Film: 9836

History | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Comprehensive narrative telling in detail the story of the development of money. Of particular note are the incidental scenes towards the end of the film, in the bank and in the pub.
Opening Intertitle:Throughout the centuries, traditional methods of handling business transactions have undergone changes, altering them almost beyond recognition,... which we now take for granted. In the case of money and banking, however, we still have some of the old firms and banking houses, whose roots go back to the time when many aspects of our system first began to make their appearance and whose carefully preserved records throw light on what was happening centuries ago. From these old business firms and from the coin and print collections of the British Museum and the collection of old banknotes and cheques of the Institute of Bankers, and their reference library, we have been able to draw much illustrative material. Through the courtesy and assistance of the Directors and officials of these organisations and with the help and advice of numerous others, to all of whom we acknowledge our indebtedness, it has been possible to constuct this picture illustrating THE STORY OF MONEY.
A table is covered in coins. On it is a small weighing machine. A woman collects coins and deposits them in a bag on the weighing machine. Hands flick through a bundle of (old) one pound notes. Short montage of till drawers with coins in them. A man counts out a number of £1 notes while in the background a motor car sits in the shadows, A coin is placed against a large tin pail. African tribesmen take their cattle over large tracts of land. They plough the land. Women sort out a soil crop, They wear traditional dress. Two early "primitive" men exchange arrow heads for animal skins. Barter developed as communications between disparate communities developed. Arab men on camels ride across the desert. Ornaments used as a permanent symbol of exchange of goods, replacing barter and becoming an early form of currency. Metals such as silver (shown in rock form) began to take the form of an acceptable bartering material as a replacement for ornaments. Gold, silver, copper and iron. Gold was the most valuable because it is the purest metal when mined and because it is rarer and concentrated and of greater value in small bulk. In countries such as Britain where gold is very rare, bars of iron were the chief means of exchange. Close up of bars of iron. Good shot of small metal discs becoming the symbol of money. Close ups of various silver coins. this money was usually issued by the head of the community, sometimes stamped with a picture of his head and other symbols. These could be oxen, grain, goats (shown). This type of system served as a convenient and general acceptable commodity in exchange for other staple commodities. This money system persisted from early times and covered a considerable period of English history. These discs were only worth the weight of precious metal they contained. A drawer containing examples of Elizabethan coins is shown. If you had two shillings in Queen Elizabeth's time one being lighter than the other, the value of the lighter one was less despite the fact that both the coins were called shillings. Two coins are placed on a set of delicate scales to show the comparison. In important transactions, coins were weighed and portable weighing machines were often carried. At this period, the only investment was in goods, lands and valuables. During times of difficulty, money was not invested in this way and money was taken to the goldsmiths shop. Lombard Street sign. Seven symbols of noted goldsmiths. Goldsmiths offered security in their strong rooms. Large strong boxes being opened with a large old-fashioned key. As more and more people began to leave their money with goldsmiths, it became common for people to accept coinage other than they had deposited, but of the same value, when they withdrew money. Confidence grew in the safety of goldsmiths. A strong box is opened and inside we can see pewter pots, keys, books and other documents. Ledger book dated March 1659. An understanding was reached that some of this money could be lent to business but when required it would be paid in full to the lender. In this way a primitive form of banking was started. A man writes on a receipt with a quill pen. When money was deposited at the goldsmith's shop it was the custom he would be given a receipt. It was soon realised that the man who left the deposit, that is the depositor, who might live many days jurney from the goldsmith, could settle a private debt by passing on this receipt. In this way the person who had sold goods to the depositor became entitled to claim payment from the goldsmith. Various shots of goods being exchanged. As the practice became general, the goldsmith or banker (as he was starting to be called) began issuing receipt notes of different values to people who had deposited money with him. Early bank notes are placed on a table. These notes were in effect promises to pay. For convenience, notes were used but if coins were needed it could be demanded from the banker. As time went on, these notes were used to purchase goods from shops. Over a montage of signs including a large boot, an old-fashioned knife and fork and a sheep, the voice-over tells us that while paper itself remained valueless, the banknote became prominent as a new form of money. Instead of always giving their customers notes, bankers in time began to give them printed forms. A deposit of money is exchanged for bank notes. These forms were not unllike the notes they replaced but they had blank spaces where the customer could write the exact amount to pay for a purchase (shown). It is in this way that the cheque system developed. The Barclays bank eagle symbol is projected onto a flat surface while banknotes are strewn across it. As cheques became more widespread, the banks in London would often receive from their customers cheques drawn on other banks, with a request to collect the money and place it to the customer's account. In early days the bank clerk would walk round the city collecting the cheques drawn on other banks. Eventually these clerks began meeting regularly in a room at the Five Bells of Lombard Street where the clearing system was established. In 1844, the control of banknotes issued in England was taken in hand by the government through the agency of the Bank of England to ensure central supervision. This part of the voiceover uses stills of Lombard steet juxtaposed with a panning shot of the Bank of England. A coin making machine. Houses of Parliament. Treasury briefcase, with the official government seal and 'treasury' written on it. Large modern (c.1950's) safe is opened. Interior of safe. Two men remove large bags of money on a trolley. Name on bag suggests it is Barclays bank. Tellers issue money from behind old-fashioned grilled counters. Bags of money are loaded onto a truck and are removed and taken into a bank. Quick montage of cheques issued by banks including the National Provincial Bank Ltd, Barclays Bank Limited, Lloyds Bank Limited. Exterior dusk shot of train. Cheques are accepted into banks. Excellent footage of central clearing house where all cheques are sorted. Women rapidly sort the cheques on large table. Representatives of the various banks sort the cheques out and exchange them. The central clearing house sends back cheques to the branch of the bank which issued them. A very formal looking man opens letters and scrutinizes the content. Old style pound notes are counted out onto a table. A large machine produces coins. Smelting plant, part of a steel works. Montage of sequence at the steel plant circa 1940's. A man hands over some coins in exchange for a newspaper. A publican serves a customer over the bar on which old fashioned hand pumps are evident. A man buys cigarettes from a tobacconist. A bus conductor empties his pouch of fare money. On his belt we see his ticket machine. Exterior of bank facades. In one shot a soldier in uniform can be seen. Coins on a conveyor belt are hand sorted ending up in a tray where they are collected.


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