MEMORIES of money were sparked at a Sandiacre 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 Longmoor Lodge Care Home, Longmoor Lane.
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 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 Derek Crookes, 77, the coins brought back memories of how he and his friends used to earn money during his younger years.
He said: “I had a newspaper round and got paid 6 shillings, which I spent on tuffies in the corner shop. My first real wage was 10 shillings and I thought I was rich.
“I had friends that were in the Scouts and they had “Bob Job Week” when they could get paid a bob for completing a job.
“I remember when we switched to the new money, lots of people weren’t happy as they didn’t trust it, but they soon adjusted.”
The items had Freda Bridle, 89, reminiscing about her family and how, despite not being rich, they were always very happy.
She said: “I come from a family of 13 but mam would always make sure we had plenty to eat. She would make lots of jam and sweets were made using treacle. Dad was a chef as well, so we always had nice meals cooked.
“Everything we had was homemade and clothes were handed down. We weren’t rich with money but we were very happy and never went without.”
As well as going through the items from The Royal Mint Museum, residents played a version of “The Price Is Right”, guessing how much things cost in the 1970s.
Talking about the sixpence also sparked a rendition of “I’ve Got a Sixpence”. And the day was finished with a 1970s inspired tea of spam salad and quiche, along with cheese and pineapple sticks.
Sammy Ely, home manager at Longmoor Lodge Care Home, said: “The residents thoroughly enjoyed their deep dive back in history, exploring the old coins and sharing their memories.
“Most staff didn’t recognised the coins and I myself found it a little confusing as they used so many different names like a florin and a guinea.
“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.