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50 years since decimalisation: the UK's currency change was not driven by 'Europeanisation'

By Andrew John Cook, Visiting Research Fellow, History Department, University of Huddersfield
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It’s 50 years since the UK replaced its centuries-old £sd coinage with a new, streamlined decimal currency. The shift away from a currency that divided the pound into 20 shillings, each of which was further subdivided into 12 pence, directly affected everyone in the country – from school children to pensioners.

Over the years, many people in Britain have sought to paint the move to decimal currency as an early sign of the UK’s identity being subsumed by Europe. The UK’s non-decimal system was virtually unique, so abandoning it in favour of the type of currency prevalent in Europe and…


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