The iconic five-decade old "Mind the Gap, please" announcement will re-appear in London Underground stations, after the widow of the man who originally recorded the announcement told authorities she missed hearing his voice.
The announcement was recorded by Oswald Laurence, an actor in the 1960s, and was once an integral part of the Underground experience. However, the recording was slowly phased out as systems were upgraded, until the northbound platform on the Northern Line at the Embankment station was the only one left.
Finally, late last year, that too fell to the merciless axe of progress.
Laurence, whose recording is believed to be the oldest of many, died in 2001. His wife, lonely for memories of her husband, wrote to Tube authorities asking for a copy of the tape. Instead, the authorities, touched by the tale, have decided to restore the announcement at Embankment station.
"We were very touched by her story, so staff tracked down the recording and not only were they able to get a copy of the announcement on CD for her to keep but also working to restore the announcement at Embankment station," a Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson told the Independent.
Historians say several versions of this voice-over were recorded and used at Tube stations and, surprisingly, a number of them were by professional actors. Tim Bentinck (from the BBC Radio four serial The Archers) was for years the "Mind the Gap" voice on the Piccadilly line.
Incidentally, Bentinck was also phased out until the last stop he was heard at was Russell Square, where, curiously, his wife was a frequent traveller.