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How to write UK
pre-decimal money

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How to write old pre-decimal pennies, halfpennies and farthings

The symbol for an old penny was d.

So one penny was written as 1d.

More than one penny was written as the number of pence with d after it, e.g. 4d. The maximum was of course 11d, as 12d became a shilling.

A half a penny was written as ½d.

A farthing, i.e. a quarter of a penny, was written as ¼d.

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How to write old pre-decimal shillings

The symbol for a shilling was s but numbers of shillings were normally written with a dash and a hyphen after the number.

So, for example, one shilling was written as 1/- . Twelve shillings were written as 12/- and occasionally as 12s.

For amounts of shillings and pennies - five shillings and three pennies, for example, was written as 5/3.

For still more complex amounts, for example six shillings, eleven pence and three farthings, was written as 6/11¾.

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How to write old pre-decimal pounds, shillings and pence

The symbol for the pound did not change when Britain went decimal. In the old pre-decimal money, the pounds, shillings and pence were separated by a slash, dot or dash with a pound sign in front.

For example ten pounds, seven shillings and six pence was written as £10/7/6 and occasionally as £10.7.6 or £10-7-6. The £10.7.6 style was most customary for documents containing columns of figures, like, for example, bills. For accountancy style documents, columns lines replaced the dots or dashes. Even rounded pounds had zeros in the shillings and pence columns.

There are various examples of how money was written in bills, receipts and accountancy documents, see the top menu under housing → suburban housing.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a suitable illustration, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.