Mind the gap






“Mind the gap” is an audible or visual warning phrase issued to rail passengers in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere) to take caution while crossing the horizontal, and in some cases vertical, spatial gap between the train door and the station platform.


The phrase “Mind the gap” was coined in around 1968 for a planned automated announcement, after it had become impractical for drivers and station attendants to warn passengers. London Underground chose digital recording using solid state equipment with no moving parts. As data storage capacity was expensive, the phrase had to be short. A concise warning was also easier to paint onto the platform.






The equipment was supplied by AEG Telefunken. According to the Independent on Sunday, sound engineer Peter Lodge, who owned Redan Recorders in Bayswater, working with a Scottish Telefunken engineer, recorded an actor reading “Mind the gap” and “Stand clear of the doors please”, but the actor insisted on royalties and the phrases had to be re-recorded. Lodge read the phrases to line up the recording equipment for level and those were used.

While Lodge’s recording is still in use, some lines use other recordings. One was recorded by voice artist Emma Clarke. Others, on the Piccadilly line for example, are by Tim Bentinck. At least 10 stations were supplied with announcers manufactured by PA Communications Ltd. of Milton Keynes. The recorded voice is that of Keith Wilson, their industrial sales manager at the time (May 1990). It can still be heard, at Paddington for example.

In March 2013 it was reported that an old “Mind the gap” recording by the actor Oswald Laurence would be restored to Embankment station so that the actor’s widow could hear his voice.






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