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How much was 10 shillings in 1949?

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How much was 10 shillings in 1949?

Old 22nd May 2022, 02:34
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How much was 10 shillings in 1949?

I was recently watching "12 O'Clock High" - it's one of all-time favorite WW II flicks. In the opening scene, the civilian (former Major) Stovall is walking down a London street in 1949 when he sees the same jug that (they used to turn around at the 918th to signal an upcoming mission) sitting in a shop window. He goes in the shop to by the jug and gets it for10 shilling. Now, the way the shopkeeper acts suggests that 10 shillings wasn't much money as he doesn't value the jug that highly. But my question is just how much was that in 1949? Yes, I know that 10 shilling was half a British Pound - but that doesn't help much. Like the US dollar, the British Pound has suffered from serious inflation in the last 70+ years.
So can someone help me out, putting the value of a British Pound in 1949 in terms that make sense today? Like how much an average Brit made per hour in 1949, or something really useful like how many pints of beer 10 shilling would have bought back then?
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Old 22nd May 2022, 03:06
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When I visited my grandfather’s house at Christmas, we three brothers were given 10 shillings each. A pound would have been unthinkable. My friend who was with me and staying over was given five shillings as a special treat. At prep school in the mid 1950s we were given two shillings’ worth of tuck every Sunday in the San. That would get you a tube of fruit gums and some chocolate, and maybe a chewy stick of something.
My mother was teaching and earning about 8 pounds a week at the time if I recall correctly.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 03:46
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Inflation calculator says the UK pound can be multiplied by 24.71 from its 1949 value, so what was ten bob in 1949 would now be twelve and a bit pounds, or one pound now would have been four pence back then..

Last edited by megan; 22nd May 2022 at 04:41.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 04:20
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You could have bought about five Imperial gallons (six US gallons) of petrol with 10/- in 1949. Alternatively, ten bob would have bought you ten pints of beer.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 04:45
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So using that 24.71 figure a gallon of petrol would have been would have been £2.47 and a pint of beer £1.23. I recall that my parents rented house cost 7/6d a week rent in the mid fifties, so just under a tenner. My mother used to buy the Sunday joint for about 8 shillings.

I bought a three bed detached house for £9,300 in 1976. The following year I bought a three year old Jaguar XJ6 from the company I worked for for £3,100 and sold it for £4,250. The profit was almost exactly one eighth of the cost of the house!
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Old 22nd May 2022, 12:43
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Can't really use the price of petrol vs a jug or pints of beer or newspapers. Inflation is not the same for every item. Just before the Yom Kippur war in 1973 we could only get £3 of petrol in the tank of my wife's Hillman Imp if the tank was almost empty - I think it was around 33p per gallon and a tank holding around 10 gallons. Then due to Arab embargo etc. prices rocketed, we were even issued petrol ration books - still got ours - and I swore that if petrol went over 50p per gallon we were walking everywhere. If I remember correctly it went to abut 55p and of course I carried on driving. Better to compare it to the average salary to see if it was affordable on an small wage.. According to the ONS in 1949, gross pay before tax and the new NI contributions a miner, who was on the higher end, was on £8 12s 2p per week and a labourer just under £6 10 shillings with a skilled craftsman somewhere in between. So you can see the relative value of 10 shillings for an ordinary chap. Can you compare house prices to salaries? Prices fluctuate and were lower in some years as people were paying higher interest rates and so on. UK house prices are particularly prone to Boom and Bust as anyone buying in the South East between 1988 and 1995 will know. So it is not as simple as saying prices overall have increased by 17, 20 or 25 times. Some hardly increased in price for many years. Our first colour TV, a SONY Trinitron, cost about £300 in 1975 and I think they stayed around that price until the last 15 years when huge smart TVs became the norm. I did an economics course in the early 1980s and they mentioned the price of Mars Bar was a good guide to inflation. Someone no doubt will know the UK military pay scales in full but I believe in 1949 a private was on around £1 10 shillings per week so that jug was one third of his wage but of course he was given food and accommodation and a regular's pay scales had a few different allowances.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 13:38
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You had a Hillman Imp?

You were lucky! We used to dream . . .



Actually 'd say the price of a Mars Bar would not be a good indicator because what Mars used to do regularly was to increase the size and label it as 20% bigger or whatever, then charge basically 20% more, then gradually reduce the size

So maybe if you took the price AND the volumetric size, maybe
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Old 22nd May 2022, 15:37
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A Scotch (mutton) pie was 3d in the school tuck shop.
Now 85p.
68x ??

PS Will I make it to 100? Not years, cash decay. Probably already got there since the base was 1938.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 15:47
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https://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/ppoweruk/


plenty of site that will calculate it for you.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 16:15
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I had a similar challenge a few years ago when I had to give a talk to an Old Age Pensioners Club on what it was like to fly with Imperial Airways down Africa to Johannesburg in the 1930s and to find a way of putting the £125 single ticket price in perspective. I tried to show how it was only the wealthy that could afford to fly and the rest had to take the longer and cheaper sea route by mailship.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 22:09
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Oddly enough, I just did a small comparison at the UK Coronation year for a church magazine page...

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Old 22nd May 2022, 22:17
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From what I could find out a loaf of bread was 6 d. So you would get three (with a bit left over) for a shilling. So 10 shillings is 31 loafs of bread. You can work out from your cost of bread what 10 shillings is. Over $120 for my region.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 23:41
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Thanks for all the replies. Obviously pretty dependent on the commodity that you base it on, but as a rough estimate I'd put 10 shillings in 1949 as something around $20 (USD), maybe a little more. Given that Stovall was a lawyer in civilian life (which made pretty good money even in 1949), ~$20 for a prized keepsake would be quite reasonable.
BTW, I was watching a program on the DC-3/C-47 last night. They mentioned that in the mid 1930's (when the DC-2 was being developed), airfare from New York to Los Angeles was about $300. Today, it's about the same, but in the mid 1930's, $300 could buy a new car.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 03:19
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Average wage in the UK in 1949 was $7 pounds. Given that 10 shillings is a bit over 7% of the weekly wage you can work it out on todays wage for your country.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 03:26
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Originally Posted by finestkind View Post
From what I could find out a loaf of bread was 6 d. So you would get three (with a bit left over) for a shilling. So 10 shillings is 31 loafs of bread. You can work out from your cost of bread what 10 shillings is. Over $120 for my region.
I'm not at all sure about your figures here: 6d is half of 1/- (a shilling) so the math would be 20 loaves in 10/-, or two loaves in 1/-

I distinctly recall being entrusted with 10d to buy a loaf in 1955, big deal for a 7 year old!
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Old 23rd May 2022, 06:37
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Worth remembering that a crown (5s) was really worth something, and even half a crown was useful money!
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Old 23rd May 2022, 06:48
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Also worth remembering that you could clean a big big carpet for less than half a crown
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Old 23rd May 2022, 09:09
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My uncle bought a very nice semi detached house near London in 1949. For £750.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 09:38
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From my memory a Hillman Imp tank was 6 gallons (UK)
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Old 23rd May 2022, 10:50
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Wodrick, my memory agrees with yours.
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