MEMORIES of money were sparked at a Skelmersdale care home after residents were 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 Aaron Crest Care Home, on Tanhouse Road.
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 many of those living at the care home, some 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.
Jean Metcalf, 81, said: “I remember the coins from being sent to the shop every night for a fish and 10 cigarettes for my dad after he finished work.”
Jean still had some old pennies and two pence pieces from before the decimalisation switch, which she has donated to the home. Fellow resident, Lorraine Rider, 57, who used to make jewellery, plans to clean them up before they are framed and put on display.
Sarah O’Shaughnessy, activities coordinator at Aaron Crest Care Home, said: “I was absolutely amazed at how quickly residents were able to recognise and name all the old coins.
“Everyone said they found it quite easy moving from old to new money back in 1971 and they didn’t have too many problems.
“They enjoyed telling stories of how many things they could get for a penny; sweets, bus fare, chips and cinema trips, among others.
“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.