Victorian Currency

The value compared with today

© Gaskell Blog In North and South Bessy Higgins tells Margaret Hale about the mill wheel:

“I dunno. Some folk have a great wheel at one end o’ their carding-rooms to make a draught, and carry off th’ dust; but that wheel costs a deal o’ money — five or six hundred pound, maybe, and brings in no profit; so it’s but a few of th’ masters as will put ’em up; and I ve heard tell o’ men who did’nt like working in places where there was a wheel, because they said as how it made ’em hungry, after they ‘d been long used to swallowing fluff, to go without it, and that their wage ought to be raised if they were to work in such places. So between masters and men th’ wheels fall through. I know I wish there ‘d been a wheel in our place, though.”

But just how much is £500 – £600? The National Archives has a currency converter and according to it the wheel, in today’s money, costs between £29,000 – £35,000.

The Division of Victorian Currency

Sovereigns were always made of gold

The old system of money was in place; the British pound was split into 240 parts the pound (£), shilling (s), and pence (d).

1 guinea = £1

£1 = 20 s = 240 d

sovereign = 20 shilling coin ~ equal to £1

1 s = 12 p = also called a ‘bob’

half-sovereign = 10 s

crown = 5 s

Shillings were made of silver

half a Crown = 2 s and 6 d

florin = 2 s

sixpence = 6 d

groat = 4 d

threepenny bit (thrup’ny) = 3 d

Pence pieces were made of bronze and copper

twopence (tupence) = 2 d

penny = 1 d

half-penny = 1/2 pence ~ .50 d

farthing = 1/4 pence ~ .25 d

half-farthing = 1/8 pence ~ .125 d


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