• Gospel Hall Team

1971 and decimalisation



For those of our readers with an interest in history, the 15th February marked the 50th anniversary of decimal day, where each country in the United Kingdom went from £/s/d to the now more familiar system of pounds and pence.


It might not seem like a significant day as we look back over events from the last fifty years but its significance is perhaps better observed in relation to what preceded as opposed to that which has followed. The move to decimalisation in 1971 ended a system which we can trace right back to the Romans who linked their currency to precious metals such as silver and gold.


As we look back over the last fifty years it fascinates me to trace the value of everyday items and the impact of the years on the cost of goods and the impact of inflation. Some figures I found recently on the internet highlight this:

- Price rises have averaged 5.6% per annum since 1971, meaning £1 then, has the equivalent buying power of £14.24 today![1]

- A pint of milk was 5p and a loaf of bread 9p, items costing on average £1.59 in the UK today which actually means the price of both has fallen.1

If we turn to house prices;

- in 1971 the average cost of a home was £5,632 which, had prices increased in line with inflation, would be worth £82,920 today rather than £250,000, which is the price of the average home in 2021.1

The article linked to the bottom of this blog also includes some other facts and figures which you may find interesting!


Moving back into the present, it intrigues me that we already seem to be moving into another stage of financial evolution, as our society becomes increasingly cashless and everything moves towards digitalisation. In the city of London, the talk has long been of more collaborative and open methods of service provision in response to the never-ending demands for instantaneous everything.


As a relatively young person, I can’t help but take a step back and ponder about where this all ends humanly speaking and how one goes about planning for a future that I almost certainly will not be able to comprehend.


Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say about time, the rate of change and even money with one of the more well-known verses reminding us that ‘the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’.[2]


Perhaps what’s most humbling, however, is to remind ourselves of the words of King Solomon who said, ‘I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been’.[3]


Solomon recognized that life has its cycles and there is a poetic certainty to even that which is seemingly uncertain. In God, we come before one who sits outside of time and with whom things are far less changeable and a lot more stable.


I’d like to end, however, by going back to the words of Paul that we touched on above and take things in a slightly different direction in order that we might challenge our hearts.


Paul goes on to write, in the same passage in which he talks about the love of money, that the Christian’s challenge is not to compete for material gain but to, ‘not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life’.[4]


The distinctly Judeo-Christian perspective has always been that our investments in time should always be with one eye on eternity and that the exchange rate from the material into the spiritual has never been better.


As Christian’s we believe our salvation from the world and its follies has never been in the material and the root of our redemption is not in silver and gold but rather in the currency of blood, ‘the precious blood of Christ’.[5]


[1] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9259063/Royal-Mint-marks-50th-anniversary-Decimal-Day.html [2] 1 Timothy 6. 10, The Bible [3] Ecclesiastes 3. 14, 15 [4] 1 Timothy 6. 17-19 [5] 1 Peter 1. 17-19

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