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Decimal day-fifty years ago today

On February 15th 1971 Britain's currency changed from 12 pennies to the shilling & 20 shillings to the pound.to 100 pennies to the pound.
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Comments

  • I genuinely don’t understand the way old money worked - guineas? Shillings? Farthings? I can’t believe it took so long for someone to realise how mad it all was and instead just have pounds and pence (with 100 pence to a pound).

    What did “d” stand for in old currency - i.e. what was 6d? 6 shillings? 
  • se9addick said:
    I genuinely don’t understand the way old money worked - guineas? Shillings? Farthings? I can’t believe it took so long for someone to realise how mad it all was and instead just have pounds and pence (with 100 pence to a pound).

    What did “d” stand for in old currency - i.e. what was 6d? 6 shillings? 
    'd' stood for denarius which is Latin for coin.
    6d was sixpence [tanner] which became two & half pence.
    21 Shillings was a guinea.
  • clive said:
    se9addick said:
    I genuinely don’t understand the way old money worked - guineas? Shillings? Farthings? I can’t believe it took so long for someone to realise how mad it all was and instead just have pounds and pence (with 100 pence to a pound).

    What did “d” stand for in old currency - i.e. what was 6d? 6 shillings? 
    'd' stood for denarius which is Latin for coin.
    6d was sixpence [tanner] which became two & half pence.
    21 Shillings was a guinea.
    The £ sign (an upper case latin 'L') stands for Libra.
  • I remember this well, I was living on the Cardwell estate in a maisonette. There were public information films after the kids TV. There'd been an election the year before when I was 4, so I thought that it happened the year after an election and was expecting it to happen again in 1975
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  • DRAddick said:
    Before my time, but the old system is mathematically better as it's much more divisible than the decimal system. People just look at it and say "Oh it's so confusing and stupid". But if you were brought up with it then it wouldn't be confusing would it? It would just be second nature to you and you'd use it without thinking. 

    Not sure I agree with that - the decimal system is far better mathematically, although the old system developed better arithmetic skills.

    Divisible in the sense of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 then yes, and it gave us the betting odds we still use today!!   
  • When i was at primary school it was the old money, so was taught how to do sums in that currency, decimal money was introduced in my first year at secondary school so i had to adapt like everybody else, but i could go back to old money today.
  • I was born after the currency changeover but I do remember that there were still a lot of Shillings in circulation during the 80's. I think they were interchangable with the decimalised 5p coin.
  • edited February 15
    We were brought up with quite a varied system of weights and measures and currency. Even now nobody seems to think twice about the concept of a 'pint'. The currency was a big incentive to be agile with mental arithmetic. It astonishes me even now when paying £1 for something costing 64p that people in shops can't work the change out in their head without a calculator.
    Can anybody do a simple sum like £2 3s 11d plus £1 18s 7d and then convert it into decimal currency?


    Answer below.









    £4 2s 6d
    Which today would be four pounds twelve and a half pee.
  • I was born after the currency changeover but I do remember that there were still a lot of Shillings in circulation during the 80's. I think they were interchangable with the decimalised 5p coin.
    Yes, the shilling coin was worth 5p & the two shilling coin [10p] was still in circulation until 1993.
  • What was the point
  • bobmunro said:
    seth plum said:
    I remember it well. Also how ripped off a lot of the population were. 
    People can handle inches feet and yards even today. Can't  they?
    The old system simply used different number bases and led to an arithmetically sophisticated population.
    I still think in feet and inches.
    You're still working in furlongs.
  • What was the point
    Being a normal country
  • Rothko said:
    What was the point
    Being a normal country

    Whoosh :-) 
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  • What was the point
    I think the point of the Imperial system was to have something workable across the whole of society. The difference between the meagre earnings of working people and the massive wealth of the aristocracy was such that a system that could only be broken into 100ths would have been unwealdy at one end of the scale and unworkable at the other. With the inclusion of farthings, Imperial was far more granualar allowing divisions of 1/960 of the base unit and thus could reflect values across society without using Italian or Greek style huge numbers. With semi-constant inflation there became less need for the lower level values and an altogether simpler system could be used. I don't know, but I suspect the timing of the change was somehow linked to the introducion of computer technology that was in its infancy. 
  • seth plum said:
    I remember it well. Also how ripped off a lot of the population were. 
    People can handle inches feet and yards even today. Can't  they?
    The old system simply used different number bases and led to an arithmetically sophisticated population.
    I left school in 1980 and up to that point I had never used feet or inches at school. The first day at work,(engineering), it was all inches and remained that way for me way with the exception of college for r many years. Even today you will find many of the machine tools with imperial graduations, we actually bought a new lathe about 5 years ago which has dual measurement. 
    What catches me out is when someone gives me a sketch in cm. I work inches or mm.
    As for the money I remember decimal day well, although I was only 7 years old at the time. My gran used swear blind prices went up because of it.  
  • Stig said:
    What was the point
    I think the point of the Imperial system was to have something workable across the whole of society. The difference between the meagre earnings of working people and the massive wealth of the aristocracy was such that a system that could only be broken into 100ths would have been unwealdy at one end of the scale and unworkable at the other. With the inclusion of farthings, Imperial was far more granualar allowing divisions of 1/960 of the base unit and thus could reflect values across society without using Italian or Greek style huge numbers. With semi-constant inflation there became less need for the lower level values and an altogether simpler system could be used. I don't know, but I suspect the timing of the change was somehow linked to the introducion of computer technology that was in its infancy. 

    I was making  a (now clearly poor) joke.... it was a pun on decimal point.  

    I will get my coat! ;-) 
  • Your gran was right.
    The old pound could be split into three equal parts by the way.
    6s 8d
  • Is the decimal system  likely to be more biological than logical?
    Hands and feet being the guide?
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