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retrotempo | Decimalisation Day February 1971 - retrotempo

Decimalisation Day February 1971


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Decimal Mug, Full cropThis decimal converter mug dates from 1971 and would originally have contained a chocolate Easter egg. Decimalisation Day or D – Day was actually February 15th 1971, although it took several months to convert everything- especially slot machines.

For a period it was possible to tender either the original currency (£.s.d) or “New Pence” (p).  My school year was one of the last to have to learn both metric and imperial currency. I still know my 12 Times table as there were 12 Old Pence (d) to a Shilling (s).

But I also had to learn Imperial weights and measures.  For example:

12 Inches =1 Foot, 3 Feet = 1 Yard. 10 Yards  = 1 Chain, 22 Chain = 1 Furlong and 8 Furlongs = 1 Imperial Mile.

Multiplying that out: You can work out that there were 1,760 yards in an Imperial Mile. (Whereas there are 1500m in a Metric Mile). 1500m is only 1640 Yards, so a “Roger Banister Mile” would be further than than the current 1500m race.

And then we had the more peculiar: 2 Pints = 1 Quart, 4 Quarts = 1 Gallon, 2 Gallons = 1 Peck.  We also learnt about Beer Barrel and Champagne Bottle measurements too.

By Paul Bates (thepaulbates)

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