MEMORIES of money were sparked at a Kirklees care home after residents lent a reminiscence box from The Royal Mint Museum.
The “museum in a box”, containing out-of-circulation replica and original coins, photographs, pamphlets and newspapers, was sent to Aden View Care Home, Perseverance Street, Primrose Hill, Huddersfield.
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 were able to handle the items, each fitted with a special micro-chip that, 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 many of those at the care home, many recalling the change from the centuries old system of pounds, shillings and pence to a new currency based on 100 pennies to the pound.
For Douglas Crombie, 86, the items were a reminder of his own coin collection. He told staff: “I have a rare double-head coin in my collection. These coins are a true step in history.”
James “Billy” Gill, 90, was fascinated by the photo of the Queen and Prince Phillip, for whom he gave a salute in his memory. He said: “When I was in the Army, a half crown was the best thing you could have.”
Lauren Shipman, activities coordinator at Aden View Care Home, said: “The museum in a box experience was so wonderful for the residents.
“Many of them can remember the switch to the decimal currency system in the early 70s and it brought back so many memories.
“We’d all like to thank The Royal Mint Museum for loaning us the museum in a box. Everyone at the home thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Dr Kevin Clancy, director of The Royal Mint Museum, said: “This February marks 50 years since Britain’s currency became decimal, introducing the coins and currency we know today. As one of the most important museums dedicated to telling the story of Britain’s money, we wanted to capture the nation’s experience of decimalisation, and provide an engaging activity for the those who lived through it.
“Each box contains a collection of original and replica objects to bring back memories of decimalisation and use the latest technology to ‘talk’ to residents. We hope the boxes will help people relive cherished memories and bring a little fun during these tough times.”
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.