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Fifty Years Ago

(56 Posts)
mrsmopp Wed 10-Feb-21 18:38:14

It was fifty years ago on 15th February 1971, that we lost our pounds, shillings and pence and converted to decimal currency. It took some getting used to as prices rose sharply and we struggled to get used to what we called ‘funny money’,
Was it to bring us into line with Europe? It’s hard to credit now that the pound was 240 pennies and in future it would be worth 100 pence. Remember?

baubles Wed 10-Feb-21 18:42:48

I remember. I was on prefect duty in the school tuck shop. Fun and games!

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 10-Feb-21 18:45:30

I was calculating the wages for 200 people, I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier it was.

FarNorth Wed 10-Feb-21 18:50:32

I was a junior clerk in a bank. We soon had the conversion table memorised.
I was sorry to see the £sd go.

I think children's brains must be the poorer for only counting in 10's as they do now - no yards & inches, pounds & ounces etc either.

MiniMoon Wed 10-Feb-21 18:55:00

I was at work in a busy grocers shop. We had to explain to the older ladies that bacon at 12p per pound was actually 2s 6d per pound and not 1s 2d.
It was a very confusing time for a lot of people.

Urmstongran Wed 10-Feb-21 19:00:20

I had a Saturday job in a corner shop - I was 17y. Think back - a till like Arkwright’s in ‘Open All Hours’ - where you tilled in the money by pressing down the heavy levers and had to work out the change all by your own big self. Gosh, I was scared stuff!

JackyB Wed 10-Feb-21 19:09:43

I was a Saturday girl at the time so I missed the training the rest of the staff got, which was on quieter days during the week. I was doing A level maths and the conversion was hardly rocket science, so I didn't have any problems.

However, after school and Tech, I left the UK for good in 1973, and even now when I go back, I still think of it as "new money".

JackyB Wed 10-Feb-21 19:10:31

I should add that I then had to contend with the change from Deutsche Mark to Euros in 2002, and I still have to check the number on the coins in the "new money" here to make sure I've got the right change!

janeainsworth Wed 10-Feb-21 19:15:35

I remember going to the Dental Hospital on the bus, fumbling in my purse for the right coins for my fare and feeling as though I was using foreign currency.

Urmstongran Wed 10-Feb-21 19:25:53


mrsmopp Wed 10-Feb-21 19:59:33

I went to the Ideal Home show with my mum and there was a stall selling little pieces of cheese on toast for 20p which we thought was OK. Then we realized they were not two bob each but four shillings! We were shocked! But ended up laughing about it. Happy days...

NotAGran55 Wed 10-Feb-21 20:09:02

I was a Saturday girl in the village shop and remember it took twice as long to serve everyone because they checked all the prices on the conversion tables that were pinned up around the shop.
I was sad to see the demise of the half crown , my favourite coin .

Ladyleftfieldlover Wed 10-Feb-21 20:13:43

I was working as a Management Trainee at John Lewis. We didn’t open on Sundays or Mondays back then,so we all went in and changed all the prices! We were paid and given free lunches.

ginny Wed 10-Feb-21 20:27:45

I had been dating DH for about 5 months and we used to help out at the coffee bar at the YMCA in Watford where we met. We were on duty that evening found the swap over quite easy but many customers were confused.

Grandma70s Wed 10-Feb-21 20:35:15

My mother was very insulted because the media kept questioning how pensioners, poor old things, would cope. She was a pensioner and had no problems at all. Neither did I, but I do regret the loss of the lovely characterful names like half-crown, shilling and florin. Pees aren’t as interesting!p

M0nica Wed 10-Feb-21 20:38:39

At the time I spent most of my days at work juggling with short tons, long tons and metric tonnes, converting one into the other. So the currency change was childs play in comparison.

I knew all the conversion rates so well that when later that year I gave birth to my first child, I spent all the time they spent taking me from delivery room to ward, worrying because I had been given his weight in kilos and then lbs and oz and I knew they had got the conversion wrong and wishing I had my slide rule with me so I could sort it out!

In the end I did the maths in my head - and I was right. They had got it wrong.

Marydoll Wed 10-Feb-21 20:41:51

My Saturday job was working in the cash office of the Co-Op department store. That was a steep learning curve, when we changed and people were trying to make their Club Card. payments.

Grannybags Wed 10-Feb-21 20:42:25

I was working as a Window Dresser in London and volunteered to go and buy biscuits for our break so I could shop with the "funny money" I felt like I was in a foreign country and remember being very excited by it!

So much easier than £.s.d.

Sar53 Wed 10-Feb-21 21:03:58

I had a Saturday job in WH Smiths working on the tills. No automatic tills then, I had to work everything out in my head but they didn't sack me so I must have been doing ok.

sodapop Wed 10-Feb-21 21:09:59

I remember going into a small supermarket on the first day with my daughter in her pushchair and fumbling about in my purse to get organised.
I agree Grandma70 the old names were more interesting.

Doodledog Wed 10-Feb-21 21:24:53

I was still at school, and remember old ladies (who were probably not really old at all!) asking me to convert prices to 'real money' in the shop opposite the school grin.

I can still convert to and from LSD now.

joannapiano Wed 10-Feb-21 21:25:33

It was my first year of teaching, a Junior class, and I remember having to teach the new currency. They all found it quite easy.

Urmstongran Wed 10-Feb-21 22:29:28

I can’t work out how big or small a new born baby is in kgs! I need to know in lbs. and ounces.

We still drive at miles per hour. Some people still like to know the weather in Fahrenheit. I can visualise someone who measures 5’ 10” but not if it were in metres and centimetres.

We’re a bit mix & match really aren’t we? Neither one thing nor the other.

Redhead56 Wed 10-Feb-21 23:14:19

I was 14 still at school the local sweet shop ripped us off when the decimal coinage came in. I had a Saturday job in a hairdressers. What I earned paid for return bus fare to go there ridiculous!

MissAdventure Wed 10-Feb-21 23:21:40

I about 7, and it was very confusing when we played in our pretend 'shop' at school.
I never really understood pounds shilling and pence properly at that stage anyway.