It was February 1971 when The Royal Mint led the nation through the daunting undertaking of changing the UK coinage from pounds, shillings and pence to the decimal currency system we use today. Now, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day, The Royal Mint Museum has been busy putting together an exciting national programme of activities with the aim of connecting generations and getting people talking about their memories of the changeover.
A Short Story Competition
Primary school pupils in Wales were asked to write a 500-word short story inspired by Decimal Day in 1971 and what the change to decimal money must have been like for people at the time. The competition will be judged in February by the celebrated children’s author Eloise Williams and prizes will be awarded to the pupil behind the winning story along with their school.
“As Children’s Laureate Wales I am very excited to encourage creative writing in young people and look forward to reading the stories. The key ingredients I am looking for are creativity and imagination – use those in abundance and you can’t go wrong.”
The Medal Design Competition
An opportunity to design both the obverse and reverse of a special decimalisation anniversary medal is being offered to undergraduate university students. The winning designs will feature on a medal made by The Royal Mint, which will become part of the permanent collection at The Royal Mint Museum. Budding artists will have to impress a judging panel that includes Dr Kevin Clancy, Director of The Royal Mint Museum, Gordon Summers, The Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, and Stephen Raw, an artist and lettering expert.
Decimalisation Reminiscence Sessions
After learning that sharing decimalisation memories can be a positive experience for those who lived through the changeover, The Royal Mint Museum has developed special reminiscence sessions. The sessions involve specially curated boxes containing original and replica objects for people to handle and chat about, which will be loaned out to local care homes, completely free of charge.