Learning How to Decimalise (with the Post Office)


In 1971, the United Kingdom changed its long‑standing traditional £sd currency of pounds, shillings and pence to a decimalised currency of pounds and pence, thus coming into line with practice in the vast majority of other countries.

Suggestions for the decimalisation of British currency went back to the mid‑19th century, but despite many discussions and reports over the next century or so, no concrete proposals for decimalisation were agreed until the 1960s.

The idea was given a boost by South Africa's successful conversion to the rand in 1961, with Australia and New Zealand also planning to decimalise. A Committee of Inquiry reported in favour in 1963, with an authorising Act in 1967. The pound sterling was retained as the basic unit, now split into 100 new pence worth 2.4 old pence each, with a ½p unit worth 1.2d as an interim measure. Monday 15th February 1971 was chosen as "Decimalisation Day" or "D‑Day" (although as it happened, this was right in the middle of the 7‑week‑long "Great Postal Strike").

The Post Office was a key organisation in the economic life of the UK, and it needed to adapt to the new currency across a wide range of areas – as of course did the general public. This presentation shows training materials used to offer instruction in the key points of decimal currency. It covers both those used to inform the public, either with the help of the Post Office or in matters postal, and those used to train Post Office staff in the new decimal procedures.


Introduction: 1
General Public Information: 2‑4
Post Office Staff Training Material: 5‑10
Postal Guides For The Public: 11‑16


Frame 1

  1. Introduction
General Public Information
  1. Decimal Currency Sets
  2. Decimal Currency Board Leaflets
  3. Your Guide to Decimal Money Booklet
Post Office Staff Training Material
  1. Postal Decimalisation Bulletins
  2. Later Postal Decimalisation Bulletins
  3. Books of Training Exercises for Postal Employees
  4. Dummy Stamps for Use in Training Exercises
  5. Postal Decimalisation Instructions Loose‑Leaf Booklet
  6. Post Office Training School Overprints
Postal Guides For The Public
  1. Guide to Decimal Currency in the Post Office – Public Edition
  2. Guide to Decimal Currency in the Post Office – Business Edition
  3. "Grille Poster" Advertising the Guide to Decimal Currency
  4. "Decimal currency in the Post Office" Cancelling Machine Slogan
  5. Decimal Currency Training Booklet for the Public, PL(M)7057
  6. Decimal Postal Charges Booklet for the Public, PL(S) 4051/1/71