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article imageWorld famous 'Mind The Gap' warning returns to London Underground

By Alan Bainbridge     Mar 9, 2013 in Travel
London - The famous 'Mind The Gap' announcement, heard by millions of users of the London Underground railway system is to be brought back at the request of the announcers' widow.
Actor Oswald Laurence, who died in 2007, was hired for the recording in 1968. The announcement warned passengers at some stations to beware of falling between the train and the platform and is almost a part of London culture as the famous black taxi cab and red bus.
The announcements have been phased out recently with Embankment station being the last to use it until November. Dr Margaret McCollum, Mr Laurence’s widow, approached Transport For London to enquire if a recording was available as she loved to hear her late husband’s voice when travelling. The BBC reported that Nigel Holness, Director of London Underground was moved by her story and tracked down the original recording with the intention of letting Dr McCollum have a CD copy. He now plans to restore Mr Laurence’s announcement to Embankment station to the delight of his widow.
The short, stern warning “Mind The Gap” was an example of one of the first digital recordings when technology only allowed the shortest clip of sound to be stored and over the last 40 years, a number of different voices have been used, according to The Daily Mail. Andrew Martin’s book 'Underground Overground' mentions that the voice of Sound engineer Peter Lodge was also used at some stations when an announcer’s agent unsuccessfully asked for royalty payments for every occasion the recording was played.
The iconic announcement even became the inspiration for the 1972 horror film 'Death Line' in which the descendants of trapped Victorian underground workers, their vocabulary limited to the famous phrase, terrorise travellers.
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