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Do you remember Britain’s D-Day for decimalisation?

Today (Monday) mark the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day in the UK, when we officially changed from the old currency of pounds, shillings and pence to what we use today.

In 1971, Britain's monetary system saw its biggest change for more than 1,000 years.

Scroll through our gallery of pictures above to see pictures of the old coins and much more...

Before February 15, 1971, the British pound was made up of 20 shillings. Each shilling was made up of 12 pence, so a pound was 240 pence.

With decimalisation, the British pound kept its old value and name, and the only changes were in relation to the sub-units.

The shilling was abolished, and the pound was subdivided into 100 “new pence” (or p), each of which was worth 2.4 “old pence” (or d).

Some new coins were introduced before Decimal Day to help people get used to handling the new coinage. For example, the 5p and 10p coins were introduced in April 1968, and were used alongside the shilling and two shilling coins for some time before decimalisation.

The old halfpenny was withdrawn from circulation in 1969; the half-crown (2s 6d) followed on December 31 to ease the transition and the farthing, last minted in 1956, had already ceased to be legal tender in 1961.

The decimal halfpenny was introduced in 1971 and remained in circulation until 1984, when its value had been greatly reduced by inflation.

A substantial publicity campaign took place in the weeks before Decimal Day, including a song by Max Bygraves called Decimalisation, and numerous television programmes.

If you remember using the old money pre-decimalisation, the prices will look familiar on this Isle of Wight timetable dating from February 1956, which offers trips from Island stations to Bognor Regis and other destinations on the line to Brighton.

Or perhaps you played Sum.it from John Waddington Ltd (above)? This card game helped you count in old money - note the 20 shillings in the bottom right corner, which was one pound.

What do you remember about decimalisation? If you have memories about working late to make sure the tills were ready for the change at your local shop, or learning about the new coinage at school, we would love to hear about it. Simply click the submissions box below to tell us more!


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