Ethel Jane Cain (1 May 1909 – 19 September 1996) was a British telephonist and the original voice of the speaking clock in the United Kingdom. She was appointed in 1936 following a "search for the girl with the golden voice". Her voice was used from 1936 until 1963, when it was replaced by Pat Simmons. She also made a record for the GPO helping other staff improve their speaking voice and went on to become announcer for Henry Hall during one of his broadcast concerts. She was later offered a film part by Columbia Pictures under the name of Jane Cain. Originally the speaking clock was accessed by dialling 846, spelling out the letters T-I-M, on the telephone dial in 'Director Area' (London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool & Manchester) and 952 as it was introduced elsewhere in the UK. . Later the code on non-director exchanges became 80 and then 8081 before finally becoming standardised everywhere as 123, away from the numbering ranges used by subscribers.
In the mid to late 1950s, she was a member of Perth Repertory Theatre Company.
Her only known screen role was the lead in the 1935 film, Vanity.
Her voice lives on as the voice of the virtual operator on C*NET, a worldwide network of old telephone exchanges preserved by collectors which uses a voice recognition system when '0' or '100' are dialled for the 'operator'.
- Speaking clock
- Pat Simmons, second permanent voice
- Brian Cobby, third permanent voice
- Lenny Henry, comedian, temporary voice
- Alicia Roland, 12-year-old schoolgirl, temporary voice
- Sara Mendes da Costa, fourth permanent voice
- Speaking Clocks by Andrew Emmerson Retrieved on 20 October 2008
- BT Connected Earth online museum: Selling the Network
Jane Cain was also an actress with Perth Repertory Company during the middle to late 1950s
|Permanent voice of the British Speaking clock
1936 - 1963
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