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Decimalisation.

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swt_passenger

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I mentioned in another thread a few days ago how the railway ticket offices started using the new copper coins on the Sunday, a day before “D day”. I took a trip into Newcastle Central to get some change just to be first in my family. So I think I was ready...

For our younger readers, two of the silver coins, ie 5p & 10p had come into normal circulation over the previous few years, same size as one and two shilling pieces, and the new 50p was used in parallel with the 10 shilling note.

So on the actual day it was only the ½, 1 & 2p that were brand new.
 
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steamybrian

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I remember it well (maybe that is giving my age away..!)
There were some hidden price rises and here are some examples-
items costing 6d changed to 3p or items costing 2/6d changed to 13p.

At the time people thought there was going to be a lot of confusion but the decimal money (100p to £!) is far easier for children and foreigners to learn rather that 12d to 1/- and 20/- to £1.
 

Mcr Warrior

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For our younger readers, two of the silver coins, ie 5p & 10p had come into normal circulation over the previous few years, same size as one and two shilling pieces, and the new 50p was used in parallel with the 10 shilling note.
Was the old "10 bob" note withdrawn from circulation some time prior to "D Day" in February 1971?
 

RichT54

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Was the old "10 bob" note withdrawn from circulation some time prior to "D Day" in February 1971?

Date ceased to be legal tender: 22 November 1970

According to https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/withdrawn-banknotes

 
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...same size as one and two shilling pieces, and the new 50p was used in parallel with the 10 shilling note.
I think the same size was adopted to try and avoid too much pain for vending/slot gaming machine manufacturers and owners.
Was the old "10 bob" note withdrawn from circulation some time prior to "D Day" in February 1971?
Can’t recall an exact drop-dead date for the 10/- note, I think they were just whittled away e.g if paid into a bank or Post Office account they would get sent to the Bank Of England for secure destruction and an equivalent value of 50p pieces went the other way. I do recall that the old twelve-sided ‘thrupenny bit’ and the half-crown had ceased being legal tender quite a while before D-Day.

edit: I see further, and more accurate posts have appeared...
 

Mcr Warrior

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Believe there was a one-time plan for a 50p note to be introduced (to replace the 10s note). Would have had Sir Walter Raleigh design on the back.
 

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Shimbleshanks

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Ireland also decimalised on the same day. At the time, Irish coins were all physically the same size as their British equivalents. In Anglesey, where we lived, Irish coins (but not notes, I believe) were legal tender, and I think the same also applied in Liverpool. Both places have ferry links to Ireland. At the time, I believe the value of the Irish currency was directly linked to the British one.
I remember my parents sifting through their change to take out the Irish coinage before going on shopping trips to Bangor (on the 'mainland') or Chester because the Irish coins weren't accepted there, but there was no need to do that if we were going further afield to Liverpool.
The arrangements continued after decimalisation, with the Irish decimal coins the same size as their British equivalents. However, when the British government took the Pound off the Gold Standard and allowed the currency to 'float', Irish coins were no longer legal tender anywhere in the UK as they were no longer of the same value.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Doubt that Irish coins were ever "legal tender" as such in Anglesey / Liverpool post 1971 "D Day". Not to say that they might not have been accepted for payment of goods by local shopkeepers, but that's a different thing.
 

Shimbleshanks

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Doubt that Irish coins were ever "legal tender" as such in Anglesey / Liverpool post 1971 "D Day". Not to say that they might not have been accepted for payment of goods by local shopkeepers, but that's a different thing.
Yes, I'm using the term legal tender loosely. It probably was more a case of habit and custom than any sort of decree.
 

simonw

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Ireland also decimalised on the same day. At the time, Irish coins were all physically the same size as their British equivalents. In Anglesey, where we lived, Irish coins (but not notes, I believe) were legal tender, and I think the same also applied in Liverpool. Both places have ferry links to Ireland. At the time, I believe the value of the Irish currency was directly linked to the British one.
I remember my parents sifting through their change to take out the Irish coinage before going on shopping trips to Bangor (on the 'mainland') or Chester because the Irish coins weren't accepted there, but there was no need to do that if we were going further afield to Liverpool.
The arrangements continued after decimalisation, with the Irish decimal coins the same size as their British equivalents. However, when the British government took the Pound off the Gold Standard and allowed the currency to 'float', Irish coins were no longer legal tender anywhere in the UK as they were no longer of the same value.
The parity between the Irish and UK currency ended in 1979. Nothing to do with the gold standard. Coins may have been accepted but they weren't legal tender.
 

Beemax

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My Grandmother hated it. Said 'why didn't they wait until all the old people died before doing this?'
 
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Some interesting stuff here: http://www.coins-of-the-uk.co.uk/dec.html

The Timetable for the Change​




The change was made gradually over three years, in a number of stages.

  1. In 1968 new shillings and florins were issued as 5 new pence and 10 new pence coins. The older shillings and florins continued to circulate long after decimalisation until the size of the coins was reduced. Theoretically silver coins from 1816 could still have been found in change, but the active withdrawal of silver in the years following the change in 1947, followed by the combination of a dramatic rise in the price of silver with devaluation in 1967 meant that silver coins rapidly vanished from circulation.
  2. Blue plastic wallets containing the new 5p and 10p coins dated 1968, along with 1/2p, 1p and 2p coins dated 1971 were put on sale. These wallets are still very common.
  3. In October 1969 the 50 new pence piece replaced the 10 shilling note, which ceased to be legal tender on 22nd November 1970.
  4. The old halfpenny was demonetised on 1st August 1969.
  5. The half-crown was demonetised on 1st January 1970.
  6. The remaining decimal coins became legal tender on 15th February 1971. Maundy coins (and silver threepenny pieces of Maundy design, i.e. with a crowned three on the reverse) were revalued as being in new pence at the same time.

The changeover was so rapid that the old penny and nickel brass threepence pieces had been removed from circulation by the end of 1971, although I know of one shop in the Yorkshire Dales which continued to use the old currency for a long time on the basis that 'this new-fangled stuff will never catch on'.

The old penny and threepence coins ceased to be legal tender on 31st August 1971, just over six months after D-day.
 

Calthrop

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At the time people thought there was going to be a lot of confusion but the decimal money (100p to £!) is far easier for children and foreigners to learn rather that 12d to 1/- and 20/- to £1.

A late relative of mine -- who was in his fifties when decimalisation came -- was firmly convinced that anything British had to be better than anything foreign. He passionately defended our pre-Feb. 1971 currency, asserting that working arithmetically on a basis of twelve was superior to doing so on a basis of ten: because twelve is divisible by more numbers, than ten is. The best of it was that in fact, he was utterly and irremediably innumerate in whatever system -- decimal, duodecimal, or anything else.
 

Ediswan

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Ireland also decimalised on the same day. At the time, Irish coins were all physically the same size as their British equivalents. In Anglesey, where we lived, Irish coins (but not notes, I believe) were legal tender, and I think the same also applied in Liverpool. Both places have ferry links to Ireland. At the time, I believe the value of the Irish currency was directly linked to the British one.
I remember my parents sifting through their change to take out the Irish coinage before going on shopping trips to Bangor (on the 'mainland') or Chester because the Irish coins weren't accepted there, but there was no need to do that if we were going further afield to Liverpool.
The arrangements continued after decimalisation, with the Irish decimal coins the same size as their British equivalents. However, when the British government took the Pound off the Gold Standard and allowed the currency to 'float', Irish coins were no longer legal tender anywhere in the UK as they were no longer of the same value.
I don't doubt the historical practice in Anglesey and Liverpool, but I do doubt they actually had different laws to the rest of England and Wales.

King's Cross station is well known for being more willing to accept Scottish notes than most places in England. They also quietly give them as change :frown:
 

SHD

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A late relative of mine -- who was in his fifties when decimalisation came -- was firmly convinced that anything British had to be better than anything foreign. He passionately defended our pre-Feb. 1971 currency, asserting that working arithmetically on a basis of twelve was superior to doing so on a basis of ten: because twelve is divisible by more numbers, than ten is. The best of it was that in fact, he was utterly and irremediably innumerate in whatever system -- decimal, duodecimal, or anything else.

Did anyone tell him that £sd was initially a Roman way of dividing and counting currency, spread throughout Europe by the Franks?
 

Ediswan

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A late relative of mine -- who was in his fifties when decimalisation came -- was firmly convinced that anything British had to be better than anything foreign. He passionately defended our pre-Feb. 1971 currency, asserting that working arithmetically on a basis of twelve was superior to doing so on a basis of ten: because twelve is divisible by more numbers, than ten is. The best of it was that in fact, he was utterly and irremediably innumerate in whatever system -- decimal, duodecimal, or anything else.
If divisibility was the goal, we could have stuck with the Babylonian base 60 for everything, not just time and latitude/longitude.

A big driver for decimilisation was that banking and commerce were becoming more and more computerised. Building systems that were efficient at mixed-base arithmetic was far more complicated/expensive than all decimal.

The local tat/gadget shop got some (maybe unplanned) publiclity for pricing everything in 'pences'.
 

swt_passenger

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If divisibility was the goal, we could have stuck with the Babylonian base 60 for everything, not just time and latitude/longitude.

A big driver for decimilisation was that banking and commerce were becoming more and more computerised. Building systems that were efficient at mixed-base arithmetic was far more complicated/expensive than all decimal.

The local tat/gadget shop got some (maybe unplanned) publiclity for pricing everything in 'pences'.
I expect electronic calculators and cash registers had a bearing on the decision as well? With the rest of the world using “something and cents”, I wonder what premium we’d have ended up paying for £sd versions...
 

Gloster

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I had one of those blue plastic wallets (2), which had one coin of each denomination on the right hand side and blurb on the left, which I carefully kept in a drawer. I was not pleased when my mother, short of change one day, took the coins to pay for something and later replaced them with used coins.
 

morrisobrien

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I can remember buying the Sun...or was it the Evening Post? on the first day. I gave the newsagent a tanner plus 1/2p.
A tanner was sixpence...6d in old money which was 2'/2p in new money plus 1/2p
which obviously came to 3p, the then cost of the newspaper.
 

PeterY

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I remember it well (maybe that is giving my age away..!)
There were some hidden price rises and here are some examples-
items costing 6d changed to 3p or items costing 2/6d changed to 13p.

At the time people thought there was going to be a lot of confusion but the decimal money (100p to £!) is far easier for children and foreigners to learn rather that 12d to 1/- and 20/- to £1.
Sadly so do I . I can still add up small amounts in my head using £sd. A mars bar cost 6d and I remember 4 little sweets, like black jacks, for 1d. If I'd had a ten bob note (50p), I'd of been rich at 13 years old. :D :D
 

Shimbleshanks

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I don't doubt the historical practice in Anglesey and Liverpool, but I do doubt they actually had different laws to the rest of England and Wales.

King's Cross station is well known for being more willing to accept Scottish notes than most places in England. They also quietly give them as change :frown:
I remember my father telling me that Irish money was no longer going to be accepted, so there must have been some sort of official edict ending the practice, even though there may not have been one to allow it in the first place!

A late relative of mine -- who was in his fifties when decimalisation came -- was firmly convinced that anything British had to be better than anything foreign. He passionately defended our pre-Feb. 1971 currency, asserting that working arithmetically on a basis of twelve was superior to doing so on a basis of ten: because twelve is divisible by more numbers, than ten is. The best of it was that in fact, he was utterly and irremediably innumerate in whatever system -- decimal, duodecimal, or anything else.
The landlady of the Queen's Arms at Cowden Pound in Kent wrote her price list in 'NP' (New Pence) until she retired, well into the 1990s...
 

Elwyn

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Doubt that Irish coins were ever "legal tender" as such in Anglesey / Liverpool post 1971 "D Day". Not to say that they might not have been accepted for payment of goods by local shopkeepers, but that's a different thing.
I worked in a pub in Sussex in the 1970s and Irish workmen often came in for a few drinks. If they had been home to Ireland for the weekend they didn’t always have any sterling. They would ask to pay in Irish punts. First time this happened I was about to refuse when the landlord pointed out that although not legal tender they had equal value (ie 1 punt = £1) and were accepted by any bank without having to pay commission. So he just paid them into the bank at the end of the week with all the sterling takings. Everyone was happy. I assume similar practices existed then at places like Holyhead or anywhere someone might offer you Irish currency on a regular basis. You don’t want to lose the business do you? Nowadays you would probably pay by debit/credit card but that wasn’t an option in a pub in the 1970s.
 

Ediswan

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I expect electronic calculators and cash registers had a bearing on the decision as well? With the rest of the world using “something and cents”, I wonder what premium we’d have ended up paying for £sd versions...
Cash registers would not have been difficult. Fixed position, single application, large market. You have to jump through some hoops to get a digitial/binary circuit to do base 10. Base 12 or 20 is just a different set of hoops. Calculators, as general purpose machines, much harder.
 

Elwyn

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Cash registers would not have been difficult. Fixed position, single application, large market. You have to jump through some hoops to get a digitial/binary circuit to do base 10. Base 12 or 20 is just a different set of hoops. Calculators, as general purpose machines, much harder.
Most cash registers at that time had a switch on the back that enabled you to change them from from LSD to Decimal. I remember fiddling with them to see what would happen.
 

Ediswan

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Has anybody from Poole, or historically Weymouth, ever know Jersey or Guernsey currency accepted locally ?
 

Mcr Warrior

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Channel Islands banknotes not legal tender on the mainland in England, but could always be paid in at the bank / post office. Similarly with Scottish, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man banknotes. Shopkeepers might possibly accept them but not obliged to do so. Channel Islands coins, however, not generally accepted but could invariably be used in vending machines or mixed in with bags of mainland coinage as they effectively weighed the same.
 
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