As the nation gears up to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Money Mail shares 70 facts about how our finances have changed during her reign.
When the Queen succeeded to the throne in 1952 a pint of beer cost 9p, the average property cost £1,891 and the basic rate state pension was £1.63 a week for a single person
The Queen was the first monarch to appear on an English bank note in 1960 — her portrait featured on the new £1 note .
Monarchs featured on Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes from 1727.
There are 27 billion coins in circulation that feature the Queen’s portrait.
Britain switched from shillings to 100 pennies in the pound in 1971.
More than 3.4 billion new coins were minted for ‘Decimal Day’ on February 15 that year.
The sixpence remained in circulation until 1980.
The last pre-decimal coin to be pulled was the florin, which was used alongside the 10p until 1993.
The first cash machine was launched in London in 1967.
By 2017, there were 70,180 in the UK. But thousands have disappeared and there are now 52,282 ATMs.
Britain had more than 20,000 bank branches in 1988. Last year there were 8,810.
There were 796 building societies in 1952, with 4.7 million members. Today, there are 43 and nearly 26 million people are members.
> Historic inflation calculator: How the value of money has changed since 1900
Easy money: Actor Reg Varney – best known for his role as Stan in the sitcom On The Buses – makes the first withdrawal from the world’s first cash machine at Barclays bank in Enfield
Cheques & cards
Cheque usage peaked in 1990, when four billion were written.
Last year, just 185 million were used and High Street providers no longer routinely offer chequebooks.
Barclays issued the UK’s first credit card in 1966. Now 69 per cent of adults have one.
Debit cards were launched in 1987, with 98 per cent of the population using them today.
Nationwide Building Society introduced the first-ever internet banking service in 1997. By 2020, 72 per cent of adults banked online.
Chip-and-PIN payments were introduced in 2003 to cut fraud.
Contactless cards were first issued in September 2007 with a £10 limit. Today’s limit is £100.
Rationing was still in place in 1952, ending in July 1954.
The average weekly food bill in 1952 was 20 shillings and 8 pence per person. In 2020, it was £63.90.
Bottle rockets: In 1952, a pint of milk cost 4p. Today it’s 69p
When the Queen became monarch only 8 per cent of people owned a fridge — compared with 98 per cent today.
In the 1950s, 6 per cent of all spending went on tobacco. Only 1 per cent does now.
Alcohol spending has remained similar — with 3 per cent of budgets spent on it in 1952, and 2 per cent today.
A pint of beer cost 9p in 1952, rising to £4.08 on average now.
In 1952, a pint of milk cost 4p. Today it’s 69p.
Seventy years ago, 10 per cent of a household’s income went on clothes. Now it is 4 per cent.
In 1952, there was a radio licence, which cost £1, and a monochrome (TV) licence, which cost £2.
Now, TV licences cost £159 a year.
It cost three halfpence to send a letter 70 years ago. Now a first-class stamp is 95p.
The Daily Mail cost three halfpence in 1952, increasing to 80p today.
Inflation has averaged 4.6 per cent in the past 70 years.
When the Queen took to the throne, inflation was 9.2 per cent. At 9 per cent, it is currently its highest in 40 years.
One pound in 1952 had the buying power of £35 today.
Inflation soared to double digits for eight years in the 1970s, peaking at 24.2 per cent in 1975.
There was a 30-year period of low inflation from the late 1980s, dipping to 0 per cent in 2015.
Viewing figures: In 1952, there was a radio licence which cost £1 and a monochrome (TV) licence which cost £2. Now, TV licences cost £159
The Bank of England’s interest rate jumped from 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent just after the Queen began her reign.
Interest rates hit 17 per cent in the 1970s and fell to a record low of 0.1 per cent during the pandemic.
There are 36 investment trusts that have been around since before the Queen acceded to the throne, including Scottish Mortgage (launched 1909), says investment platform AJ Bell.
In 1952, the average property cost £1,891 — £56,000 in today’s money.
Now the average home is £260,771 — 130 times higher than in 1952.
A house was then worth four times the average salary — now it’s more than eight times annual wages.
Around four million people owned their home then. Now, more than 15 million do.
In 1952, 96 per cent of a household’s power came from coal. By 2020 it was just 3 per cent.
Hot property: In 1952 a house was then worth four times the average salary- now it’s more than eight times annual wages
Working women were still being refused mortgages in their own right until the 1970s.
Until 1990, married women were routinely taxed under their husband’s tax code.
Before then, a married woman’s income had to be declared on her husband’s tax return.
In 1952, the basic rate state pension was £1.63 a week for a single person. Married couples received £2.70 a week, or £140.40 a year.
Now the basic state pension is £141.85 a week for a single person and £226.85 for a married couple.
The state pension was 31 per cent of average earnings when the Queen took to the throne. It is now 23.
In the 1950s, the state pension age was 65 for men and 60 for women. Today, it is 66 for both.
There were around 6.8 million pensioners then — there are some 12.1 million now.
When the Queen became monarch only 8% of people owned a fridge – compared with 98% today
At the start of the Queen’s reign, the life expectancy for a baby boy was 66.4 years and 71.5 for a girl — today it is 79 and 82.9 respectively.
In 1952, the average person never made it to state pension age.
Today, the average life expectancy for people nearing state pension age is 68 for men and 74 for women.
In October 1952, the family allowance rose to eight shillings to improve childhood nutrition.
Prescription charges of one shilling were introduced in 1952. Today, it is £9.35 per item.
In 1952, the average male working full time earned £452 a year. This is £9,696 in today’s money.
The average female worker earned £240 a year in 1952 — £5,149 in today’s money.
In 2022, the average annual salary is £31,772.
In 1952, 8.7 million people — 40 per cent of full-time employees — worked in manufacturing and six million in the public sector.
The most common occupation now is care worker.
In 1952, home insurance described fire, burglary and storms as ‘thunderbolt’, ‘larceny’ and ‘tempest’.
Damage to property by horses and cattle was grouped with damage by motor vehicles.
A home contents checklist included possessions such as pianos and servants’ goods.
Travel insurance policies also charged an excess for some unusual items including typewriters.
Televisions and wireless radios were considered luxuries in 1952, commanding their own policies.
From the 1950s cremation became more popular as a cheaper alternative to burial.
In 1952, 19.8 per cent of deaths resulted in cremation. In 2020, this was 80 per cent.
People spend an average of £32,000 on weddings today. In the 1950s they spent £70.
The driving test cost 50p in 1952. Today, it is £62 for a practical test, plus £23 for a theory exam.