MONEY was the talk of a Barnsley care home after residents were loaned a reminiscence box from The Royal Mint Museum.
The “museum in a box”, containing replica and original coins, photographs, pamphlets and newspapers, was sent to Deangate Care Home, Towngate, Mapplewell.
The initiative was launched by The Royal Mint Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of Britain’s switch to decimal currency in February 1971.
Residents in the home’s dementia suite were able to handle the items, each fitted with a special micro-chip which, when placed on the box, played audio clips telling the history of the object.
Among the items was a wallet containing a set of Britain’s first decimal coins, a photograph of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting Llantrisant, Wales, to open the new mint, an information booklet and decimal currency poster.
The activity sparked memories among the residents, many of whom can recall the change from the centuries old system of pounds, shillings and pence to a new currency based on 100 pennies to the pound.
Joyce Street, 92, said: “You were lucky if you got five shillings a week and that had to be spread across the whole family. Or we would barter if we didn’t have any money to buy anything. Barter flour for cotton or coal.”
For Ann Martin Wells, 80, the session sparked memories of her younger years, recalling life in the late 60s and early 70s. She said: “I remember how my mum was always well-groomed, but I was a bit of a rebel.”
Nora Collett, 76, recognised the face of King George on one of the coins and was able to share memories from her childhood.
Rachael Addy, activities coordinator at Deangate Care Home, said: “It was such a wonderful experience for the residents. They thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It also made me think about the value of money itself and I told my little boy Ed about the amount of money families lived on in the past.
“The residents enjoyed trying to convert old money into what it would be in new money, which made everyone smile.
“We’d all like to thank The Royal Mint Museum for lending us the museum in a box.”
The museum’s well-being project is part of a national programme of activities with the aim of sparking memories of the currency changeover. To learn more visit www.royalmintmuseum.org.uk/decimalisation.