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Yorkshire

Chubb, York: branding

NoName (Chubb) "Chubb" burglar alarm, York • And finally, to reinforce yesterday's point, another example of the classic blue triangle. This one's gone completely rusty, apart from its wee strobey hat  – but you can still tell it was a Chubb. How's that for branding? • Spotted: Stonegate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Chubb, York: branding

Abel, York: label

“Abel” burglar alarm, York • Bit of a cheat, because this is just a triangular label. And it’s not even that triangular. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 […]
Abel, York: label

Safeway Security, York: triangles

Safeway Security "Safeway Security" burglar alarm, York • Starting today: some examples of the very popular burglar alarm trope of triangles, often allied with monograms. This one's not to be confused with a certain supermarket. • Spotted: Burton Stone Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Safeway Security, York: triangles

Orion, York: multi-faceted

Orion "Orion" burglar alarm, York • Ah, the multi-faceted Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology who has lent his name to a region of the night sky, the Lunar Module used in the Apollo 16 mission, NASA's Space Shuttle replacement, a brace of space stations, and vast amounts of other scientific and astronomical things too. Not to mention a burglar alarm. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
Orion, York: multi-faceted

HPS, Sheffield: sideways

HPS "HPS" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Blimey, not exactly the world's most inspired logo. And either the box or the label is on sideways... • Spotted: Union Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
HPS, Sheffield: sideways

“Waveney”, Sheffield: wavy

"Waveney" burglar alarm, Sheffield • The River Waveney separates Norfolk and Suffolk, and meanders through the Norfolk Broads. Although I found this sounder in Sheffield, some considerable distance away, the wavy logo suggests it is indeed named after the eponymous waterway. • Spotted: Queen Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Above: the River Waveney at Beccles, not Sheffield
“Waveney”, Sheffield: wavy

“Aptek”, Hull: fairgroundy

"Aptek" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • You'll have to squint to see this – it's a tiny wire globe top right, with the initials AP in it. Quite an attractive logo actually, if more fairgroundy than burglar-alarmy. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Aptek”, Hull: fairgroundy

“Guardian Security”, Hull: James Bond

"Guardian Security (Hull)" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Now we move from guards to guardians, an altogether gentler-sounding concept. This one's a mysterious figure with a touch of menace – and a hint of James Bond in the logo. Because James Bond always hangs out in Hull. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Guardian Security”, Hull: James Bond

“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

"Sentry Alarms Limited" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • It's not just the Queen who's guarded by blokes in giant furry hats – they're very popular on burglar alarms, as we shall see. The one above is on a blameless wall in Hull, but here's one I featured earlier that was decorating a brothel (seriously). • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Sentry Alarms”, Hull: furry hat

“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

"MOD Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps named to suggest the suitably militaristic Ministry of Defence, this sounder also recalls the 1960s Mod subculture, a bunch of youths noted for smart suits, flashy Italian motor scooters, and love of fighting greasy rockers on the beaches of southern England. So, not a pop group exactly, but represented by many 1960s bands such as the sharply-dressed Who and Small Faces – and, in 1980s revivalist form, The Jam. • Spotted: Alma Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Some mods. Who are also The Who.
“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

"Black Box Security" burglar alarm, YorkBlack Box were a model-fronted Italian house music group famous for "Ride on Time", the UK's best-selling single of 1989. There was also a weird 90s group called Black Box Recorder, run by Luke Haines of cult indie band The Auteurs, but I prefer Italian House myself. • Spotted: Gillygate, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central Black Box non-security
“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: glum

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Yet another glum shield from the creators of the previous two sounders – hardly inspiring enough to warrant a three-strong showing, but benefiting from the fact that I just want to get rid of every shield variation I have • Spotted: Eldon Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: glum

“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: twingo bingo

"Shield Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • And so – ta da – we make a slight return to yellow shields. I wonder if this is any relative of the brace of vintage yellow Shields I published a week ago? It has the same typeface as this old Shield Security System sounder. All these shield sounders are kind of like burglar alarm Twingo Bingo. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shield Alarms”, Sheffield: twingo bingo

“Citadel”, York: Pooterish connection

"Citadel" burglar alarm, York • In the curiously timeless 1892 comic novel Diary of a Nobody, "my own citadel" was how Mr Pooter grandiosely described his home, a modest Victorian villa constantly rattled by passing trains. Not so different from where I found this, then: and if burglar alarms been invented in his day, Mr Pooter would definitely have had one. • Spotted: Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Citadel”, York: Pooterish connection

“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

"Baymont Alarms York" burglar alarm, York • At last, a portcullis attached to an actual, realistic building: a bit of York's ancient city walls, no doubt, or some local fortress. I thought Baymont sounded like a place, but it doesn't seem to be, so maybe it's someone's name. • Spotted: Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Baymont Alarms”, York: city wall

Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

Nameless burglar alarm with Roman soldier, Sheffield • This is the most violent sounder image I have: an anonymous Roman legionary unashamedly going about a ferocious felon-stabbing – or possibly ritual disembowelling – with a calm, impassive expression on his face. Either he's a robot, a la Westworld, or he's simply a psychopath. Burglars beware! • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
Nameless Roman soldier alarm, Sheffield: stabby

“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

"Shef-Guard" burglar alarm, Sheffield • More giant house-caring hands: this pair is either cradling a family home or crushing Noah's ark. The local geographical reference in the name is nice – suggesting it's specifically the citizens of Sheffield whom long-established Shef-Guard have been shielding for the last 25 years. • Spotted: Norfolk Row, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Shef-Guard”, Sheffield: local cradling

“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

"Scamp Security Hull" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • One red arrow pointing in, three green arrows pointing out – perhaps representing a burglar being caught by three scamps. Let's face it, SCAMP is an odd acronym, but the Hull-based family firm still exists, so thanks to their website I know it stands for "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols". Or, in full, the double-secure "Security Control, Alarm Monitoring and Patrols Security". Apparently the company was established in 1962 and changed its name to SCAMP Security in 1986, but what the original name was isn't mentioned. Doubtless it was shorter. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“Scamp Security”, Hull: odd acronym

“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

"Chubb" burglar alarm, Sheffield • After yesterday's unusual pentagonal Chubb, here's the classic equilateral triangle version. Not an uncommon design per se as there are lots of Chubbs around, but it's a one-firm shape, and the sharp-cornererd metal vintage ones like this are starting to rust into oblivion, normally from the bottom edge up – maybe the design causes rainwater  to collect there. • Spotted: Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Chubb”, Sheffield: rusty equilateral triangle

“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

"Wilkin Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ovals sounders aren't totally rare, but they're uncommon enough to include here as I've only found about four firms using them. All were this specific design, though one had a white rather than blue panel at the back. It's possibly an ellipse rather than an oval, but I don't have enough maths to understand what the difference is. I featured a virulent yellow guano-streaked Wilkin sounder here a while back – this is obviously a newer design. • Spotted: Wellington Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: oval or ellipse?

“King Security”, Sheffield: Jason King, that is

"King Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Only a small crown for this bell box, whose design recalls a kind of 1960s retro-grooviness, or possibly cheap frozen food packaging. It somehow makes me think of hirsute '70s TV detective Jason King: that's him, down below. • Spotted: Wicker, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Above: Peter Wyngarde, plus inadvisable facial hair, as Jason King. Calm down, ladies!
“King Security”, Sheffield: Jason King, that is

“Abbey Alarm Systems”, York: mystery monastery

"Abbey Alarm Systems" burglar alarm, York • Monkish bell boxes abound around York: this firm is based in nearby Selby, home to one of the few English abbeys that Henry VIII didn't smash up when he booted out the Catholics to gain multiple shagging / beheading rights. So presumably the building is meant to be Selby Abbey, though the silhouette looks nothing like it. Saddo that I am, I have Google image-searched the abbeys of England and found no match anywhere; in fact to my untutored eye it looks Germanic, so maybe it's just random clip-art. It's not even the same abbey used on Abbey's Alarm Systems' non-functional "under construction" page, which at least is Selby Abbey. Woo hoo! • Spotted: Newborough Terrace, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Abbey Alarm Systems”, York: mystery monastery

“Minster Alarms”, York: monster minster

"Minster Alarms" burglar alarm, York • Minster, a word dating from Saxon times and derived from the Latin for "monastery", is an honorific title for an important church. Minster Alarms are scattered all over York, so we can assume they refer to the monster minster looming up behind yesterday's Monks alarm – namely York Minster, one of northern Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals, whose foundations date back to Roman times. These days it houses the C of E's number two boss, the Archbishop of York; cleric number one lives in London, despite being known as the Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact he's a near neighbour of mine, being based at Lambeth Palace in SE1, but I've never been invited round for tea... • Spotted: Grape Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Minster Alarms”, York: monster minster

“Monks”, York: monastic habits

"Monks Security Systems" burglar alarm, York • There's a pretty unambiguous Christian reference here, although the Monks family behind Monks Security are unlikely to be descended from real friars, as the Domesday-era surname was more usually a nickname for those with monastic looks or habits (no pun intended). Their supposed celibacy means real monks were unlikely to have heirs to bear this name, although in early medieval days monastics were allowed families, so it's not impossible. Aptly, this was found right outside the massive ecclesiastical edifice that is York Minster, though I couldn't frame a shot with the cathedral in the background. But there's a burglar alarm with it on tomorrow. • Spotted: Minster Gates, York, Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Monks”, York: monastic habits

“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

"C&H Alarms" and nameless burglar alarm, Sheffield • Finally, not exactly a multiple, but such a nice pairing it looks deliberate – a fancy new C&H sounder on a charming pink wall, showing up its plain-faced companion on dowdy unpainted bricks, united by the curlicued Myrtles plaque, hovering like some protective Victorian auntie. (I'm wasted here – I should be writing hackneyed romantic fiction, not burglar alarm descriptions.) I found them near Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, on an enforced tour of various football grounds – always fertile ground for burglar alarms too, fortunately. • Spotted: Parkside Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

“CamWatch”, Sheffield: prayer pomegranate

"CamWatch" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Ah, the modern world – up until now eyes have been watching from the vision-themed burglar alarms, but today it's a camera. However, there may be observation from a higher power still, for this is situated on Sheffield's Old Synagogue, a striking Victorian Gothic building rearing up from a narrow side-street near the cathedral. My photo of the frontage (below) doesn't really do it justice; it's carved with Hebrew inscriptions and topped with a stone pomegranate, whose 613 seeds represent the number of laws in the first five books of the Bible. By the 1950s it had become a warehouse for the woollen trade and later a hairdressing supplier, and is now restored as office space. There's a bit more info about its warehouse days half way down this rambling discussion thread, and an article on Sheffield's symbolically carved buildings – including the pomegranate – here. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“CamWatch”, Sheffield: prayer pomegranate

“Crism”, Sheffield: concrete poetry

"Crism" burglar alarm, Sheffield • A piece of concrete poetry, no less. I haven't got a subscription to the OED (never thought a burglar alarm blog would necessitate one), so can't check if it's a real word – but I suspect it isn't. And even if it was, in Scrabble it would only get you a weedy 9 points. To continue the poetry theme, the only rhymes are "prism" (from which it is doubtless derived) and "schism", so it's probably pronounced "Krizzum", though I'm not stalkerish enough to ring them and see how they say it when they answer the phone. I guessed it was a firm run by someone called Chris M, and checking their website find this is indeed the case. Which would surely be "ChrisM" (note the upper-case M, and being one letter away from "Christ"), but perhaps that's a bit too avant-garde, even for Sheffield. • Spotted: Campo Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Crism”, Sheffield: concrete poetry

“Swat Selby”, York: digital snooping

"Swat Selby" burglar alarm, York • Another mysterious SWAT alarm, this time with a bulb and a fancier "AT" monogram than yesterday's. I've been googling SWAT and still can't find out much about them: their website is just a holding page saying "coming soon", which could date from any time in the last few years. It bears this swirly "AT" rather than yesterday's clunky effort, so maybe this is the more recent alarm, though it looks pretty ancient. I came across quite a few old SWAT sounders in York, but no new-looking ones, so whether the firm still exists I don't know. I suppose I could ring the number on their website's holding page, but I haven't reached that sorry stage yet, so restricted myself to digital snooping. On one of myriad business aggregator pages (which is where businesses go to die) SWAT turn up on there was a positive review from 2010 – possibly an insider job – saying they were a long-established family firm. I also visited their address on Google Street View, but there was no sign of them there, although as it's a multiple-occupancy business centre, that doesn't prove anything. So all I have learnt is that Selby – which I had never heard of before – has an abbey, lies beside the River Ouse, and looks as if it's falling down. • Spotted: Grape Lane, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Swat Selby”, York: digital snooping

“Swat Selby”, York: mystery bird

"Swat Selby" burglar alarm, York • They like birds in York: yesterday a raven, today a hummingbird. Although the "SW" in "SWAT" suggests it's a swift. Or a swallow. Yes, I think it's a swallow – hovering over the badly-drawn monogram "AT" rather than a nest. In Selby. As swallows do. I wonder if SWAT is intended as a verb – as in swat all pesky burglars – or as an acronym, as in its original meaning of "Special Weapons and Tactics" (which would be rather exciting in smalltown Selby) or, more locally, "Selby's Wonderful Alarm Technologists"? All very mysterious. • Spotted: Low Petergate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Swat Selby”, York: mystery bird

“Raven”, York: common thief

"Raven Security & Automation Ltd" burglar alarm, York • To round off a couple of weeks of hawkish birds, here are a few more arbitrary birds I've come across since the last lot. Raven is a generic name for various large members of the corvid or crow family, of which the Common Raven – which this sounder presumably depicts – is the biggest and most, well, common. It's an interesting bird, very intelligent and with a long and usually dark history in folklore and literature, but I can't see its relevance to security systems. Like its fellow corvid and burglar alarm star the magpie, it's a scavenger and wily thief, associated with dead spirits and evil deeds, so hardly great protection material. Sure, ravens are famed for "protecting" the crown jewels by not flying away from the Tower of London – but that's just a stupid Victorian marketing tale. More prosaically, this is probably the proprietor's surname – which in medieval times referred to a dark-haired, thievish type, so still not very appropriate. Uncanny coincidence: ravens are so clever they're known to use twigs as toys, and there's a twig lodged behind this bell box. So maybe a real raven put it there. • Spotted: Marygate, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Raven”, York: common thief

“JMJ”, Sheffield: ill-fitting

"JMJ" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Thanks to a comment on yesterday's JB-Eye post, I now know that its red, horizontal-barred cage was an off-the-peg number. So what about this ill-fitting jobbie? Was it originally made for a jewel-shaped box (I wish someone would tell me what the proper name is for that shape) which later got replaced? Or is this the only shape you can get? As an aside, I cannot say how stupid I felt saying to my travelling companion, "hang on, I have to take a photo of that burglar alarm in an ill-fitting cage". I have had many such moments, but I remember this unedifying spot, next to an unpleasant bar surrounded by broken glass, as a particular low point. • Spotted: Eldon Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“JMJ”, Sheffield: ill-fitting

“King Security Ltd”, Sheffield: Shakespearean

"King Security Ltd" burglar alarm, Sheffield • A caged King in Campo Lane – there's something rather Shakespearean about that. It's on a little old-fashioned jewellers called DH Baines & Co; the spire reflected in the window belongs to Sheffield Cathedral, which was opposite (and probably still is). • Spotted: Campo Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“King Security Ltd”, Sheffield: Shakespearean

“Fox Systems”, York: hatless

"Fox Systems" burglar alarm, York • Perhaps it's a bit soon to revisit this particular fox, which I pictured with a hat of pigeon spikes a couple of weeks ago. But I really like this alarm, and I wanted to show it without a crown. It's a clean and stylish design, although – being super-niggly – I would have preferred centered type (look closely, and you'll see it's ranged left). • Spotted: Swinegate Court East, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Fox Systems”, York: hatless

“Fox Alarms”, Hull: where’s Wanker?

"Fox Alarms Leeds" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Now we come onto a run of Fox alarms. Since this has no image, it possibly simply refers to the proprietor's surname: an ancient English soubriquet meaning, um, fox – or someone cunning. It is also an anglicization of the German patronymic Fuchs, pronounced Fooks – which is almost as embarrassing as being called Mr Wanker, as Teutonic gentlemen often are. Fuchs & Wanker – now, that would be a great security firm name! • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle Above: a real fox (photo by Rob Lee)
“Fox Alarms”, Hull: where’s Wanker?

“Fox”, York: screeching stalker

"Fox Systems" burglar alarm, York • This alarm just looks like someone stuck a load of giant hatpins on it, though the stalking fox lends an air of surrealism. (The fox is a popular burglar alarm beast, as I shall illustrate soon.) My local area is aswarm with both foxes and pigeons, whose habits of night time screeching and daytime shitting are not a great combination. I blame Ken Livingstone, who had the pigeons chased away from Trafalgar Square with hawks. They all ended up on my balcony, and presumably the foxes followed. • Spotted: Swinegate Court East, York, Yorkshire, YO1, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Fox”, York: screeching stalker

“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: yellow peril

"Wilkin Alarms Sheffield" burglar alarm, Sheffield • The common theme of all these poo-struck alarms is the colour yellow, which perhaps in some mysterious way loosens birdy bowels. This virulent lemon example really does look like a piece of contemporary art. Which I realise isn't a great advertisement for contemporary art. • Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Wilkin Alarms”, Sheffield: yellow peril

“Mayfair Selby”, York: football fixture

"Mayfair Selby" burglar alarm, York • Here's an updated, unfaded version of yesterday's identity, with a double helping of chain-draped heraldry, and traces of a less curvaceous bell box behind it. It's still quite old, because the firm is now called Mayfair Security and uses a different typeface (Officina, font fans), though the shield remains. The wall behind the sounder is red because it's part of York City FC's stadium – a visit to which was reparation for subjecting my football-addicted travelling companion to endless bouts of burglar alarm photography (and the being shouted at that goes with it). • Spotted: York City FC, Bootham Crescent, York, Yorkshire, YO30, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Mayfair Selby”, York: football fixture

“Mayfair Selby” label, York: faded chains

"Mayfair Selby" label on "York Alarm Centre" burglar alarm, York • Now we move from locks to chains, of which this is a particularly heraldic example. It once said Mayfair Selby, though the red text has long ago faded away; and by the magic of Photoshop, I have also discovered that the alarm underneath says York Alarm Centre, which presumably exists no more. A security system palimpsest, if you will. • Spotted: Shipton Street, York, Yorkshire, YO30, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Mayfair Selby” label, York: faded chains

“Key Stone Security”, Sheffield: classic caper

"Key Stone Security" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Architecturally speaking, a key stone is the piece at the top of an arch which holds it up. However, given it's on a vintage burglar-catching device, this instead suggests the Keystone Kops – not in their original 1912 silent film guise, but the classic 1983 Atari "video game cartridge" Keystone Kapers, in which Officer Keystone Kelly has to apprehend light-fingered Harry Hooligan (who looks like a typical "pantomime burglar") before he flees a department store. It's not the first alarm I've come across that conjures up ancient computer games: there are also a couple suspiciously resembling Pac-Men• Spotted: North Church Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Key Stone Security”, Sheffield: classic caper

“Phoenix”, Sheffield: Phoenix Arizona

"Phoenix" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps reborn from yesterday's Phoenix, and unusually decorative for a burglar alarm, this tattoo-like design looks more Phoenix Arizona than ancient Greece. But though grandly-plumaged  birds such as the storm-bringing Thunderbird figure heavily in Native American culture, there is no equivalent of the phoenix rebirth myth, suggesting it developed in Eurasia after early humans had populated the Americas. Of course humans came that way again later, bringing their Eurasian diseases and resurrection legends with them; and thus the modern metropolis of Phoenix was born, so named because it arose from the long-abandoned ruins of a pre-Columbian city. Amazing how these Assyrian legends get around. • Spotted: Union Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Top row: phoenix tattoo designs reminiscent of this alarm. Bottom row: Native American birds – not related to Phoenixes, but looking similar. Bottom left:Bird with Red Snake” (1920) by Awa Tsireh from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC. Bottom right: painting of Kiowa Eagle Dancer by Stephen [Qued Koi] Mopope (1898-1974) from the Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe.
“Phoenix”, Sheffield: Phoenix Arizona

“Modern Alarms”, York: an ancient survival

"Modern Alarms" burglar alarm, York • Ancient and modern, in perfect harmony. The colours are as found: the once-yellow Modern box really has faded to the same sepia tones as York's venerable bricks. The constituency, meanwhile, is a tiny island of Labour red in a sea of true blue Tory. There's more on the history of Modern Alarms here• Spotted: Aldwark, York, North Yorkshire, YO1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central
“Modern Alarms”, York: an ancient survival

“SS Alarms”, Hull: Hitler’s evil henchmen

"SS Alarms" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull • Hmmm, a firm called simply SS – how cryptic. It could stand for "Steam Ship", as in Isambard Kingdom Brunel's pioneering SS Great Britain. It could stand for "Saints", as in the art-stuffed SS Giovanni e Paolo, one of Venice's finest Gothic churches. It could even, if you're a graphic designer, stand for "Same Size". But whenever I see SS on a burglar alarm, it always makes me think of the Waffen SS, as in Hitler's evil henchmen. And so although I know it probably stands for Security Systems (because SS on a burglar alarm inevitably does), the minimalist logo of SS Alarms has ended up here, in my World War II category. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle
“SS Alarms”, Hull: Hitler’s evil henchmen

“Smart Alarms”, Sheffield: cute little critter

"Smart Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Sheffield's a quirky place, and this is a quirky design. I think it's meant to represent a circular bell of the type actually used in alarms, rather than the church bells normally portrayed – but it's more reminiscent of a cheerful children's character than a security firm's logo. To me, it looks like a cute little critter with a big round eye hugging and licking the letter A, whose rounded Avant Garde-style typeface only compounds the impression of a CBeebies logo. Who knows, perhaps that's what the designer intended – any place that can produce both Pulp and The Human League has got to be conversant with whimsical weirdness. • Spotted: Alma Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central
“Smart Alarms”, Sheffield: cute little critter

“IAS”, Sheffield: career criminal or Mad Man?

IAS burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010"IAS" burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010 • Most shadowy intruders seem to be based on the same stumbling silhouette, copied with varying degrees of simplification and skill. This is a particularly extravagant one – note the stack heels, the bulky and flowing jacket, the strangely bouffant hair. He's more like an extra from Mad Men or a drunken salesman than a sneak thief – unless career criminals actually do wear formal attire. The name "IAS" is equally shadowy: an unexplained acronym, beloved of so many burglar alarm firms. Intruder Alert Systems is my guess... (googles)... blimey, it could be, but there are loads of organisations called IAS. International Accounting Standards, that must be it – it's a pretty rumpled suit. • Spotted: Fargate, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central IAS burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010
“IAS”, Sheffield: career criminal or Mad Man?

“Bulldog Alarms”, Sheffield: naive triangular teeth

"Bulldog Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010"Bulldog Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010 • I found this above a boarded-up kebab shop on Wicker, a dreary strip of fast food joints surreally terminated by an immense Piranesian viaduct. The road is situated by a bend in the River Don, and its unusual name may derive from wick, meaning angle. This nicely echoes the angular Bulldog Alarms logo, a naive yet artful monogram whose jagged triangles form a rhythmic pattern which conjures up both houndstooth check and early 20th century geometric abstract art (both possibly unintentionally). It has exactly the same casing as the preceding entry, Kudos, and the outdated phone code and accretion of guano suggest it is of the same pre-1995 vintage. In fact, it could be even older: judging by the yellow-and-black Street Sounds records-style colourway and constructivist bent, its logo was designed in the mid to late 1980s. • Spotted: Wicker, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central "Bulldog Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield, 2010
“Bulldog Alarms”, Sheffield: naive triangular teeth

“Pointer”, Hull: poignant poetic port dog

Pointer burglar alarm"Pointer" burglar alarm, Kingston upon Hull, 2005 • The isolated north-eastern city of Kingston upon Hull has been regularly voted Britain's worst place to live, but it suited resident poet Philip Larkin, who described it as having "a different resonance". I found the ex-fishing port to be wistful and atmospheric, which is reflected in this charming burglar alarm. The pointer is not a vicious or scary dog: in fact it is noted for its friendliness, intelligence and loyalty. What it can do is find prey once it's been shot down by a hunter – which makes one wonder about burglar-catching strategies in Hull. The design is unusual, and one of my favourites: a robotic-looking stencil dog with tea-crate lettering – apt for a port – that reminds me of an early 1980s record sleeve design (if I could be bothered to search my old vinyl collection, I'd find the precise one I'm thinking of). I've found later variations of this logo elsewhere in the north, but though the typography changes, the stylised pointer remains. Perhaps Philip Larkin would have appreciated it, because he was fond of animals, and waxes lyrical about both dogs and Hull in his famous poem "Show Saturday" – though he fails to mention burglar alarms. • Spotted: Town centre, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hull West and Hessle Pointer burglar alarm
“Pointer”, Hull: poignant poetic port dog