Reminiscence for Residents at Puddingstone Grange

This week Catherine, Stella, Joyce and Maryanne, all residents at Puddingstone Grange care home, recalled the conversion to decimal currency back in February 1971, thanks to The Royal Mint Museum and the help of a pre-decimalisation coin box.

The interactive box contained a purse containing a half-crown coin, shilling, tuppenny, farthing, halfpenny, sixpence, and a decimal coin currency converter- also, a wallet containing new coins including the 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 pence piece. The box also included photographs of the opening of the Royal Mint building in Wales, which the Queen attended.

Pauline Hill, Activities Coordinator, said, “The coin box was a beautiful tool to use as a conversation starter with the residents. It helped to evoke memories from the past, and we spent all afternoon reminiscing. It was so exciting for us all to look at the coins and talk about them.

All of the museum pieces were interactive, and when placed on the interactive yellow box, they would play music from the period and tell stories of the change to the decimalisation coins. The ladies listened and laughed while recounting their experiences of the change.

Maryanne told me how in 1965, she was 14 years old and working in the local sweet shop on the till. She said she felt excited about the coins changing, ‘as it was all rather modern”.

She then went on to say how confusing it became with some people purchasing things in the local shop, but Maryanne was on hand to explain and help guide them through. She recalled the owner of the shop displaying government posters informing customers of the changes.”

Maryanne, Resident, said, “It was a big deal back then. There was a lot of mistrust with the older community, particularly when it came to purchasing their daily newspaper. They could not grasp how the newspaper now cost 5p and not the usual shilling; there was uproar at times!”

Another resident remembered how in Scotland, different pound notes were depending upon each bank. For example, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale bank would have additional coloured pound notes.

Stella loved looking at the coins and said she found the change to decimalisation ‘very straightforward’. She shared that the country ‘was well notified and lots of advertising took place, so everyone felt very informed about the change.’

Pauline said, “Catherine was at school at the time and told us all how the children’s maths lessons started teaching the pupils all about the new coins a few years before the change becoming effective. Joyce told me it was very nostalgic to hold and feel the coins in her hand, it reminded her of her pocket money.

Thank you to The Royal Mint Museum for sharing this wonderful experience with us all. You can tell we had a wonderful time reminiscing about the good old days and talking about how the world has evolved around the currency we used to use and what we use now!”

Visit here to find out more or to arrange a virtual tour at Puddingstone Grange care home.