Tuesday, 15 February 2011

40th Anniversary of Decimalisation With Decimal Des

British Rail Decimalisation 
Leaflet- Andy Walmsley
It was 40 years ago today, the United Kingdom went decimal and I have to thank Andy Walmsley for the scan of this brilliant leaflet provided by British Rail explaining the new coinage system and how passengers would have to be prepared for the new system when purchasing tickets to travel.

I have to admit to only been two and a half when decimalisation kicked in, so my memories only stretch back to a point that I remember my parents and grandparents complaining as to how out of pocket they were going to be with this new system.

British Rail obviously weren't taking any chances and were making a swift change over to the coinage system on the 14 February. Decimalisation Day or D Day itself was actually on the 15th February! 

British Rail's  character Decimal Des sympathised: "If you find you must tender £ s d 'coppers' (3d and 1d) please do so in lots of 6d (-2 1/2p). Otherwise we cannot give you correct change."

I bet there was some happy people arguing with ticket collectors that morning!

Within two weeks the old coins had all but vanished from circulation, except for the cheeky so and so's who then tried to pass them off as two pence pieces in corner shops up and down the country over the next decade!

One other memory I have is from 1983 when a maths teacher attempted to teach my class the old coinage system in a belief we may one day return to it. We didn't learn it and we still haven't!

If you have any memories of this period or scans of ephemera, send them in and I'll include them on the blog!

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