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The 'Mind the Gap' Announcement

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The 'Mind the Gap' Announcement

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The 'Mind the Gap' Announcement

The injunction to be careful when stepping over the ten-inch gulf that separates the train door from the platform edge at certain stations on the London Underground is, to many foreign tourists in particular, London’s unofficial catchphrase. Whether it sounds drop-dead cool, or else just unintentionally hilarious, is difficult to say. It certainly wins hands-down for brevity when compared with its equivalent on the Tokyo Metro, which translates as ‘As there is a wide space between the train and the platform, please watch your step’ – almost a philosophical observation when contrasted with the three brute syllables of the English. The warning, heard at its most authoritative on the northbound Northern Line platform at Embankment station, is issued in the stern tones of the government public information film of the 1950s, an era when the public was only too ready to heed the educated male voice of authority. There have been passengers over the years who have regrettably failed to mind the gap, sad to say, and found themselves in something of a pickle as a consequence, but at least they cannot claim they were not warned.

Image: TopFoto.co.uk


Your comments

England is probably the only country in the world that uses it – combined with the notice on the platform. On the underground the old announcement featured the fierce voice of Peter Lodge and could not be misunderstood. The recording begins with a middle C ‘bong’ followed by three ‘mind the gaps’, a pause and then one more repetition and the warning ‘stand clear of the doors, please’

Charlie Dimmock

I find myself muttering the words 'mind the gap' like a lunatic everytime I ride on the metro of some foreign country, including when I was in Tokyo!
Haider Al-Najjar

I left England over 10 years ago to live in Asia. "Mind the Gap" is a regular announcement on Singapore's MRT subway system and I'm always reminded of home when I hear it.
John Gettings

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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye