Jun 292013
 

The transcript of this ESL British Podcast: There was an important anniversary this week. Forty years ago, on 15 February 1971, Britain changed its currency, that is, its money system. This is what happened.

When I was a child in the fifties and sixties, Britain had a wonderfully complicated currency system. We had pounds, like we do now, but each pound was divided into 20 shillings, and each shilling was divided into 12 pence, or pennies. So, at school we learned that “12 pence make one shilling, 20 shillings make a pound”. We had to learn our 12 times tables (that is our multiplication tables) very carefully, because we needed to be able to change pence into shillings and the other way round. So, we used to chant things like “seven sevens are forty-nine, forty-nine pence is four and a penny”. (“Four and a penny” was a common way of saying “four shillings and one penny”. ) There was even a special unit of currency called a guinea. A guinea was 21 shillings, or one pound and one shilling. Posh shops sometimes gave their prices in guineas instead of pounds.

 

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