On This Day: Decimal currency introduced across Britain

Chris Parsons
British Pathé
On This Day: Decimal currency introduced across Britain

February 15 1971: It was the end of an era for British money on this day 42 years ago, as decimal currency was introduced across the country.

The old-fashioned pound (£), shilling (s) and pence (d) system of coinage was phased out in favour of dividing the pound into units of ten.

New denominations would include half, one, two, five, ten and 50 pence pieces.

Chairman of the Decimal Currency Board, Lord Fiske, proclaimed a 'smooth and efficient changeover' to the new system.

But taxis took 15 months to convert fare meters of London cabs, while banks closed for two days to prepare for the new coinage.

Decimal currency had already been introduced into British supermarkets in 1968, as the video above demonstrates.

Shoppers are pictured 'learning all about Britain's new decimal money so as to be several jumps ahead when changeover day comes in 1971.'

A narrator declares that the new system is 'unlikely to puzzle anyone for long', before adding:"Decimal money has the same smack as any other kind - you just can't get enough of it."

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