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West Sussex

Be-Sure, East Grinstead: oomph

Be-Sure "Be-Sure" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • These Eurobells seem to attract very basic design, but at least this one has some oomph – and I love the reassuring name. • Spotted: Queens Walk, East Grinstead, West Sussex,  England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
Be-Sure, East Grinstead: oomph

Jupiter Alarms, East Grinstead: chief deity

Jupiter Alarms "Jupiter Alarms" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Large planet, though not red (that's Mars), so maybe the rosy blob is one of its 67-odd moons, the reddish  Io. The planet is named after Iuppiter, chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras – he's often represented by a thunderbolt, also popular on burglar alarms. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
Jupiter Alarms, East Grinstead: chief deity

Abacus, East Grinstead: depleted

Abacus "Abacus" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Today I move on to maths and computing with the oldest computer of all, an abacus – known to ancient Mesopotamians long before burglar alarm engineers got in on the act. Loving the way the A is actually made out of a (somewhat bead-depleted) abacus on this. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
Abacus, East Grinstead: depleted

“Lingfield Alarm Supplies”, East Grinstead: local

Lingfield Alarm Supplies Co Ltd "Lingfield Alarm Supplies Co Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • An attractive building-block monogram for what sounds like a small local company, yet I also found an ancient LAS sounder in Bath once - which is rather a long way from Lingfield on the sleepy Surrey border. Maybe it's one of those DIY jobbies. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Lingfield Alarm Supplies”, East Grinstead: local

“Absolute Security”, East Grinstead: bricky battlements

"Absolute Security (Surrey)" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Is it just my imagination, or are there a disproportionately high number of militia-related alarms in the deep Surrey "stockbroker belt" (quaint term in these days of rapacious bankers) of Dorking and East Grinstead? Whatever, this faded sounder showing two bricky little battlements was old when I photographed it in 2004, so I reckoned the company wouldn't be around any more. But an internet search throws up an Absolute Security in Surrey of 20 years standing, so despite a distinct lack of fortifications on their website, I reckon it's the same firm. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Absolute Security”, East Grinstead: bricky battlements

“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

"Ambassador" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • With this fancy logo, Ambassador, you are spoiling us. In real life, an ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation, and this fine heraldic logo matches up. Faded Ambassador sounders of many types bearing this shield still abound, although the company itself exists no longer, as the comments here diplomatically explain. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Ambassador”, East Grinstead: fancy diplomacy

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This Admiral's taken over another alarm – I'm guessing, from the style and colour of the box, that it's an A1. Just a thought: if Admiral merged with Abel, they'd be Admirable. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: admirable

“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

"Admiral Security Systems Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Perfectly placed on a half-timbered beam, another bigwig from East Grinstead, where I like to think plenty of real retired admirals reside. The rank of Admiral dates from 1297, and the simple logo belongs to a 1992-founded firm whose sounders I spot all over the place. The red-and-white scheme is appropriate, as an Admiral's flag is the similarly-hued St George's Cross. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Admiral Security Systems”, East Grinstead: red flag

“Premier”, East Grinstead: head of state

"Premier" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • After sundry aristocrats and yesterday's military dictator, our bigwigs are getting a bit more democratic. In many countries a premier is a head of state, and in some of those states – such as Britain – it's interchangeable with the term Prime Minister. This handsome blue sounder comes from the deeply conservative town of East Grinstead (as quite a few of my bigwig alarms do), and could conceivably date back to the days of John Major, so I reckon it's a Tory premier. • Spotted: High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Premier”, East Grinstead: head of state

“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

"SP" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Poignantly faded in true seaside style, this shows a pair of sensitively-painted disembodied hands, in the manner of a Latin American devotional retablo, cupping the anonymous initials "SP" between them. It's an old alarm, and a minimal name to search on: there are quite a few SP security firms on various business directories, but I can't find one from southern England, so presumably these caring hands are defunct. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“SP”, East Grinstead: caring mitts

“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

"Carroll Security" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This must be an earlier version of yesterday's Carroll, as it looks like metal and they aren't yet a "Group". It's a more geometrical version of yesterday's logo, again professional, and surely designed in the 1970s. Once again it's an unusual sounder shape, this time like a badly-cult wedge of cheese. I used to think this was to fit the sloping roof, but I've seen others on flat walls since and they all have the same slanting box. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Carroll Security”, East Grinstead: badly-cut wedge

“Monarch”, East Grinstead: bring on the crowns

"Monarch Security & Fire" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • Well, amazingly I've managed to keep this blog going for a whole year, and after posting north of 365 different burglar alarms I still have a vast amount yet to feature (don't all cheer at once). So, seeing as it's a leap year, here's to the next 366 alarms. But I do actually have a bit of a life too (just a bit), so from today I've changed the format slightly in order that I don't always have to write so much about each one. I'll still be posting in series of themes, as taxonomy was always the point of this blog, and I'll introduce each theme as before. But, if I haven't got anything to much say about a particular alarm – other than that it fits within the genre – then I'll keep it very brief. I would still appreciate comments however, and will be reading them all avidly and answering where appropriate as I do now. Following on from yesterday's vintage Royale, the first theme of 2012 is "Royalty" – which, as well as being appropriate for this jubilee year, is one of the security world's most enduringly popular tropes, preferably accompanied, as here, by a hefty old crown. Oh, and notice the aptly regal address – not the last I'll feature, as royal British road names aren't exactly rare. • Spotted: Queens Walk, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid 
“Monarch”, East Grinstead: bring on the crowns

“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

"Abel Alarm" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • According to the Bible, Abel was the world's first murder victim, being the son of Adam and Eve who was slain by his brother Cain. This firm's memorable name is definitely a reference to the event, as recorded in this article I came across by an Abel employee. In it, the company's boss Peter Eyre explains that when he launched the firm in 1965, he wanted a name that would sit atop all alphabetical lists. "So obviously I was looking at AA," he is quoted as saying, "but that had already gone! Therefore, I picked up the Oxford Dictionary and came across Abel – who was the slayer of Cain. I thought that it was good to have a religious connection. In addition, the name Abel is at the top of the list…A followed by B. It infers and sounds like an alarm bell – A Bell! To sum up we as a company are very able…so that was it, I got it registered." So the name is Abel, able, alphabetical and a bell – which is all very clever, but maybe the interview was wrongly transcribed, because Abel didn't kill Cain, he was killed by him, becoming an eternal symbol of martyrdom. Whatever, my favourite placing of this biblical classic is above a door in Church Walk, shown below. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid Above: an old example of the biblical alarm aptly placed in Church Walk, Rugby
“Abel”, East Grinstead: biblical victim

“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

"Security Centres" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • Security Centres must have been a big firm once, as there are still plenty of their sounders around London, all pretty old. This is one of the more recent examples, and shows the lightning flash much better than yesterday's rusty and faded box. Shoreham's meant to be quite posh, and has a weird 1930s "millionaire's row" down by the seafront, home to Fatboy Slim and David Walliams amongst others; but most of the area is dominated by a really grim dockyard, which is exactly the sort of place you'd expect to find an electrified portcullis. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Security Centres”, Shoreham: electrified portcullis

“Panther Security”, East Grinstead: mutant eyebrow

"Panther Security" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • For years I didn't spot the "P" in the eye here, and was racking my brains as to what the full word could be – "ANTHEM" was my best (and wrong) guess. Then recently I came across this more recent version: lo and behold there was a letter “P” in the eye, so the firm is of course Panther. Although real panthers don't have eyebrows. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Panther Security”, East Grinstead: mutant eyebrow

“Euroscan Security”, East Grinstead: plucky move

"Euroscan Security Ltd" burglar alarm, East Grinstead• Now, in the never-ending procession of eyes, I move on to typographic treatments. This one is quite clever, though invoking the continent is a plucky move in this swathe of deeply traditional stockbroker belt, which is represented in parliament by Tory grandee Nicholas Soames, the portly grandson of Winston Churchill. And referencing the Euro isn't exactly reassuring to anyone these days. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Euroscan Security”, East Grinstead: plucky move

“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

"Wakefield Security & Fire" burglar alarm, Shoreham-by-Sea • A while ago I published an old Wakefield alarm with unfair accusations of sleepiness – so here's a more up-to-date example, which is very wakeful indeed. It's also one of only a four sounders I have found decorated with photographic images, the others being two birds and a chain. This looks like something out of a surrealist film, and is almost as unnerving as yesterday's creepy eye sticker. The firm's proprietor, in a comment below, explains that there's also a globe reflected in the eye's iris, though sadly it's not visible in this photo. • Spotted: Town centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Wakefield Security & Fire”, Shoreham-by-Sea: surreal

“Wakefield”, Worthing: Sleepfield, more like

"Wakefield" burglar alarm, Worthing • Sleepfield, more like: this was found in West Worthing, which is even more snorey than its dozy neighbour "main" Worthing, mobility scooter capital of the world. Back in 2003 digital cameras weren't up to much and I wasn't taking burglar alarms too seriously, hence the extreme blurriness, but you can just about make out a chain containing the initials WSS at the top. I'd like to get a better shot of this, and Google Street View, though usually a couple of years out of date, shows it as still there. So maybe I'm in luck – assuming I can be bothered to go back to Worthing. My brother (who tweets very amusingly about the underbelly of South Coast life as @LordScumland) lives there, so maybe I will. • Spotted: Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11, England, 2003 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Worthing West
“Wakefield”, Worthing: Sleepfield, more like

“Lock-It Security”, East Grinstead: big-bulbed classic

"Lock-It Security Maidstone" burglar alarm, East GrinsteadEast Grinstead is just as excellent for ancient alarms as Old Coulsdon (well, both are in the Domesday book), and here provides proof that all-text alarms don't have to be boring by hosting this a lovely vintage box with a big red bulb and well-arranged type in one of my favourite fonts, Cooper Black. Which sounds a bit pathetic, but I'm sure other graphic designers will know what I mean. • Spotted: Middle Row, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Lock-It Security”, East Grinstead: big-bulbed classic

“The Lock Centre”, Chichester: nerdy day trip

"The Lock Centre Alarm" burglar alarm, Chichester • A charming old piece of sunbleached script further enhanced by artistic rust, or possibly mould – totally evocative of the weatherbeaten and folorn marina where it resided. I wish I'd been able to get directly in front of it, as I dislike side-on shots like this. I stumbled across it during a friend's unsuccessful quest to find Farthings, TV astronomer Sir Patrick Moore's thatched Selsey home (in a spirit of fandom, not stalking). What a totally nerdy day out. • Spotted: Marina area, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Chichester
“The Lock Centre”, Chichester: nerdy day trip

“Thorn”, East Grinstead: prim and proper

"Thorn" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • I've already recounted the tangled corporate history of the modernist Thorn alarms, which you'll find here. This 1970s-designed Thorn is protruding through the twee terracotta tiles of a no doubt historic roof, from which – East Grinstead being a prim and proper kind of place – the proud homeowner has cut a neat circular niche to accommodate their big red anti-burglar device. • Spotted: London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Thorn”, East Grinstead: prim and proper

“Swift”, East Grinstead: they make spit-nests!

"Swift" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • I've got a few Swift alarms of varing designs, but this is the only one with the image of a bird, so the others presumably just refer to a speedy response. And the common swift pictured (rather badly) here really is fast, capable of 134mph speed-bursts, though preferring to cruise at a legal 30mph. The only bird known to mate while flying, its burglar alarm credentials include spending all night on the wing, and repelling nest intruders with vicious fighting and screeching. On the other hand it disappears to warmer climes for eight months of the year, so it's not the most constant of guardians. True fact: that cliche of Chinese cuisine, bird's nest soup, is made from the gluey saliva of cave swifts, which they use to construct cup-like nests. So popular and pricey is this delicacy that the swift spit-nests are now industrially farmed. Eeeuuuw. • Spotted: High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Swift”, East Grinstead: they make spit-nests!

“Modern Alarms”, East Grinstead: faded optimism

"Modern Alarms" burglar alarm, East Grinstead • This week I'm looking at what I think of as Modernist burglar alarms: those with an unusual rigour of form and branding. They are few in number, and seem mainly to have been bespoke designs for big companies. They also tend to be old, with minimalist design styles recalling the 1970s – before the sloppy post-modernism of the 1980s kicked in, and before purist geometrical boxes were supplanted by fiddly plastic faceting. So where else to start but with Modern Alarms, whose superb name and logo date from the mid-1970s, when the firm's boss, the late Dennis Smith, had it rebranded from Modern Automatic Alarms. It is housed in the classic Eurobell "coke cap" case, designed by Colin Marsh for the Middlesex-based company Scantronic, who specialised in mid- to high-end security equipment (thanks to Richard Wilson for that info). Modern Alarms went on to use a variety of other cases, but they were always of simple form, solid yellow, and with the logo unchanged and well-placed. There are plenty of examples still to be found around London (and doubtless elsewhere), but Modern they are no more: most are sadly faded and effaced, often resulting in wonderful architectural compositions lent a rueful irony by the sunny optimism of that now-decaying name. • Spotted: High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19, England, 2004 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Sussex Mid
“Modern Alarms”, East Grinstead: faded optimism