A Conversation for Old English Money

Mental arithmetic

Post 1

Vestboy

Being schooled in £sd I wanted to say something in its favour. We used to, and still do, purchase items in dozens - eggs for example.

Maths Problem 1: Mary buys a dozen eggs at 7d each. How much does she pay?
Answer: 7/- (seven shillings - no multiplication tables required)
It was easy to use pennies to buy dozens of items as it converted straight to shillings.

In weight in the UK we had/have hundredweights (cwt) which were 20ths of a ton. A hundredweight was 10 stones or 140 lbs (Look there's that libra meaning pound again!)

Maths Problem 2: A coal merchant sells coal at 14/- per cwt. How much would you pay for a ton?

Answer: £14 (Yes, when you were buying in 20s (scores) you could convert shillings straight into pounds).

On decimalisation there was a clever little trick that we were taught for converting new prices into old prices for a rough guide. Take the new pence figure, double it and put a slash before the last digit. So 13p > 26 > 2/6 "Two and sixpence" (the accurate figure was that 2/6 was worth 12.5 new pence but as I said this was a rough guide.

44p > 88 > 8/8 Eight and eightpence (closer to eight and tenpence really but you get my drift)

55p > 110 > 11/- Eleven shillings - Bang on!


Mental arithmetic

Post 2

Uncle_Gweilo

Actually a ton is 2,240 pounds. A hundredweight, as you correctly state, is one twentieth of a ton, but this is 112 pounds or 8 stone.


Mental arithmetic

Post 3

Vestboy

Ah, yes the mind was going. Thanks for the correction.


Mental arithmetic

Post 4

simon bolivar

Apropos arithmetic feats, I recall a barman in Manchester in the mid- 1980's who would price up every round of drinks in pounds, shilling and pence and loudly advise one's change in the same way.

I should add that, after say 4 pints of Boddingtons, no-one in my rabble of drinking mates could be bothered to check his calculations, but it was a good party-piece, nonetheless.

The pub (Tommy Ducks ?) and the barman, sadly long gone...


Mental arithmetic

Post 5

Vestboy

I've been to Tommy Ducks - didn't they sit around a coffin with a glass lid on toilet seats?


Mental arithmetic

Post 6

simon bolivar

Yes, staring at ladies underwear nailed to the ceiling. Just champion, lad !


Mental arithmetic

Post 7

Vestboy

And prehistoric p*rn postcards on the walls!


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Mental arithmetic

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