New online service – You can now open new savings accounts and view your branch account and mortgage via our online service.

Decimalisation Day and our first computer

Written by Ipswich Building Society

25 Jul 2018


Archive, Heritage, History, Ipswich

2 min read

From our inception in 1849 our records were written by hand in big leather-bound ledgers. Each year, our collected passbooks from our members for audit, keeping them for up to three months. This continued until 1936, when we introduced Burroughes accounting machines which used coloured ledger cards – yellow for mortgages, green for subscription shares and blue for paid-up shares.

In the sixties Burroughes ABC (Already Been Converted) machines were installed when decimalisation was in the offing. On Decimalisation Day – February 15th 1971 – all that was needed was a flick of a switch to convert £.s.d to decimal currency, although the balances were changed manually. On the day before decimalisation came into effect, staff went through all the accounts rounding up the odd halfpenny and throughout this period interest was calculated manually.

It was not until the early 1970’s that we purchased our first calculator, and our first computer arrived in 1974. This was also ledger card based -a double magnetic strip contained all the essential account information and enabled interest to be calculated automatically. This was kept until 1979 when a second computer, this one disk-based, was installed in our new administration building in Foundation Street, Ipswich.


An extract from "150 Years On: A Century an a Half of Ipswich Building Society" by Ivan Howlett, published 1999.


This article was published under our previous name of Ipswich Building Society. We changed our name in 2021 – find out more.

Found this useful? Why not share

Keep informed and get involved.

Keep Informed

Sign up to our newsletter.

Our blog contains the latest goings-on and updates across the Society and you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Exclusively for our members we offer a monthly email round-up of must have stories and latest news, so sign up today.


    Latest news and information

    Our blog contains the latest goings-on and updates across the Society and for members we offer a monthly roundup of must-have stories and latest news in our Freehold Post email newsletter.

    For announcements, alerts or tips follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram – we’re (almost) everywhere!

    Your browser is out-of-date.

    Welcome to our new website. This site is not fully supported in Internet Explorer.
    Please download one of the browsers below to continue using this website.

    • Google Chrome
    • Microsoft Edge