Seven decades in seven days - 1970s

Throughout the week, will will be sharing objects from from the collections we care for from seven decades of Her Majesty the Queen's reign, to mark the Platinum Jubilee. Today, we are stepping back to the 1970s.  

1970s: Decimal Day

During the 1970s, disco was king and the Queen was celebrating her Silver Jubilee.

In this decade, Britain could no longer resist decimalisation and 'D-Day', as it became known, finally took place on 15 February 1971.

For any young readers, our old coinage system contained three types of coin; pounds (£), shillings (s) and pence (d). A total of 240 pence made £1. Decimalisation created the simpler system we know today, removing the shilling and making 100 pennies equal £1.

Whilst many embraced the new coinage, others took time to adapt. Decimal currency convertors such as this one in our collection became popular tools. They enabled shoppers to quickly convert a price in ‘new’ pence into shillings and old pence which they understood.

Decimalisation also changed the monarchs on our coins. Beforehand, portraits from Queen Victoria through to George VI were still in circulation. In some cases, pennies over 100 years old were in everyday use. From 1971, all these different monarchs were removed, and for the first time, the current Queen's head was the only one to be found on coins.

Decimalisation also brought about the second of five head designs to be minted in the Queen's reign. The 1971 design of the Queen as a young woman replaced the 1953 design depicting her wearing a laurel wreath.

Learn more about what we are doing at Hampshire Cultural Trust's venues to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Jubilee | Hampshire Cultural Trust

This article was written by:
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Sam Butcher

Curatorial Assistant who looks after objects and works to make them accessible to the public.
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