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W1

Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

Nameless portcullis burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, after a year and a half of daily and increasingly martial burglar alarms, we navigate – like Charles Marlow in Heart of Darkness, like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now – ever deeper into the metaphorical thickets of home as castle. And what do we find at the threshold of the gated community? A ruddy great portcullis on a sounder (and it hasn't even got a name). Better than a fat sweaty lunatic in a tent, obviously. • Spotted: Chiltern Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Nameless portcullis alarm, Westminster: gated

“Premier Security Ltd”, Westminster: chillax

"Premier Security Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Phew, what a lot of different Premier burglar alarms there are. Finally, a whizzy silver one with faux futuristic lettering from the UK Prime Minister's home turf of Westminster. A new breed of Conservative premier, perhaps – the pseudo-modern kind that likes to chillax and LOL. • Spotted: Newman Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Premier Security Ltd”, Westminster: chillax

“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

"Securite" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • At first I thought this was some fancy French firm called Securité. However their website reveals it's a 20-year-old UK firm, so the name is probably a play on the less exotic-sounding Secure-right, with the tick accidentally looking like an acute accent, but actually relating to the concept of "right". Whatever, it's the last burglar alarm tick for now, bringing the grand total of this not-very-popular category up to five ticks – pathe-tick! (Groan.) • Spotted: Rathbone Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Securite”, Westminster: secure right

“Swift Alarms Supplies”, Westminster: fast flier

"Swift Alarms Supplies Limited" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • There are billions (approx) of security firms featuring birds, but this is only the second Swift I've found – the other one is here, and is called simply Swift. This looks like the same silhouette and font as on that one, so I reckon it's an older incarnation of the same company which, judging by the 0892 code, was based in the Tunbridge Wells area. The selfsame bird can be found on the current website of  Swift Alarms Group, and indeed it says they started life in Tunbbridge Wells in 1978 as Swift Alarms Supplies Limited, so my guess was right. I should have just gone to their website first... • Spotted: Newman Passage, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Swift Alarms Supplies”, Westminster: fast flier

“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

"Vitesse" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Ooooh la la – this is French for "quickness". The stylish two-tone logo looks straight out of a 1970s Gallic sci fi movie (or maybe off a 1990s Daft Punk CD sleeve), and sports a tick (the mark, not the insect) which, though popular on deodorants, is a rare alarm trope. The box itself is an unusual flattish metal design, the same as this rusty old Mayfair Selby /York Alarm Centre effort. • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Vitesse”, Westminster: ooh la la

“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

"Property Guard" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This wonky sentry was found next to a dingy net-curtained window in the red light area of Soho, so I won't speculate what kind of property his red bulb was was guarding. The sounder looks absolutely ancient, and I have no idea if the company still exists; there's another Property Guard in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but I doubt it's the same firm. After a grand total of six, that's the last "baton" alarm I've found – definitely not a popular shape compared to the roughly contemporaneous Eurobell, and I still don't know what the style is really called. • Spotted: Peter Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Property Guard”, Westminster: wonky sentry

“Glo Bell”, Westminster: self-referential

"Glo Bell" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Sporting Edward Benguiat and Victor Caruso's ever-popular Bauhaus font from 1975, this is the only red "baton" sounder I've ever found. I've seen quite a few newer-style Glo Bell alarms around London, and though I can't find a website for them, the firm is apparently still active – good news, as I always like self-referential bell boxes featuring bells. • Spotted: Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Glo Bell”, Westminster: self-referential

“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

"Bushwood Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Named after both a bush and a wood, this is very botanical, in name if not design. At first I assumed it was titled after the Bushwood area of Leytonstone, near to Epping Forest – an enclave once described as a "hidden gem" by Time Out's property section. But web research suggests Bushwood were a Wandsworth firm who later changed their name to Barking Dog Security (not from Barking, ha ha), whose excellent dog-based sounder I've not featured yet. And now the URL www.bushwoodsecurity.co.uk leads to a sub-site of Crown Security Systems (the one I featured blurrily here), so maybe Crown bought out the original Bushwood. It's all very confusing. • Spotted: Berners Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Bushwood Security”, Westminster: tangled thicket

“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

"Woodlands Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Another bosky firm, Kent-based Woodlands was dissolved in 2005, the year I photographed their sounder (there's a red light at the far right, so it must be still working). Their HQ was in Erith, near to ancient Oxleas Wood and the 89 acre Woodlands Farm (a charitable trust open to all) – which is possibly the source of their name. However their WSS monogram logo isn't very clear, leading the sounder to suggest it belongs to an organisation called "SS" – never a very good look. • Spotted: Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Woodlands”, Westminster: ancient wood

“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

"Response Alarms" burglar alarm, Camden • This style of Response is much more common than yesterday's tricorder, and often has other firms' branding (the Response-branded version being a DIY alarm, I think). In its wavy curvaceousness, the case reminds me of nothing so much as a ladies' shaver. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Response Alarms”, Camden: ladies’ shaver

“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

"Carroll Security Group" burglar alarm, Camden • I featured one of these arched sounders a while back for Nu-Tron, but they're pretty unusual, although I was informed in this comment there's a cache of them around Lyme Regis. This is a good use of the shape, with a professional-looking logo that reads as an S, a C, and also a kind of Yin-Yang symbol (or possibly two entwined maggots). The firm's name is in the font Rockwell, which is very redolent of the 1970s, though this must date from later. • Spotted: Tottenham Mews, Camden, London, W1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Carroll Security Group”, Camden: maggoty arch

“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Camden • A pentagonal rather than triangular Chubb – unusual! You normally only see this shape on Initial and Shorrock alarms, so I'm guessing that when Chubb took them over they retained a few legacy sounders. The screw in the C totally ruins the effect, unfortunately. • Spotted: Charlotte Street, Camden, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Holborn and St Pancras
“Chubb”, Camden: pentagonal imposter

“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

"Evolution (Electronic Security Systems) Ltd" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • I'm being pedantic here, but unlike yesterday's alarm this isn't quite an oval (or ellipse), because the ends are a bit squared off – so it may be a "squoval", a stupid term for a squared-off oval which possibly exists only in the mind of a Wikipedia editor. Whatever, this Evolution box is the sole example of this particular design I've come across, so it's definitely uncommon. The racy phone number, 07000 EVOLUTION, makes it sound like you can ring up and jump forward a gene pool or two – amazing to think that Darwin's "dangerous idea" has now become so commonplace you can even find it on burglar alarms. • Spotted: Little Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Evolution”, Westminster: possibly a squoval

“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

"First Choice" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • So, time for a rather large new category: uncommon shapes. By that I mean sounder covers in shapes that don't crop up that often, either through general unpopularity, or because they're the preserve of one particular firm. Circular sounders aren't rare, but this particular design – a deep cylinder with semi-notched sides – I've only seen used by First Choice, perhaps to match their yin-yang logo. Unsuited as a Buddhist peace symbol may seem to the business of felon-fighting, it's not the only example I've found on a burglar alarm, though the other one may have been a "political statement" as I found it in a radical part of Bristol – I'll publish it one day. • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“First Choice”, Westminster: Buddhist drum

“Kings”, Westminster: lit from within

"Kings" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is a late entrant to the royalty theme, which I found just the other evening. The logo suggests this is the same firm featured here, albeit without the crown. What's incredibly hard to show in a photo is that this sounder's lit up inside, glowing like a beacon in the dark. The photo below shows how it really looked, and the one under that was taken with flash to show the sounder's details. There are lots of these internally lit alarms around these days – it's the latest trend – but the difficulty of photographing in the dark has stopped me from featuring them. • Spotted: Bruton Place, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Kings”, Westminster: lit from within

“Image Security”, Westminster: unattracive pupil

"Image Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Continuing the theme of abstract eyes is this more literal – and far less distinguished – take on the "red warning eye" as featured by Barry Bros yesterday. Note the red strobe, which is far more common than the unusual green one featured a few days ago on this Spy alarm. • Spotted: Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Image Security”, Westminster: unattracive pupil

“Barry Bros”, Westminster: red eye

"Barry Bros" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • An even older Barry Bros alarm than yesterday's, this time with a big red eye and an ancient 071 code, plus a much bigger box. I prefer this red eye to the newer blue ones, because it looks like a warning light. Thankfully this is the last Barry Bros box, as there's not much else to say about them. • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall  
“Barry Bros”, Westminster: red eye

“Barry Bros Security”, Westminster: abstract eye

"Barry Bros Security" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • This is quite a popular firm in central London, and I have come across several versions of their abstract eye design. This is the most recent-looking, although dating back to 2002; it bears the magic word "security", whereas the older ones don't. Barry Bros' rather antiquated website says they were founded in 1945 and are based in Praed Street WC1, opposite Paddington Station; Google Street View shows them as still there, so presumably they still exist. • Spotted: Mortimer Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2002 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Barry Bros Security”, Westminster: abstract eye

Eye sticker, Westminster: creepy graffiti

Nameless burglar alarm with eye sticker, City of Westminster • Ushering in the theme of "vision", which for obvious reasons is one of the most popular burglar alarm tropes, is this rather disturbing example of sticker graffiti. The creepy intervention lurks next to an art gallery (Haunch of Venison, named after the yard it's in) – probably no coincidence. I've discovered the sticker is by a street artist called Paul Insect – a print of a similar image would set you back nearly £700, as you can see here at Opus Art• Spotted: Haunch of Venison Yard, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Eye sticker, Westminster: creepy graffiti

Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

Burglar alarm with name hidden in niche, City of Westminster • A custom alarm niche in swanky New Bond Street, home of London's most expensive niche retailers. The sounder is clinging gecko-like to the roof of a shop doorway, which I happened across while it was undergoing refitting works during the transition from one rip-off fashion emporium to another. And so high class a job was it, that when the builders boarded the doorway up, they even cut out this snug little hand-tailored hole especially for the burglar alarm. • Spotted: New Bond Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
Hidden alarm, Westminster: a hand-tailored hole

“Bluebird Security Systems”, Westminster: harmless

"Bluebird Security Systems" burglar alarm, City of Westminster • Following yesterday's kingfisher, another photorealistic bird. But you won't find a real-life bluebird living wild in the UK, as it's a North American native – an attractive, harmless and beloved creature, regarded sentimentally in the US much as the British view robin redbreast. As such, it's a peculiar choice for a security system; but the charming word Bluebird has been used to title everything from lethal speedboats to school buses to swanky cafes, so it seems fair enough to allow burglar alarms onto that list. • Spotted: Little Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster
“Bluebird Security Systems”, Westminster: harmless