…decimal currency?… not a patch on the old Bank of England ten-bob note…

…the post-groat currency in the UK included farthings, halfpennies, pence, threepenny bits, tanners (sixpence pieces), shillings, florins, half-crowns, ten-shilling notes, and one- , five-, and ten-pound notes…

…this complicated range of hard cash and notes sufficed for the British population for centuries… complementing the standard coinage were crowns, half-sovereigns and sovereigns, plus guineas… for foreign visitors, the confusion was rife, while the locals smirked at the consternation it caused non-Brits… the financial powers-that-be decided to switch to a totally decimal currency, beginning on February 14th, 1971… sensibly, it was announced that a ‘cash-in’ exchange period would be  extended for some time after that particular Valentine’s Day… at the end of that period, all old currency would have to be surrendered at any bank offices within the British Isles, for further surrender to the Bank of England… so far so good, right?… however, human beings generally have an inherent resistance to change, and more so, older human beings… one such person of venerable status lived in a village called Salen, on the beautiful isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, where I was serving my time as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe at the noble Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank in Tobermory… at the time of this transition from the old currency to decimal, I frequently served on the mobile office the bank used to traverse the island, looking after our customers’ financial interests, principally collecting cash payments from local merchants and shop-owners, as well as cheque encashments – these were the days pre-ATMs… but back to our senior lady customer… she was totally baffled by the new-fangled coinage, and resisted using the new multi-sided ten-shilling (fifty pence) coin, preferring to handle the former red-coloured ten-bob notes… the instruction from the Head Office in Glasgow was to retire all the old notes as they appeared… however, for months we continued to let the old lady have the ten-shilling notes, of which we kept a stack on the van just for her needs… we let all the  shopkeepers in Salen know that it was okay to accept these ‘floaters’ from her and to pay them into us on the van when we came round for their weekly cash takings pay-ins… we must have been the last bank in the country to eventually surrender the old notes after our customer passed away… decimal currency?… not a patch on the old ten-bob note… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

12 responses to “…decimal currency?… not a patch on the old Bank of England ten-bob note…

  1. And a ten bob note ina Christmas card was riches to spend in the book shop 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Now that is funny, Seumas! The unofficial, but lovely, human needs outrank government mandate. All it takes is one person to force us to show our humanity.

    Happy New Year, my friend,


    Liked by 1 person

  3. a farthing for your thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Remember when the Pound actually was worth something cloae to its weight in gold?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great blog, Seumas. Another name for the ‘ren bob note’ was ‘half a sheet’. In remember asking my mother. “Mam, lend me half a sheet.” She did and I had an evening out with two pals drinking in a Manchester pub called ‘The Blue Pig.’ A night out on the strength of ten bob! Today a pint of beer would set a man back well over two pounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Now that I’m older myself I’m in sympathy with her. 🙂 — Suzanne


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