April 2021: Kingswood Memories

March 24 2021

Decimalisation

April 2021: Kingswood Memories

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the decimalisation of the currency of both the United Kingdom and Ireland.With decimalisation, the British pound kept its old value and name, and the only changes made were to its’ subunits. 

Before decimalisation the British pound was made up of 20 shillings, each of which was made up of 12 pence (“d”), a total of 240 pence. Some coins enjoyed colourful nicknames, such as “Tanners” (6d); “Bobs” (12d), and “Half-Crowns” (30d). From 15 February 1971, “decimalisation day”, the shilling was abolished, and the pound was subdivided into 100 "new pence" (abbreviated “p”). 

Decimalisation had been debated for centuries, and was eventually implemented as a ‘practical business decision’. However, the change affected the day-to-day lives of every British citizen, and there were frequent  publicity campaigns to overcome confusion during the changeover. Numerous leaflets and posters were distributed and a series of television broadcasts helped to explain the new system.

The photo of “decimal day” in a shop in Downend is provided courtesy of the South Gloucestershire Gazette.