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.
Their name was evocative of bright lights, bewitching dazzles of sparkle on tulle, glitter under the chandeliers as you drank your champagne. Items that were in short supply when these sweets were launched in 1948, the same year that George Orwell looked into the future and saw nothing but a grim dystopia.
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.
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.
If you don’t know what a hospital corner is, it’s because you’ve grown up since the revolution in British bedding. Today we mostly use duvets (also called comforters) on our beds but, back in the day, we insisted on sheets and blankets. And how you tucked in those sheets mattered.
You could put these on the till in your shop to show that you accepted the daringly modern devices known as credit cards. Today, it’s more usual for merchants to put out signs when they don’t take them.