambeth: for Latin speakers only

“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

"Hoffman Security" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I've already featured a white Hoffman box here, when I compared its arrow logo to the Dad's Army credits. But the symbol also has more ancient origins: the central four-armed cross is a heraldic mark called the cross barbee, also known as the arrow cross, denoting movement in all directions. In the 1930s it was adopted by the Hungarian fascists, and has since become associated with extremist right wing groups such as the American Nationalist movement. The logo bears an even stronger resemblance to the eight-pointed "Symbol of Chaos" (definitely not something needed on a burglar alarm), a design first doodled  the early 1960s by the writer Michael Moorcock in for his Elric of Melniboné stories and later taken up by role playing games, comic books, heavy metal groups and the like. All connotations which were totally unknown to Hoffman, I'm sure, who in fact based this logo on the joystick controls of a CCTV system. • Spotted: Brixton Road, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood [caption id="attachment_11252" align="alignnone" width="472"] Left, the cross barbee or arrow cross; right, the "symbol of chaos"[/caption]
“Hoffman Security”, Lambeth: symbol of chaos

“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

"Westronics Ltd" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Finally, another un-nameable shape, which is a bit like the body of a sea creature, or less imaginatively a razor. Maybe the ascendancy of these rounded, amorphous shapes over the chunky, straight-edged forms of yore is due to the advent of computer-aided 3D modelling, something achievable on a laptop today but requiring NASA-like processing power not so long ago. The Berkshire family firm behind this box has appropriately space-age roots, having been founded in 1969, year of the first moon landing. That era is reflected in their logo, which I think is a condensed version of Blippo, a font from 1969 based on Bauhaus supremo Herbert Bayer's influential "Universal Typeface" of the 1920s. I note that Westronics no longer uses this design of sounder, as demonstrated by the up-to-date deltas on their official website here. However it remains the only example of this shape I've come across, and I end with it because it also pictures the next theme, a weapon popular with ancient villains and security forces alike – the arrow. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Westronics Ltd”, Lambeth: space-age creature

“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Response alarms are always a convoluted shape, perhaps due to their solar panels. This old example looks like some piece of kit off Star Trek's USS Enterprise – a tricorder, perhaps – and is the only one of its kind I've ever seen. • Spotted: Cornwall Road, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Response Alarms”, Lambeth: convoluted tricorder

“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

"Secom Carroll Security Communication Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • And my final Carroll for now, after being taken over by Secom – which happened in 1989, according to the comment here. This is before Secom had their current logo or weird plug boxes, but it's still an unusual shape – a wedgey square with double grilles on each side. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Secom Carroll”, Lambeth: wedgie dual grille

“Monarch”, Lambeth: dribbly digital throwback

"Monarch Security Services" burglar alarm, Lambeth • I started the royalty theme with a Monarch, so I'll end with one. I don't know if this is the same firm, and as it's long pre-internet I can't find out, but it's the most sorry example of a regal alarm so far – faded and dribbly and with a design that makes no reference to the lofty name. Instead, it's in a style that's come to be known as "retro-futurism", that is to say designs which were originally an attempt to look futuristic but now look poignantly dated – like this alarm's imitation seven-segment LED font, recalling the days when pocket calculators cost 200 quid. With renewed interest in film cameras, vinyl records and 8-bit video games, retro-futurism is much in vogue these days. I'd hate to see burglar alarms left out of a fashion craze, so coming next... retro-futurism! • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Monarch”, Lambeth: dribbly digital throwback

“Regal Security Systems”, Lambeth: vintage village

"Regal Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Many moons ago I featured a Regal sticker which had taken over the shadowy running man on an RH Alarms box. And here's another, probably older design, that's been slapped over an ancient bell box whose name even the magic of Photoshop can't reveal. I found it in the fascinating warren of decaying covered markets that weaves beneath Brixton's railway lines like a multi-ethnic souk. It's now been reinvented as "Brixton Village" and, amidst a tangle of units selling everything from "cheap gold" to goats' heads, is home to a swathe of excellent pop-up eateries, from one of which I took this photo. True to its dodgy reputation, the area is positively bristling with burglar alarms, many as vintage as this one. So although I'm not keen to wander the Coldharbour Lane backstreets with an expensive camera – or even without one, for that matter – I'll be back. Preferably with tactical air cover. • Spotted: Market Row, Brixton, Lambeth, London SW9, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Dulwich and West Norwood
“Regal Security Systems”, Lambeth: vintage village

Nameless alarms, Lambeth: anonymous fortress

Nameless burglar alarms, Lambeth • Whereas yesterday's burglar alarms really were an art installation, these just look like one. They suddenly appeared atop a cute little renovated industrial block near where I live, back in the heady days when people were still redeveloping things and, for some reason, painting them all shiny blue. Given the building resembles a shoebox-sized concrete fortress, with apparently no windows, I'm surprised it needs one alarm, let alone four, though their anonymity at least matches the unit's inscrutable appearance. • Spotted: Carlisle Lane, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Nameless alarms, Lambeth: anonymous fortress

“Securaplace Alarms”, Lambeth: graphics 101

"Securaplace Alarms" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This badly-drawn house appears to have a giant rapper's neck-chain dropped over it. Meanwhile the lettering breaks rule 101 of typography: don't use script fonts in all upper case. And definitely not vertically. All in all, not a triumph of graphic design. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Securaplace Alarms”, Lambeth: graphics 101

“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

"Eros Security Systems" burglar alarm, Lambeth • After a couple of sensible mythological burglar alarms, we're back to the bonkers ones. Eros? What on earth has Eros, Greek god of sexual love, got to do with security services? And anyway, this looks more like his boyish Roman counterpart Cupid, who was often portrayed as younger than the fully-formed teenage Eros. The resemblance to the Evening Standard's venerable logo makes me think this is a reference to the so-called Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus, that icon of tourist London. However, hard though it is to believe, what Wikipedia says about Alfred Gilbert's piece of high Victorian camp is true. I've double-checked, and the statue that stands surrounded by the horrible hurly burly of Piccadilly is not intended to be Eros, but his butterfly-winged twin brother Anteros, who was associated with selfless and requited love (although he sounds like a half-baked deity the Greeks made up to impress the Romans). For all its faults, this silly, cheeky alarm is one of my all-time favourites – so naughty Cupid has worked his mischievous magic. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Eros and his twin in London. Top left: "Eros Stringing His Bow", a Roman copy of a Greek statue at the British MuseumTop right: ''The Angel of Christian Charity'' aka "The Shaftesbury Memorial" (1893) by Alfred Gilbert at Picadilly Circus, colloquially known as the Eros statue, but actually depicting his selfless twin bro Anteros. Above: London's familiar Evening Standard "Eros" logo (recently dropped from their masthead), which depicts the Piccadilly Circus statue and is therefore actually Anteros.
“Eros Security Systems”, Lambeth: crazy love god

“AFA Minerva EMI”, Lambeth: warrior woman

"AFA Minerva EMI" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This is one of only three burglar alarms I've found featuring women, the others being Siren and Liberty. Minerva was the multi-talented pan-Italian goddess of poetry, medicine, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic and music, but primarily of wisdom. Only in Rome was she considered, like her Greek prototype Athena, a goddess of war – an idea the Roman Empire exported, hence her regular appearance sporting helmet and spear, and her suitability for burglar alarms. In Britain she was conflated with Bath's local deity Sulis, and the famous thermal baths there are dedicated to her. Britain also has Western Europe's only Athena shrine remaining in situ, an extremely worn structure carved into the side of a quarry near Chester. Mythology apart, I'm interested in the big red drum, which is also associated with Thorn, on whom I wrote a corporate history here. I know Thorn were absorbed by EMI, who clearly took over AFA Minerva too. But though I've seen vintage sounders saying simply AFA, I've never seen one saying AFA Minerva without the EMI at the bottom, or a standalone Minerva alarm. I'd be interested to know some more about the histories of AFA and Minerva – perhaps one of the burglar alarm fraternity can shed some light on this. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Above: Images of Minerva – warlike, wise, and popular in Britain. Left: a no-nonsense, helmet-toting Minerva from the destroyed city of Herculanum, near Pompeii. Above right: head of Sulis Minerva found in 1727 in Bath, and now displayed at the Roman Baths there. Below right: Minerva's very worn-out shrine in Edgar's Field, Handbridge, near Chester.
“AFA Minerva EMI”, Lambeth: warrior woman

“Lander Alarms”, Lambeth: sepia symphony

"Lander Alarms" burglar alarm, Southwark • Depending on how you look at it, urban decay can be grotty or beautiful, and I err on the side of the latter. I got into documenting burglar alarms via photographing old buildings, and there's nothing I like more than a faded, forgotten corner – which is of course the vintage alarm's natural habitat. This photo looks like I hit the "sepia" button, but the scene really was these colours – even the Lander logo had faded to brown. It's above an arch of the immense railway viaduct which snakes south of the Thames from Bermondsey via London Bridge and Waterloo to Vauxhall. A lot of the arches have become quite smart and trendy (no bad thing if you live in the area), but happily this backwater of Lambeth still sports some authentic picturesque grubbiness. • Spotted: Newport Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Lander Alarms”, Lambeth: sepia symphony

“Banham”, Lambeth: posh alarm, rough niche

"Banham" burglar alarm, Lambeth • This is brilliant – a posh Banham alarm in the most rough-and-ready bespoke niche. I found it on the wall of Pimlico Plumbers, who despite their toney SW1 name are located in the distinctly less upmarket area of Kennington, on the other side of the River Thames. • Spotted: Sail Street, Lambeth, London, SE11, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
“Banham”, Lambeth: posh alarm, rough niche

“Minder”, Lambeth: knackered nuclear device

Minder burglar alarm Lambeth 2011"Minder" burglar alarm, Lambeth • With its red button light and circuit-laced dial, this it looks like the decaying control panel for some superannuated nuclear device, and is the first of this design I've come across. I only found it yesterday, on some railway arches near one of Damien Hirst's many studios; if I'd discovered it earlier I'd have posted it after the Crime Fighter alarm, whose graphics so reminded me of The Sweeney's opening credits. Comedy crime caper Minder was Euston Films' equally classic follow-up, and also starred Dennis Waterman, albeit on the other side of the law – he played Terry McCann, minder of small-time spiv Arthur Daley, for those too young to remember. Minder was big in the 1980s, and though I'm no expert in electronics, the antique wiring on display here appears of the same vintage as Tel-boy's Ford Capri, and the graphics even older. I only hope Damien Hirst appreciates having such an unusual vintage alarm box opposite his premises. • Spotted: Newport Street, Lambeth, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Minder burglar alarm Lambeth 2011
“Minder”, Lambeth: knackered nuclear device

“Detection Protection”, Lambeth: dated doggerel

Detection Protection burglar alarm Lambeth 2009"Detection Protection" burglar alarm, Lambeth • What can I say? Like all the other detection themed alarms, dull, dull dull – and ancient, and faded, and cheaply done – exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a road called Lower Marsh (believe it or not, there's an Upper Marsh, too). But at least it rhymes! • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall Detection Protection burglar alarm Lambeth 2009
“Detection Protection”, Lambeth: dated doggerel