Buying an ounce of tobacco

At Market Lavington Museum, Joy’s oral history recording gives us insight into many aspects of life in the neighbouring village of Easterton in the years before the second world war. Her father, a baker there, smoked a pipe. Joy remembered being sent to Godfrey’s or Burnett’s shop to buy him an ounce of tobacco. (16 oz (ounces) = 1 lb (pound). A kilogram is about the equivalent of 2lb 3oz.) She would be given a shilling to pay for the tobacco.

For more information and pictures of the two shops, see Easterton Shop – 1930s and Easterton Shop in the 1930s.

The silver coin on the left is a shilling. (20s (shillings) = £1). There were twelve copper pennies in a shilling (so 240d = £1). Joy remembered that the tobacco cost elevenpence halfpenny an ounce, which left a halfpenny change, with which she could buy sweets.

Fruit chews were four a penny or a farthing each, so Joy could buy two chews with the change.

Britain did not convert to decimal currency until February 1971, although farthings were no longer in use by then.

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