December 21st, 2010

(vogue) cards

Money in Great Britain and Ireland during the mid-1920s

Setting: Great Britain and Ireland, 1924-1927
Searches and sources: Combinations of history of money in Great Britain, currency in Great Britain 1920s, history of currency, currency use 1920s Britain, Current Value of Old Money, Measuring Worth, the wiki page on coins of pound sterling, as well as numerous books set in Great Britain, both fiction and non-fiction, where all I really get are names of the currency and not deeper detail.

I get a lot of websites like this but I tend not to know what is most accurate or most likely. Sure a word existed, but how many people were using it? That sort of worry. There are some things that, no matter how many books I read or websites I find, won't sink in unless someone breaks everything down.

My story takes place in Great Britain between the years 1924 (autumn of 1924) and spring of 1927 (around April). Though the story is primarily situated in England, the characters will probably find themselves in every country, as well as in Ireland, for days or weeks at a time. It's a large tenting circus of American origin, but it's not the circus aspect I'm concerned about.

What I need is an explanation of currency during the period. I'm American and I have an understanding of what money is like in the world today, but I get a bit tangled up when I try to sort out money earlier in the century.

What I'd basically like is a breakdown of the currency system in Great Britain and Ireland during the 1920s. The state of things. Terms and slang people would use (outside the circus). What's worth what. The hierarchy of the currency from smallest amount to largest. A comparison to today's money and usage so I have something to ground this knowledge in. I have characters from many different walks of life (millionaire Americans, lots and lots of working class Brits, aristocracy (real actual blue blood), lots of people from the Continent and beyond), so they'd all handle money a bit differently I presume.

Basically, a walk-through would suffice. I can probably investigate a little more for myself once I get a foothold. I've seen the money in action in period-appropriate stories, but I lack a full understanding of the context. As I need to discuss money and payrolls and the like, I want to make sure I know what I'm talking about.

And if anyone has any resources for the cost of everyday items during the time (food, machinery, fabric/clothing, toys), I would be grateful. I have tons and tons of ads from the same period in the US but fewer for Great Britain. I also know that what we spend our money on has changed. Today we fork out a lot more for groceries, for example.

Any useful books on the subject would certainly not go amiss, either!

12th century murder case

We'd probably say manslaughter today, as the culprits had actually beat up someone who died afterwards.

Anyway, this is for a Cadfael fic, and while I do that in the 12th century they usually summarily hanged people for murder, I'm looking for a way to avoid exactly that. Any ideas what other punishment/reparation to the victims family, etc. could be used?

Sources I already checked:
- "Life in a Medieval City" by Joseph and Frances Gies
- Regia Anglorum website
- Stefan's Florilegium Archive
- the Cunnan website

I also Googled "Justice in 12th Century England" and "murder and punishment in 12th century England", but all I got were general descriptions. The Gies book tells me that provosts could be bribed, and a rich person had a better chance to escape the gallows, but that wasn't really new or informative, either.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Edit: Many heartfelt thanks for the excellent info, suggestion and links. In case you're interested in the outcome, I've chosen to allow Cadfael suggesting that they would use the Welsh practice of the blood-price: the culprit will pay a certain sum for the victim's widow on a weekly basis, until her son reaches the age of 14 and will be able to take care of his mother (unless she remarries before that). I hope I won't get lynched for it by historically savvy people. :)