The Giro

It survives in letters on your paying-in slips. But the Giro as shorthand for a bleak life on benefits is fading from memory. Perhaps for the best.

£50 holiday money

Once, your holiday spending was limited to fifty pounds per person per year. That’s all you could take out of the country. Might be good for a couple of croissants but what about a fortnight in Finland?

Charles Darwin on paper

Britain’s bonfire of the banknotes continues. Our old £10 notes featuring Charles Darwin have been gradually replaced by ones featuring Jane Austen since September 2017. From today, shops are entitled to refuse to take the Charles Darwin.

The round pound

This coming weekend (October 2017) sees the last days of legality in the UK for the round one-pound coin. Those of us who still haven’t recovered from our pounds disappearing as notes, this seems like dizzyingly rapid change. After all, it was only in 1983 that the round pound arrived, replacing those green pieces of paper.

Green Shield stamps

Green Shield stamps were a promotional scheme. When you bought something at a participating store, you were rewarded with a certain number of the green stamps. You stuck the stamps in little books. Each book contained 1,280 stamps. That’s a lot of licking.

Money in fractions

As news today reveals that the British government recently considered dropping the 1p and 2p coins from circulation, I am reminded that I grew up in a world where money came in half pennies as well as pennies. Money came in fractions.


Until cash machines started blossoming during the 1980s, getting your hands on actual cash was a procedure. You’d have to go into the actual bank just to check whether you had any money you could take out.