Often when I watch British programs, particularly older ones, I notice that when characters take bills or bank notes out of their purses or wallets, those bills are enormous. (This happened most recently when I was watching Midsomer Murders, and DCI Barnaby took some bills out of his wallet to buy his wife a present.) Because I was in Great Britain in 2002 and again in 2009 and didn’t notice then that their money was appreciably bigger, I thought I’d ask Jackie, our British Secret Weapon, about this. Here’s what she had to say:
Jackie: In the UK we call them notes, not bills, and they are bigger than US ones. We have changed our notes a few times since the 90s and they have got smaller each time. We converted to plastic notes recently – getting a £5 in 2016 and a new £10 last year. This means they can go in the wash without being damaged! The size of the note depends on its value, so you might have seen old £50 notes. These were quite big, but rarely used. The £20s were probably about 3 times bigger than your dollar bills, but I assume they’ll be shrinking again when they are released in plastic form.