On the 15th of February 1971 Britain discarded its historic pounds, shillings and pence and went decimal. No more sixpence of sweets and a ten shilling note folded in to the hand of a grateful nephew by old Uncle Fred.
For my Aunt Ella and Elsa the change came when they were too old to learn and they resisted decimalisation in to the mid 1980’s when they died. Do you realise, they would say, that its fourteen shillings in old money! It all became increasingly meaningless as prices rose and the world changed and changed.
Somewhere I have one of the government books with lists of ‘old money’ and decimal conversions. I picked it up in a second had bookshop for 20p (that’s four shillings in old money I’ll have you know!).
So here we have a photograph from the campaign to teach us how to use the new currency and we love it. How did this photograph ever communicate happy acceptance of a new coinage? Its clear, very, very clear that any moment the veneer of civility is going to break and smug Mrs Headscarf, who knows her 50p coin from her 5p is going to have a large tin of ham crashed in to her skull by Mrs Assertive but actually very confused.
Oh happy, simpler, days………….