Monday 15 February marks 50 years since Decimal Day, when the UK first switched its foreign money to a system that makes use of items of 10.
The change 5 a long time in the past marked an entire shift in the best way foreign money was understood and have become the trendy strategy to pay.
MP Sir John Bowring had beforehand informed the Home of Commons: “Each man who checked out his 10 fingers noticed an argument for its use, and an proof of its practicability.” However what did it actually imply?
Earlier than 15 February 1971, a pound was made up of 20 shillings, and shillings have been equal to 12 pence. This meant a pound was made up of an enormous 240 pence in whole.
Decimalisation meant the foreign money would now be primarily based on the less complicated multiples of 10 and 100.
The previous system had been in place for a whole bunch of years, so to offer individuals an opportunity to get used to the brand new system, a few of the new decimal cash have been launched in 1968, just a few years earlier than the complete rollout.
Why did decimalisation take so lengthy?
The nation had been contemplating altering the best way foreign money labored for round 150 years, with different nations having already adopted decimalisation.
A part of the rationale that the method took so lengthy was that Parliament saved voting down proposals for the change.
Finally, in 1960, the federal government was satisfied by a report by the British Affiliation for the Development of Science and the Affiliation of British Chambers of Commerce.
Because of this and the success of South Africa’s change to a decimal system, ministers created a committee to look into altering the UK’s foreign money.
In 1961, senior civil servant Noel Moore was appointed secretary of the Committee of Inquiry on Decimal Foreign money.
Following huge debates concerning the deserves of introducing a brand new decimal system versus maintaining the prevailing one, the pound system got here to be chosen, largely for political causes.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Callaghan, introduced Labour’s determination to go forward with proposals to decimalise in 1966, and Moore was appointed Secretary of the Decimal Foreign money Board.
What occurred on Decimal Day?
The brand new decimal pound sterling acquired closing approval in 1969, and the complete switch-over happened on 15 February 1971 on what was often called ‘D Day’.
To assist individuals perceive how a lot the brand new cash have been value, outlets displayed their costs in each decimal and non-decimal figures. After D Day, the costs have been switched round in order that the fee was proven first in new cash.
To mark in the present day’s half-centenary, the Royal Mint has launched a particular celebratory 50 pence piece.
Textual content on the coin reads “1971 decimal day” and is flanked by pictures of pre-decimalisation cash together with halfpennies and shillings.
The coin will be bought on the Royal Mint web site and costs vary from £10 for the coin in a fold-out pockets to £1,540 for a gold proof model and replica of the Mirror newspaper from 1971, which tells the story of decimalisation.