MEMORIES of money were sparked at a Rotherham care home after residents loaned 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 Broadacres Care Home, Naylor Street, Parkgate, Rotherham.
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 them 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 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.
Shirley Henshaw, 84, said: “I worked in a shop and can remember the confusion it caused when decimalisation came in and all the coins changed.”
Jessie Senior, 92, said: “I used to work a printing factory, which I started on 27th December 1942. It’s still there in Sheffield, on Wellington street.
“My job role was feeding the machines with paper. We printed Razor blade rappers and beer labels what they would stick on bottles.
“My first wage was eight shillings, which was 40p a week, which we got for three months and then, if we was satisfactory with our work, then we got kept on and got paid an extra 15 pence. Others got what they called sack.
“When I went to cinemas, if I sat in the first 12 rows it would be two and half pence. However, if we set further back it would be 10 pence in old money.”
Stephen Hulett, 70, said: “I used to work in the Forge Steelworks in Parkgate. I started there in September 1965 and my job role was a bar examiner for steel, for when we use to make tanks, ships and railways.
“My first wage was £4 18 shilling and nine pence, which I would collect on Thursday morning. I would queue outside to get my money from the steel works. It would be in a small envelope.
“I can remember when the money was changed in February, in 1971, but it didn’t effect the way I got paid and I found the change easy to work out.”
Lindsey Grady, home manager at Broadacres 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.