Jane Cain

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Jane Cain
Ethel Jane Cain

1 May 1909
Died19 September 1996

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. [1]


Originally the speaking clock was accessed by dialing 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. [2] 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 big screen role was the lead in the 1935 film, Vanity . She is also credited with small roles in the TV series Starr and Company (1958) and Thirty-Minute Theatre (1961). [3]

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'.[ citation needed ]

See also

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  1. Speaking Clocks by Andrew Emmerson Retrieved on 20 October 2008
  2. BT Connected Earth online museum: Selling the Network
  3. Jane Cain Biography, Imdb.com
Preceded by
Post created
Permanent voice of the British Speaking clock
Succeeded by