Friday, February 10, 2006

Pre-decimal British currency

1 pound = 20 shillings
1 pound = 240 pence
1 pound = 1 sovereign
1 crown = 5 shillings
1 half crown = 2 shillings, six pence
1 florin = 2 shillings
1 shilling = 12 pence
1 penny = 4 farthings
1 groat = 4 pence
shilling = "hog" or "deaner"
half crown = "tosheroon"
sixpence = "sprowsie" or "tanner"


ken said...

Excellent! I wish I had seen this chart before reading the Baroque Cycle.

mattbucher said...

I just love the idea of someone asking "How much?" and replying "Two hog six" or "a tosheroon and sprowsie."

It also comes in handy in all the Dickens stuff. I got most of the slang from Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, but realized I couldn't find a decent chart for the conversions so I made this one up.

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Angela said...

I have never seen the expression sprowsie or sprazzie for a sixpence anywhere but in Down and Out in London and Paris except a useage by my Grandfather and in a 1950s radio episode of the Glums (Jimmy Edwards, Dick Bentley and June Whitfield) When Ron (Barker) had a "Sprazzie" up his nose. The BBC published the scripts in the 1970s and released a recording of the show. As the show was written by Frank Muir and Denis Nordon and Muir is from East Kent (as I am) I suspect that it is a Kentish expression, not a cockney one.

LAURA said...

I think a half crown should be 2 shillings and sixpence

Tony said...

Angela - I was brought up in the east End 1937 - 1966 and sprazzie was common usage amongst the young. At Upton Park we used to play Sprazzie a corner during West Ham home games. Frank Muir was educated in the East End at Leyton County High School and always claimed he was educated at Eton. The Leyton postcode in those days was Leyton E10. I'll let you work that one out.