The 1972 White Paper on Metrication – 50 years on

2022 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1972 White Paper on Metrication – a policy document that set out the Government’s plans for the nation’s metrication programme in the 1970s.

The publication of the White Paper was approved at a Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday 11 January 1972.

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Does the UK’s mixed use of metric and imperial give us a unique ‘superpower’?

When arguing against the completion of metrication, opponents sometimes claim that the UK’s current muddled use of metric units for some things, and imperial for others, gives us an advantage that should be envied when it comes to measurement, in that it somehow makes us ‘bilingual’ in both systems.

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Found in a loft

A recent visitor to UKMA’s web site has made contact with us explaining that, when clearing out a loft, she had discovered what appeared to be proposals for a “Think metric” campaign aimed at the general public. She says, “It would be interesting to know if they were used or not and where”.

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Mutual incomprehension in diet conversation

It appears that the UK measurement muddle lingers on in the field of nutrition and diet. Ronnie Cohen reports a recent incident, and draws conclusions. And what about stones – surely they belong on the beach and not on our weighing scales?

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Decolonising science

Martin Vlietstra, an occasional contributor to Metric Views, considers Britain’s policy of retaining, for as long as it could, the use of imperial measurements in its Empire. He notes that the consequences continue to this day.

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How metric units fit together

After celebrating the arrival of decimal currency in the UK 50 years ago, Metric Views now goes back to basics on decimal measurement. No, we shall not be looking at nautical distances or Gunter’s chain! Continue reading “How metric units fit together”

Official BBC Measurement Policy

As we become used to metric measures for social distancing, Ronnie Cohen, one our frequent contributors, looks at the measurement policy of our national broadcaster. Apparently, it is the over 50’s who are responsible for the muddle.

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Watch “Decimalisation (1970)” on YouTube

Our last article, on the subject of the decimal currency changeover in 1971, attracted several comments from our readers, one of which drew to attention to a film relating to the event. For technical reasons, it is not possible to post this after the original article, and so the Editor has decided to feature it in a new post.

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