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ANSWERED on Mon 1 Oct 2007 - 12:43 pm UTC by Phil Answerfinder

Question: For Answerfinder: How much Chocolate could a young lady buy for Five Shillings in 1925?

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probo 

Customer

 30 Sep 2007 06:31 UTCSun 30 Sep 2007 - 6:31 am UTC 

Plus any other examples that will illustrate what could be bought for this sum.

Obviously, Phil, I am not going to tell you the relevance of this question ...

I don't want to make it too easy for you, especially after you have again skived off 'for a few days'.

Bryan

 

myoarin 

User

 30 Sep 2007 17:35 UTCSun 30 Sep 2007 - 5:35 pm UTC 

A young girl in 1925 should not have bought chocolates for herself, should not have needed to, if she was an attractive young girl, and we know that Bryan only is interested in attractive young girls  - personally.

Professionally, however, - in his second profession of snooping around the British archives -  he may have someone in mind who had to buy them herself.

I'm betting that for a quarter of a pound she could have gotten a nice tin of cheaper chocolates.

 

probo 

Customer

 30 Sep 2007 18:35 UTCSun 30 Sep 2007 - 6:35 pm UTC 

Hi Larry

The young lady in question was arrested late in the evening in Hyde Park after dallying there with a VERY well-known gentleman (a former Prime Minister) who was also arrested but, mysteriously, he gave the police a false name!

In her evidence, she testified that she had asked the well-known gentleman for five shillings - to buy some chocolate. And he had obliged.

She admitted in Court that she had previously been arrested for similar offences.

I guess that she must have been addicted to chocolate. It happens.

C'est la vie!

Bryan

 

myoarin 

User

 30 Sep 2007 21:37 UTCSun 30 Sep 2007 - 9:37 pm UTC 

Hmmm, I checked out former PMs of the day, who shall remain unnamed. 
If he had been able to watch US cop TV shows, he'd have known that passing even five bob to a lady in public could be missinterpreted.
I withdraw my bet on how much chocolate she could have bought ...

 

myoarin 

User

 1 Oct 2007 00:17 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 12:17 am UTC 

Hehe, I know now ...,  lots of chocolate, but I'll leave it to a researcher to post.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Answer

 1 Oct 2007 12:43 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 12:43 pm UTC 

Bryan,

Our lady of the night seemed to be mixing with the upper echelons of society, so perhaps she would have picked up some expensive chocolate tastes.

Should could have bought some Fry’s Milk Cubes at 1/2 per ½ lb block, or ½lb packets of Fry’s Milk Chocolate at 1/2 each, or bars of Meltis chocloate priced at 4d, 8d, and 1/3 (the latter ½lb net.). At afternoon tea, she could treat herself to Frott’s chocolate biscuits at 3/6 a tin. At Easter she could have popped down to Harrod’s and treated herself to a 1lb chocolate egg packed with all different chocolates, cost 5/-;  or an Easter basket filled with chocolate eggs and decorated with chicks and spring flowers.

If she felt out of place in Harrod’s and wanted to mix with her own class, she could have gone to the cheaper end of the range and popped into the corner shop and purchased 5/- worth of ½ penny chocolate pieces - each a small cube of chocolate.

If she’d rather concentrate on the business of just surviving, the common food prices I’ve seen quoted were as follows:

Loaf of bread 8d - 8½d  for a large loaf
Milk 6d a quart
Danish butter 2/2 a lb.
New Zealand butter 1/10  a lb.
Lamb 2/- a lb.
Mutton 1/2 a lb.
Sirloin of Scotch beef 1/9 and topside 1/8 a lb.
Cod 1/2 a lb.
Halibut 1/2 to 1/6 a lb.

Rent is difficult to establish as locations and types of property varied greatly, but I think 7/- to 12/- a week would not be unreasonable for her station in life.

A social night out might cost 13/6 for a bottle of good Scotch, cheaper for a rough brand; while Players No3 cigarettes were 20 for 1 /4 - a few pence cheaper for the rougher brands 9d - 11d. Beer at 6d a pint.

If she fancied a night at the pictures, she could go to the Tivoli in the Strand WC2 to see Scaramouche. The cheaper seats at 1/3, and  8/6 for the posh ones.

She could always go to the Opera and perhaps pick up some new friends. At the Regent, King’s Cross, to see The Immortal Hour, cost 1s to 8/6.

A trip to the Zoological gardens cost 1s, but it was cheaper on Mondays at 6d.

She could go and visit the British Empire Exhibition. A special combined return railway ticket and admission cost 2/9 third class and 3/9 first class (20 miles radius of Wembley Hill Station).

Getting around London by omnibus is shown in these examples: Marble Arch to Piccadilly 2d, Charing Cross to Mitcham 6d, Southall to Victoria 9d. Taxi-cabs had varying rates but initial hire cost 9d, and then various rates per mile and dependent on number of passengers. Railway fares were 1½d a mile for third class passengers

Finally, if standing out in the Hyde Park night air made her feel unwell and she caught Influenza, a bottle of Wincarnis which ‘fortifies the body‘ cost 5/-.

And having given up that occupation because of ill-health she became a zealous reformer, she could purchase six ‘useful booklets for Girls on how Venereal Diseases are caught’ at 1/5 for set and hand them out to her former associates.

I have used the Times database for the vast majority of this research.
I hope I have provided everything you require. Do ask for clarification if I have not.

Phil
answerfinder

 

probo 

Customer

 1 Oct 2007 12:59 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 12:59 pm UTC 

Phil

You never cease to amaze ...

Much more than I expected ...

All the Best

Bryan

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 1 Oct 2007 13:22 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 1:22 pm UTC 

Bryan,

Thank you for your generous tip. An interesting exercise.

Phil
answerfinder

 

johnfrommelbourne 

User

 1 Oct 2007 13:45 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 1:45 pm UTC 

It appears England was a more expensive place than Australia as I can go back to when I was just old enough to venture a little way from home in mid 60s and purchasing chocolate and fish & chips. I remembera  large block of chocolate at 1 shilling and although I cant remember price of a piece of fish(  Gummy shark mostly)which is still the most popula, the chips I got o go with it would be 6d. Even when decimal currency came in in 66 I clearly remember buying 5 potato cakes( if you know what they are; i.e flat round pieces of potato encased in batter  about 5 inches across) and paying 10 cents for the five,ie 2 cents each.. In 1967 I would buy a cheeseburger for lunch at 15 cents followed by a lovely banana fritter( fried banana in batter with one or two scoops of icecream and banana topping on top) in 1967 for 13 cents so that less than 30 cents got me a good lunch!!  Those were the days my friend........ I wish they would never end................

 

myoarin 

User

 1 Oct 2007 15:58 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 3:58 pm UTC 

Or the young lady could have bought Cadbury's "Dairy Milk" chocolate, well maybe only a couple of years later:

"With rambling and fell walking all the rage in the inter-war years, it was perhaps appropriate that Cadbury featured a wayfaring couple [sic!] in their 1933 press advertisement campaign. “Look! That’s why most of the milk chocolate sold is Cadburys” exclaims one hiker to the other as they encounter a rural billboard advertising Cadbury Dairy Milk blocks – available for only 8 1/2d per half-pound block."
http://www.cadburydairymilk.co.uk/EN/CDM100/history/1925/advert.htm

Five shillings would have paid for 7 of those 1/2 lb blocks, enough to sustain her for quite a bit of "rambling" in and around Hyde Park.

 

Roger Browne 

Researcher

 1 Oct 2007 16:02 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 4:02 pm UTC 

johnfrommelbourne wrote:

> ...Even when decimal currency came in in 66...

It seems like you and I are from the same era, so you may enjoy this:

   YouTube - The Dollar Bill Advertisement
   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZVEEs-RJpw

I was in second grade when the currency changed, and I was soooo glad I was not going to have to learn arithmetic in pounds shillings and pence as shown in that ad.

 

kemlo 

User

 1 Oct 2007 18:03 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 6:03 pm UTC 

I seem to remember that young men/ guardsmen were more expensive at 10/- each.


KEML0

 

John E 

Researcher

 1 Oct 2007 20:26 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 8:26 pm UTC 

Ah, inflation...

I saw a video about the Federal Reserve Banking System recently which pointed out that the same Roman gold coin which would pay the price of outfitting you in grand Roman style with, say, a tunic, a belt, and sandals would still buy you an equivalent modern outfit in this century in America, say, a suit, shirt, belt, and shoes.

So real value hasn't changed at all...just the numbers have been inflated.

 

myoarin 

User

 1 Oct 2007 20:39 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 8:39 pm UTC 

Roger and J from M,

About those shillings and pence vs cents, it seems that it could be a problem both ways.  When I got to Australia in 1970 and once bought something in a little store, the not so young shopowner looked at the A$ and cents price and then pulled out a well-worn conversion table to confirm to herself that the cents portion was correct, apparently still having a recollection of the previous shillings and pence price for the item.

But I should be surperior; it's taken me about as long to recognize Euro coins at first glance.

Cheers, Myo

 

fjg064 

User

 1 Oct 2007 23:08 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 11:08 pm UTC 

a great many stars of uclue and the long forgotten google answers added comments to this interesting subject. i was wondering if someone could translate the british monetary units to american monetary units circa 1925. we u.s'ers are indeed interested  in the goings-on and interesting things that probono among others are up to. i mean this in a flattering way...thank you

 

kemlo 

User

 1 Oct 2007 23:29 UTCMon 1 Oct 2007 - 11:29 pm UTC 

Simple

There was one guinea to a pound
There were three angels to a pound
There were four crowns to a pound
There were eight half-crowns to a pound
there were ten florins to a pound
there were twenty shillings to a pound
there were forty tanners to a pound
There were eighty threepenny bits in a pound
There were two hundred and forty pennies in a pound
there were four hundred and eighty halfpennies in a pound
there were none hundred and sixty farthings in a pound

 

johnfrommelbourne 

User

 2 Oct 2007 04:08 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 4:08 am UTC 

In Australia doctors & layers  charged in Guineas, so one visit must have been a Guinea I guess, i.e 21 shillings or,  1 pound 1 shilling.

 

daisey 

User

 2 Oct 2007 07:21 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 7:21 am UTC 

Kemlo,

I think you will find there is 0.9523809 guineas to a pound there was


One Sovereign to the pound

D.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 2 Oct 2007 07:33 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 7:33 am UTC 

 

probo 

Customer

 2 Oct 2007 08:02 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 8:02 am UTC 

Welcome fjg064 - Great to see you here and many thanks for your appreciative words!

On February 15 1971, the UK Currency was decimalised, previously having used a system known as £sd (Pounds, Shillings and Pence) which had 240 Pence to the Pound. Confusingly, the Pound was also divided into Shillings and one Shilling represented one twentieth of a Pound (or 12 Pence). Prices were usually expressed in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.

The case for decimalisation was investigated in 1918 by the House of Lords which recommended its early adoption. After that things moved quickly (for the UK) so that 53 years later it was Goodbye to Shillings and Pence,

You'll find an interesting article in Wiki (where else?):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_coinage   

Also, as has been pointed out, Guineas were also used, usually by people who wanted to be posh. Hence many horse racing prizes were expressed in Guineas.

I now see that Answerfinder has provided a link (I hope that it agrees with mine. He - being a REAL RESEARCHER - always does it better!)

Bryan

 

probo 

Customer

 2 Oct 2007 08:06 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 8:06 am UTC 

As I suspected, Answerfinder has provided a great link which also shows the rich variety of coins that used to be in circulation.

Bryan

 

probo 

Customer

 2 Oct 2007 09:05 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 9:05 am UTC 

Oops I wrote 'Goodbye to Shillings and Pence'.

Whereas Pence remain but there are now 100 to the Pound.

Actually, the symbols did change so that 'D' (for Denarius) was replaced by 'P' (for Pence).

As you must know, countless Americanos made 'a trip' to the UK because they only knew 'LSD' as Lysergic Acid Diethylomide', rather than the more mundane 'Libra Solidus Denarius'.

Talk about hallucinating!

Bryan

 

Roger Browne 

Researcher

 2 Oct 2007 11:21 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 11:21 am UTC 

fjg064: According to the "Real Value" calculator, a pound would buy about the same in the UK in 1925 as $55.53 would buy in the US in 2006.

Therefore, five shillings (a "quarter pounder"), would buy about the same in 1925 as $13.88 would in 2006.

Measuring Worth - Historical Exchange Rate Calculator
http://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/exchange/index.php

 

Roger Browne 

Researcher

 2 Oct 2007 11:35 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 11:35 am UTC 

There's much more information about this in a Google Answers question that was answered by pinkfreud:

Explanation of monetary names in English Literature
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=332665

 

probo 

Customer

 2 Oct 2007 13:31 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 1:31 pm UTC 

It's unthinkable but I have detected an error in a Link cited in the GA Answer by the Pink Lady.

The Pound Sterling has been devalued!

Pre WWII, the Exchange Rate was fixed at $4US = £1. After WWII, it was $2,4US = £1. (I think) This didn't affect UK Loans from the US as these were denominated in Gold.

Then, following a Sterling Crisis, Harold Wilson devalued it further in 1964.

Now, of course, we have Floating Exchange Rates.

Bryan

 

myoarin 

User

 2 Oct 2007 20:44 UTCTue 2 Oct 2007 - 8:44 pm UTC 

Hi Bryan,

I noticed that too.  I think that site was sloppy in its use of terms, referring to the lopping off of zeros on  - I believe -  the Italian Lira as a "devaluation".  The currency was already devalued, as was the Turkish Lira more recently, prices for everything in thousands and millions amounts.

Knocking off six zeros is actually a "revaluation" of the currency, making the basic unit worth more, both in local purchase value and relative to other currencies.

You are quite right, prior to floating exchange rates, under the Bretton Woods Agreement exchange rates were narrowly fixed and devaluation or revaluation (of the DMark) were exceptional events and the Pound was certainly devalued.

Cheers, Myo

 

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