posthac tantum appellamus imperiales mensuras

It appears that Mr Rees Mogg’s letter to readers of the Sun, asking for ideas to ensure we get the best out of Brexit, has borne fruit.

The British government is to launch a study into the economic advantages of reintroducing imperial measurements.

Also on the cards is an Order in Council insisting that men be properly attired in morning suits at all times from 10 minutes after they rise…and women in long dresses that hide their ankles, whilst they go about their daily tasks of entertaining friends to coffee mornings and occasionally popping into the nursery to say goodnight to their children.

The most obvious economic advantage, to Munguin’s mind, is that teachers who trained in the 1940s and 50s should be able to take up employment again to teach the various combinations of measures and their interesting relationships to one another and about which no one else knows diddly squat. This will, of course, mean that they will not require to be paid their pensions and can invest such tasks for the children as : <If milk cost two pennies and three farthings a gill, how much would you get for 3 guineas, a florin and tuppence halfpenny?

Munguin suggests that other measures may include the general teaching of Latin and Ancient Greek. (Perhaps past prime ministers could try that kind of work instead of being a burden to society after they, umm, “retire” for whatever reason.)

Extra work too would be created in the design and manufacture of good old faithfuls such as farthings, halfpennies, threepenny and sixpenny pieces along with florins and half crowns.

And of course a 10/- note would have to be redesigned with some symbol to indicate that Britain was once again a Global nation of import second only to … well, no one. Maybe an idea to think about how Charlie’s ears would fit into the design in preparation for that dreaded day of which we may not speak…

No more of this 10, 100 and 1000 nonsense… Let’s get back to interesting numbers… like 12, 20, 21, 240, 480, 960, 3, 16, 14, 4, 8 and so on.

That’s much more British, indeed Great British. None of this namby pamby foreign softness of making things easy.

My only worry is, how will the average Sun reader cope?

PS: Munguin intends to increase subscriptions to the Republic, by a Groat.

117 thoughts on “posthac tantum appellamus imperiales mensuras”

    1. Absolutely. We had pint glasses for beer in Scotland when we were in the EU.

      And as it goes we could also have had that crown mark on the too if anyone thought it was that important.

      Seems some people can’t enjoy a beer without a reminder that we aren’t a proper democracy.

      Yes, he’s an idiot. Another rich boy playing at politics.


    2. I’ve seen stuff in Dutch markets priced by the “pond”, a half kilo.

      You’re not wrong about Rees-Mogg though. I started high school in 1975 and everything was already in SI units then. The only constituency this this will appeal to is old gammons and pearl-clutchers that haven’t adapted, despite having decades to get used to it.


      1. It’s a ridiculous notion… one which would take years upon confusing years to implement, would cost businesses a fortune, would be hard to find people who could teach it to the kids, never mind adults under 65 who will have learned the metric system at school, would take up vast amounts of time to teach, distance, money, capacity and weights in all their imperial glory…. and in the end what for?

        To say neh neh neh neh neh… we have a different system from the rest of the world. We’re Great British and unique and so clever we can learn all these weird things…

        Unfortunately, we AREN’T bright enough to manage much more that “No Speakie Froggie”, when it comes to languages!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Does anybody even remember what lsd stands for?

    By the way, the florin (two-bob bit) was introduced in the 1890s as a first step towards decimalization. Indeed, in the 1970s it was used alongside the new 10p piece (which was the same size, conveniently enough).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. librae, Latin meaning pounds: solidi, Roman coins worth 12 denarii

      I think the shilling passed as a 5p for a while and the sixpenny bit was allowed for a while as 2.5 p


        1. I never remember 2.5p ever being referred to as “tuppeny ha’penny”
          It was 2.5d that was “tuppeny ha’penny” ( the soloecal rendering with which I was familiar being “tuppence ha’penny”)
          2.5 p which had a value equivalent to 6p was either referred to as “two and a half pee” or by the nickname for the 6d which was a “tanner”.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Stratford’s pub in Gorgie dug an old sit down Galaxians machine out of the cellar in 2000 or 2001 (as I remember); we had to go raking about for shillings/old 5 pences to make it work. They took the front off the money box – because of the scarcity of the coins – so’s we could re-use them.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Burns: “We think na on the lang Scots miles, the mosses, waters, slaps and styles . . . ”

        Yes! Scots miles were longer than English ones.

        Bring back Scots miles, I say!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought it was 2240 lb, or 20 Imperial hundredweights (cwt) = long ton. 1 cwt being 8 stone. A stone being 14lbs, for the benefit of young ‘uns and transatlantic Munguinites. So 8x14x20 = 2240.

      2000 lb, or 20 American hundredweights (100lbs) = short ton.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh deary me…

        Shall I arrange for Jacob to come and explain it to everyone. He’s bound to know.

        Although, it seems from tat radio programme that he wouldn’t be able to do it in Latin … As he doesn’t speak or understand it.

        Makes you wonder why he has to hear mass in that language.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Old lady serving me and son in cafe in Nicosia, charging us 50p, then chuckling “tain boab to you” – enjoying her memories of serving British army personnel.

    Henry V, in a very early royal letter in English from Harfleur in, I think, 1415, requested from the civic authorities of London 25,000 “coppes” of ale and 25,000 of beer. I think scholars of the mediaeval period should be commissioned to ascertain the exact volume constituting a “coppe” as the first step towards adoption of true English measures.
    (PS Ale was the traditional drink, beer a relative newcomer containing hops.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL @tain boab.

      I couldn’t find anything on Google about coppes.

      But we need to know, if they are going to go back to using them, just how much it is. I’d hate to order one and find out I was still sober at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Just had a look; the Rheinheitsgebot, which is, incidentally, the world’s oldest food safety law, dates from 1516. It’s definitely a beer purity law, rather than ale.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If I was PM I would force everyone to use the Kelvin scale to measure temperature. It has the same increments as Celsius but 0 has more meaning. Using the freezing and boiling point of water at standard temperature and pressure is a bit too arbitrary for my tastes. “Brrr, it’s 275 Kelvin out there today so wrap up” and “Don’t forget your sun block cos its 303K out there today” make more sen. … hang on…. I see why we use Celsius now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes… 303 sounds quite frightening.

      I suspect it was these ghastly foreigner that made us use Celsius or Centigrade. What was wrong with Fahrenheit? That’s what I want to know.

      Let’s have some more Imperialism around here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah Tris. You see Daniel Gabriel Farhenheit was a Freemason and 33degrees was when you became free to pursue objectives without supervision. Hence H2O was frozen until 32degrees, thereafter it became free.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. LOL! I do remember first learning that the Kelvin scale is so named because of a river that flowed near William Thomson’s laboratory at the University of Glasgow. He needed a new name when he was ennobled and the rest is history. Cool!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Beautiful river!
          As a science student, I found it confusing at first that some great British scientists had two names….one they were born with, and then a noble name.
          Connecting up William Thomson and Lord Kelvin (1st Baron Kelvin) was confusing. Both names were used at different times in his career.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ahhh, bless them, the Brits are a weird lot.

            I suppose it’s a bit like kings, or monks and nuns, or actors… or criminals.

            They have a real name and the one they go under for “business”.

            After all, King Edward VIII was christened David… and Finger Malone, the safe breaker was christened Charles!

            Liked by 2 people

  4. Sorry Tris, but I had to do the maths…
    I make it 35.56 pints @2ΒΎd per gill, but maths never having been my strong point, I’m willing to be corrected…
    I’m sure Jacob will be gratified that someone is sharing his enthusiasm for the old ways.
    Seriously, I was raised in the old system of weights and measures and could live quite comfortably under it, but the first thing we must do when we become independent is to go completely metric – everything and as soon as possible.
    If it’s good enough for Ireland and Australia amongst others, it’s good enough for us…
    My children profess dumfoonerment that I can understand the arcana that is the Imperial system and I sympathise greatly.

    On the subject of gills, a hang-over often heard in drinking establishments even today is the expression “a wee half” for a small whisky.
    This was originally when spirits were sold in Β½gills (one eighth of a pint) and a wee half was ΒΌgill (One sixteenth of a pint).
    The stingy pubs sold fifths…

    (Metric) Tonne – 2204 pounds
    (Imperial) Long ton – 2240 pounds
    (American) Short ton – 2000 pounds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 11d a pint? = 12/6 I think!!! 62.5p Not bad!


      One of Thatcher’s lieutenants (Geoffrey Howe) was supposed to be in charge of metrication, and he kinda half did it, but apparently afterwards regretted that he hadn’t done it properly. I imagine that in Jacob’s books, that makes him some sort of traitor to GREAT Britbin.

      But in fact the moves had started to be made in the 1960s before the UK was in the Common Market, so any notion that they were forced into it by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels is just nonsense.

      Side note: it always amused me that one of the things the Tories and some Labour complained about in the EU was unelected bureaucrats.

      No mention was ever made of unelected royals, unelected lords and unelected privy councillors.

      The biggest joke of all was the unelected bureaucrat, the Noble Baron Frost, who had to negotiate the EU withdrawal, because Johnson was too…something… and who made a mess of it.

      What measures of spirits are sold in pubs these days? I seem to remember they were different in Scotland from those in England.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pubs sell spirits in 25ml and 35 ml measures, roughly equivalent to a sixth and a quarter of a gill respectively.
        English pubs generally sold sixths of a gill, just enough to wet the bottom of the glass.
        The smaller measure in Scots pubs was the fifth, but I remember the ones which sold quarters being better patronised.
        Can’t think why…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting discussion about metric verses “English” units.

    I hate to brag, but Thomas Jefferson got the USA monetary system decimally squared away at the very beginning of the US federal republic.
    Wiki: The “Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States” was a report submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13, 1790, by George Washington’s Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.”

    It took the English until 1971 to arrive at decimalization. πŸ™‚ However, although Tom got the money right, weights and measures were another matter.

    I was surprised a while back in a grocery store aisle to notice that metrication (a sort of “stealth” metrication that’s going on in American grocery stores) had struck the booze market. What I had assumed were the old familiar “fifth” (1/5 of a gallon) and “quart” sized bottles of whiskey for example, are in fact now 750 ml and 1 liter bottles. I found this article which explains how and why booze came to be marketed in fifths and quarts in the first place, and how this all changed to metric in the USA on January 1, 1980.

    About 50 years ago, advanced thinkers during the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations, were SURE that very SOON the USA would adopt metric weights and measures. It mostly just happened in booze bottles it seems.

    Years ago, I did see a speed limit sign on a highway in Oregon in units of “kilometers/hour.” Oregonians it seems are as self consciously progressive and forward looking as their neighbors to the south……the Californians. I wonder if the sign is still there…….good for a nostalgic laugh! There must be a few such signs in California.

    Any discussion about a liquid gallon, brings up the issue of the “Imperial gallon” verses the smaller “US gallon.” Turns out the British Imperial system merged the “Winchester” (or Corn Gallon) of 1697, the”Old English (Elizabethan) Ale Gallon” of 1701 , and the “Old English (Queen Anne) Wine gallon” of 1706, into the British Imperial Gallon of 1824. By that time, the American revolution had occurred, and the Americans continued to use the colonial “Queen Anne Gallon” as the US Gallon, in the US Customary system of today.

    The point being that the UK and the USA not only won’t use metric weights and measures, they can’t even agree on what an “English” system should be. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL… Utter confusion… and why not?

      Petrol (gas) is sold here in litres, but when you are buying a car, no one ever talks about how many miles it gets to the litre, it is always miles to the gallon.

      It occurs to me that rooms in older houses would have been constructed using yards, feet and inches… but now floor coverings are always sold in metres.

      Invariably, I imagine, this means more cost to the consumer and more profit to the manufacturer/seller, because you have to overbuy. (The alternative being a bit of bare floorboard.)

      I wonder sometimes it the whole of the West Coast of the USA doesn’t want to join the EU!!!!


      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL…….Yes, I think the west coat states……California, Oregon. and Washington State……..would fit in the EU quite nicely. πŸ™‚

        BTW, the 2021 numbers are in now, and California has retained its rank as the fifth largest “country” (by GDP) in the world. It’s pulled ahead of all the others except the USA itself (even without California,) then China, Japan, and Germany. So California could probably sponsor Oregon and Washington for EU admission if necessary. πŸ˜‰

        Interesting about petrol being sold by litres almost everywhere in the world (except the USA and a few places in central and South America,) but fuel efficiency being specified in miles per gallon.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s getting close to Germany actually. Germany’s GDP in 2021 was $3.85 Trillion and California was $3.35 Trillion……just $500 Billion behind! πŸ˜‰

            Russia is the largest country by land area in the world, but even with all its natural resources, its economy is about one-half that of California.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. He already has. Apparently he’s got a $600bn “warchest” to buffer sanctions.

                As an aside, looks to me like Putin wants everything to the east of the Dnieper river now.

                Maybe the Ukrainians who blocked the water canal to Crimea wish they hadn’t. I would have done the same but that was a major factor. It’s like Thatcher explaining to back benchers that yes we could defend Hong Kong, but all the Chinese needed to do was turn off the water supply.

                Not trivialising at all but this gets Bojo off the hook nicely and allows lots more of his hideous Churchillian posturing 😦

                Liked by 3 people

                1. Certainly got some people’s minds off how many parties he attended or allowed when the rest of us were home alone.

                  Unfortunately, rather like the Covid crisis, he and his cabinet are the least ideal people possible to handle such a situation… and yet they continue to insist that Britbin will play a large part in what will happen.

                  Now might be the time that Xi choses to make his move on Taiwan.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I considered that but there seems to be significant anger on Chinese social media about Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

                    Better for him to wait – the USA and Russia are declining powers from his perspective.

                    Taiwan isn’t going anywhere so why provoke a possible (tactical) nuclear exchange at this point? Just after the Ukrainian situation “settles down” in the minds of Joe Public in the USA sounds like a better time to me.

                    Liked by 2 people

    2. The term generally used is “Imperial”, rather than “English” Danny.

      The system for weights even has its own term, “avoirdupois”; which looks suspiciously and unpatriotically French.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I certainly sounds French…. tut tut.

        In one word I have no idea what it actually means… but broken into bits… ‘avoir du pois’, it means ‘to have some peas’.


        Imp[erial, I suppose makes it sound like they have an empire, which I suppose they do in a way… There’s Jersey, Isle of Man, Sark, Guernsey, the Falklands…


      2. Drew…….My mistake! In the States, (at least where I am,) the term applied to weights and measures is often casually (and incorrectly) referred to as “English.” I did learn a while back that the Imperial gallon is larger than the US gallon, but I’m not sure how many Americans actually know that. πŸ™‚

        I see there is a different “gallon” for measuring grain and such things, and the percentage difference between the wet gallon and the dry gallon is not the same in the Imperial system and the US Customary system.

        Wiki says: “The US fluid gallon is about 14.1% smaller than the dry gallon, while the Imperial fluid gallon is about 3.2% larger.”
        “The dry gallon, also known as the corn gallon or grain gallon, is a historic British dry measure of volume that was used to measure grain and other dry commodities and whose earliest recorded official definition, in 1303, was the volume of 8 pounds (3.6 kg) of wheat. It is not used in the US customary system – though it implicitly exists since the US dry measures of bushel, peck, quart, and pint are still used – and is not included in the National Institute of Standards and Technology handbook that many US states recognize as the authority on measurement law.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Drew….Tris……About “avoirdupois”…..

        Wiki: The avoirdupois weight system’s general attributes were originally developed for the international wool trade in the Late Middle Ages…….
        In England, Henry VII authorized its use as a standard, and Queen Elizabeth I acted three times to enforce a common standard……

        Getting everyone to agree on avoirdupois/metric equivalents was problematic. “The result of this was, after these standardizations, that measurements of the same name often had marginally different recognized values in different regions [of the world] (although the pound generally remained very similar). In the modern day, this is evident in the small difference between United States customary and British Imperial pounds.”

        “The word avoirdupois is from Anglo-Norman French aveir de peis (later avoir du pois), literally “goods of weight” (Old French aveir, as verb meaning “to have” and as noun meaning “property, goods”, comes from the Latin habere, “to have, to hold, to possess something”; de = “from”/”of”, cf. Latin; peis = “weight”, from Latin pensum). This term originally referred to a class of merchandise: aveir de peis, “goods of weight”, things that were sold in bulk and were weighed on large steelyards or balances.”

        Thomas Jefferson, as Secretary of State during George Washington’s administration, made recommendations to the new federal Congress. Although he had been Minister to France and had a high regard for things French (as much as he detested the English,) he had reservations about the French metric system. “His beef was that the meter was conceived as a portion of a survey of France, which could only be measured in French territory.” On the other hand, he recognized the manifest advantages of decimal currency and coinage.

        While the advantage of a decimal (factor of ten) system for currency and coinage are obvious, the advantage of a weights and measures system based on factors of ten is not so much. In cooking recipes for example, it’s probably actually more useful to be able to estimate factors of two or four “by eye.” And then there are cultural considerations. From the TIME website: (Can be opened incognito to avoid the paywall.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Danny.

          I suspected there might be something in old French or indeed Latin, from whence it originated, that wasn’t about having a few peas! πŸ™‚ Seriously, in modern French that is what it says!

          At one point Napoleon also introduced decimal time:

          Les français sont bizarres!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……I wondered about avoirdupois myself, but had never looked it up. “Having peas” did seem weird, but I just blamed my high school French. πŸ˜‰

            I knew that the French had revised the calendar, but I didn’t know about decimal time. Poor Napoleon! He probably ended up ditching it because he was getting the date and time of his battles screwed up. Military units showing up on the wrong day, and arriving on the field about Midnight. Things like that!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Recall also a lady at a market stall in a market stall in Paris selling me ” un livre”, a pound of bananas and a barman in Montmartre finally working out what I wanted (50 cl) of beer rather that the usual 25cl, – “un pinte”. Which also taught me the meaning of “un demi”, which had always puzzled me since I couldn’t work out what 25cl was half of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, to this day, some stuff in French markets is sold in “livres”. I recall tomatoes as being one. It’s “une” for a pound. Un livre is a book. πŸ™‚

      Still a book of tomatoes or bananas sounds interesting…

      Don’t tell Jacob though (he’s probably never been abroad in his life). If he knows foreigners sometimes use pounds he’ll want them banned and weights like drams and bushels reintroduced, like in the good old days of the Magna Carta.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Don’t worry about it, Danny. People usually understand even if you get it wrong. And some French people do sometimes get them wrong.

              The irritating thing, of course, is that it doesn’t end there, but as you may remember from school, in the sentence adjectives and definite, indefinite and partitive articles have to agree in gender and also in number, with the noun.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Tris…..OH YES! It’s all those little words that I know I could never get right. I could maybe avoid la and le by using l’ or les where appropriate. But there are lots of others……un, une, de, du, des, a, au, aux……etc, etc. If au is a contraction of a le, then what’s the contraction of a la? Apparently there isn’t one. So if you wanted ice cream on your pie and tried to order pie au mode, then you’re out of luck. πŸ˜‰

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Dim? Rubbish! You not only know all those little words, you know all those little squiggles the French put on or around the letters. That requires real smarts! πŸ™‚

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. LOL, or as they say in France MDR (die laughing). πŸ™‚

                      Given that David Cameron thought LOL meant Lots of Love, I wonder what he’d make of MDR

                      Suggestions welcome!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. MDR was new to me too. We didn’t cover that in French class. πŸ™‚

                      Sounds like Cameron is not up on internet abbreviations. I wonder if he still has the shed out back where he does his writing.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Ah, well, I think it’s a pretty new thing, to go with texting.

                      I think the shed does exist. I think he gets dressed in it and that it doesn’t have any mirrors.

                      Liked by 1 person

  7. Then there is Time. Just when did we humans start to measure time?
    Let me do some more maths, although I think I’ve done this before on this forum.

    Number of seconds in a day 24 x 60 x 60 = 86,400 (Now keep your eye on the numbers)
    Diameter of the Sun. 864,000 miles
    The Great Year 25,920 years (Google has the wrong answer πŸ₯΄)
    Number of Zodiacs 12
    An Age = 25,920 Γ· 12 = 2,160
    Diameter of Moon 2,160 miles
    And 216 x 4 = 864.

    Deeper and even more interesting.

    0.864 x 1hour = 51 mins 50.4 s
    Phi/Pi = 0.51504
    Slope of the Great Pyramid 51.504 degrees

    These Neanderthals were really clever!

    Half of 864 is 432. One Adolf Hitler changed music tuning from 432 to 440Hz during his rise to power and this was then adopted in the 1950s as the standard for tuning. This was deliberate as 440Hz creates an irritable population easily destabilised. 432Hz is the correct frequency for life to be happy.

    This is why plants die with modern music but thrive with the classics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 440Hz was the informal standard in the USA by 1926, formally adopted in 1934.

      It’s called the “Stuttgart pitch” and was first proposed in the mid 19th century.

      Hitler’s influence was nonexistent, except in your fevered imaginings.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. According to the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (still a federal law in America,) the metric system is “the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce.”
    However, the Act permitted the [continued] use of United States customary units in all activities.
    Wiki: “As President Gerald Ford’s statement on the signing of the act emphasizes, all conversion was to be “completely voluntary”. The Act also established the United States Metric Board with representatives from scientific, technical, and educational institutions, as well as state and local governments to plan, coordinate, and educate the U.S. people for the Metrication of the United States.”

    So metrification in the USA was purely voluntary, and “the Metric Board was abolished in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan.” So while the metric system is “preferred” by law, nobody wanted to bother with it, and everyone just lost interest.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Terry……Good point! πŸ˜‰
        While the early months of our calendar are named after Roman Gods, it was a great revelation when I first learned that SEPTember, OCTober, NOVember, and DECember are named after months 7 through 10 of the old Roman calendar…..AFTER they were displaced by two months for the addition of July and August for the two Caesars. Something that was in plain sight, but I had never seen it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Dunglishman

The bilingual blog about all things British


Love, theatre and ideas

British Wildlife & Photography


Why Scotland should be an independent country


Thoughts about Scotland & the world, from a new Scot

Divided We Fall

Bipartisan dialogue for the politically engaged

Insightful Geopolitics

Impartial Informative Always

Black Isle Media

We Provide The Facts, You Make The Decisions

The Broad Spectrum Life

Exploring Rhymes, Reasons, and Nuances of Our World

Musical Matters...

Mark Doran's Music Blog


Songwriter / Guitarist

Best in Australia

This site supports Scottish Independence


A comic about history and stuff by FT

My Life as Graham

The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories

Mark Explores

Nature + Health

Chris Hallam's World View

Movies, politics, comedy and more...

%d bloggers like this: