Charles & Camilla on the tube

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall hopped on the tube today to mark the underground's 150th birthday.

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Tube facts #3

The recording of the phrase "Mind the gap" dates from 1968, and is voiced by Peter Lodge, who owned a recording company in Bayswater.

He stepped in when the actor hired to record the lines insisted on royalties.

There have been several books, a gameshow, two theatre companies, several films and lots of songs called Mind the Gap.

While Lodge's recording is still in use, some lines use recordings by Manchester voice artist Emma Clarke, while commuters on the Piccadilly line hear the voice of Tim Bentinck, who plays David Archer in The Archers.

SOURCE: David Long 'The Little Book of London Underground'

Tube facts #2

The Victoria line was built to link King's Cross, Victoria and Euston and proposed names included Viking line, for Victoria to King's Cross, and Walvic (Walthamstow to Victoria).

Tunnelling close to Buckingham Palace and major government departments, 2.500 miners excavated an estimated one million tons of earth, uncovering fossilised marine molluscs and human bones from an old plague pit along the way.

SOURCE: David Long 'The Little Book of London Underground'

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Tube facts #1

The first escalator was installed at Earl's Court in 1911. A one-legged man, "Bumper" Harris, was employed to use it to demonstrate its safety. Unlike modern "comb" escalators, the original "shunt" mechanism ended with a diagonal so the stairway finished sooner for the right foot than for the left.

Anyone not wishing to walk on the escalator was therefore asked to stand to the right to allow others to pass, leading to Britain's unique flouting of escalator etiquette which dictates in most countries that escalators tend to match the rules of the road.

SOURCE: David Long 'The Little Book of London Underground'

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