Embankment Tube has different ‘Mind the Gap’ voice due to woman’s emotional plea

If you travel on the London Underground a lot, you may notice something different about Embankment tube station.

While some stations have altered the 'Mind the Gap' voice over the years, Embankment's has largely remained the same.

And the reason why will leave you feeling emotional.

In a post shared to his Twitter account back in 2019, historian and journalist John Bull shared the story of Oswald Laurence.

He wrote: "Just before Christmas 2012, staff at Embankment Tube station were approached by a woman who was very upset.

"She kept asking them where the voice had gone. They weren't sure what she meant. 'The voice?'

"'The voice,' she said. 'The man who says 'Mind the gap''."

The staff reassured the woman that 'the voice' had simply been updated to a new digital system, with different voices added to offer more variety.

However, the woman explained that there was a very important reason as to why that voice had such special significance to her 0 it belonged to her husband.

Bull continued: "The woman, a GP called Dr Margaret McCollum, explained that her husband was an actor called Oswald Laurence.

"Oswald had never become famous, but he HAD been the chap who had recorded all the Northern Line announcements back in the seventies. And Oswald had died in 2007."

After Oswald passed away, Margaret said she found comfort in the fact that she was able to hear his voice every day on her way to work.

Sometimes, she would reportedly sit on the platform at Embankment for a while and listen to his announcements.

Bull said that the staff at Embankment apologised, but told her that it was out of their hands.

However, they promised Margaret that if the old recordings existed, they'd try and find a copy for her to keep.

"In the New Year, Margaret McCollum sat on Embankment Station, on her way to work," Bull said

"And over the speakers she heard a familiar voice. The voice of a man she had loved so much, and never thought she'd hear again.

"'Mind the Gap' said Oswald Laurence."

It turned out 'a lot of people' at Embankment, within the London Underground and Travel for London network, had also lost loved ones and wished they could hear their voices again.

That's when they realised that they might just be able to make that happen for Margaret.

Bull continued: "Archives were searched, old tapes found and restored. More people had worked to digitise them. Others had waded through the code of the announcement system to alter it while still more had sorted out the paperwork and got exemptions. And together they made Oswald talk again."

According to the BBC, Oswald's voice was used on the northbound Northern Line, but was phased out until only Embankment used it.

However, back in 2013, his voice was returned to the station, and Margaret was given that copy of the recording so she could listen to his voice again whenever she needed to.

"Transport for London were approached by the widow of Oswald Laurence to see whether she could get a copy of the iconic 'mind the gap' announcement her husband made over 40 years ago," said London Underground director Nigel Holness at the time.

"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 are also working to restore the announcement at Embankment station."

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