The UK’s metric conversion – a comedy of errors?

Ronnie Cohen looks at the story of the UK’s metric changeover during the half century following the establishment of the Metrication Board in the late 1960s. If any other country needs a lesson in how not to do the job, this is it.

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Decimal changeover lessons

Following on from last week’s informative article about the UK’s introduction of decimal currency, we look at some of the features contributing to that success and draw comparisons with the changeover to metric measures.

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Early parliamentary debates on metrication

Hansard provides many insights about the ideals of and the prevailing attitudes to metrication. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see where the actual course of events has fallen short of those ideals and the mistakes that got us into the current measurement muddle.

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Think metric – don’t convert

The editor remembers this slogan from his time in the UK construction industry in the early 1970’s. Almost half a century later, Ronnie Cohen gives real-world examples of metric quantities that may help those who are not as familiar with metric units as they might wish.

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