Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

12 Mar 2009

The Southampton Pound… to feature Benny Hill, Matt le Tissier and Craig David

Here is a fantastic story from Transition Southampton.  How about a city-wide local currency, with each note adorned by well-known local-people-made-good?  The proposed Southampton Pound would feature Benny Hill, Matt le Tissier and Craig David.  Sounds like a great idea to me… we were musing here today about towns and cities running some kind of a process (a bit like Walkers Crisps daft one at the moment about which ridiculous new flavour people prefer) to get people to choose who they want on their notes.  Personally I am waiting for the Manchester Pound, George Best on the £5 note, Joy Division on the £10, Bernard Cribbins on the £20 and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the £50… Anyway, here is the full newspiece on the story…

Southampton could have its own currency to help boost local retailers (from the Southern Daily Echo)

SOUTHAMPTON could soon have its own currency under a radical plan to help boost local traders. It could mean the city’s most famous celebrities such as legendary striker Matt Le Tissier, pop star Craig David or comic genius Benny Hill could have their faces on the notes. Organisers say the scheme would encourage shoppers to support the local economy, instil civic pride and even help cut carbon emissions.

The “Southampton pound” would be a compliment to the British pound, but could only be used at participating shops, cafes and pubs in the city. It comes just weeks after plans to launch a bank for the people of Hampshire – dubbed HantsFund – were revealed by the Daily Echo.

Business leaders yesterday said the Southampton pound was another example of an innovative local solution to the global economic meltdown. Last September, the East Sussex town of Lewes shot to national attention when they launched their own currency. The Lewes one pound note is made from 75 per cent recycled materials and decorated with the 18th century radical thinker Thomas Paine on one side and Lewes Castle on the other.

Shoppers there can now exchange their sterling for the special currency to spend at more than 130 shops and pubs in the town. The idea was this week floated by a newly formed environmental group called Transition Southampton. The group, which launched in November, is a local branch of the global Transition Towns network that aims to build community resilience to the challenges of rising oil and energy prices and climate change.

Transition Southampton founding member Ziggy Woodward said: “It might work better as say Bitterne pounds or Swaythling pounds, but it is an idea to be looked at certainly and something that would get people excited. “It would keep money circulating in the local community, instead of being taken out of the city by big multinational companies.

“People would be encouraged to only use local services in Southampton, or parts of Southampton, so they won’t have to jump into their cars and travel out of the city.” The Lewes scheme hit problems it its first few days when thousands of the single pound notes ran-out, with only a few of them making their way into the local economy. Many residents bought them as souvenirs, while some fell into the hands of collectors or were sold on eBay for up to £30 a piece.

A second print run was ordered and there are now 25,000 notes in circulation. It is scheduled to circulate until August 30, when a review will be carried out into the success of the scheme. Business Southampton spokesman Grant Woodall said: “Businesses and organisations are looking at new and more innovative ways that they can get money back into the regional economy.

“Historically, these ideas would have been unheard off, but this is another example of people in the city realising that even with Government intervention, finances are not flowing in the city as they should be.” In Totnes, Devon, a local currency is now into its second year, while in the US town of Berkshire, Massachusetts, more than one million “Berkshares” have gone into circulation since it started a couple of years ago.

Ms Woodward added: “You just have to look at what has been achieved in Lewes and we can take it as an example and build on it.”

Categories: Economics

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[…] from 01 April to 30 April 09 Package Excluding: Entry Visa (USD 25) per pax. Return Economy Class The Southampton Pound… to feature Benny Hill, Matt le Tissier and Craig David – 03/12/2009 Here is a fantastic story from Transition Southampton … […]

12 Mar 1:56pm

I think I’d prefer R.J. Mitchell (the Spitfire) and TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).

The beginnings of Transition Southampton’s web site are at

Roger Phillips
12 Mar 2:00pm

Southampton pound what nonsense!
The Lewes pound only did the town any good by the publicity it created. It is hardly used in the town at all and is considered a nuisance by most traders who have to take them back to the town hall to get real money. At a cost of 35p for each one printed it was never going to anything but a play thing for a few rich ‘Hippies’ that set it up.
The only local currency that seems popular is the Liverpool Giro………..

12 Mar 3:19pm

Benny Hill!!??? On the currency??!! You guys are having too much fun. 🙂 I’m insanely envious.

We have plenty of humor over on our side of the pond, too, but it’s mostly the other kind. Though I’ve started thinking it’s time to paint my gallows in polka-dots.

Marcus Perrin
12 Mar 6:16pm

Surley Matt is £50 note material?

As per ….

(apologies for the video quality)

risa b
12 Mar 9:25pm

I think it’s rather sweet. I myself would love to have such a note for my dad, now 91, who has always loved Benny … but then, that ‘ud be takin’ it out o’ circulation naow, would ‘unt it?

[…] housing association in south London > Becoming a zero-carbon household, and > the Southampton Pound (and possible Bank of […]

13 Mar 2:54pm

When I mentioned all this over on my blog, one of my commenters brought this to my attention:

Ithaca NY is home to Cornell University- and to my astonishment, has been working on its own local currency since 1991.

Amazing. They’re still going- over $100,000 worth circulating now.

Duncan Law
14 Mar 9:33pm

And Brixton plans to launch the Brixton Pound in September. It will get people thinking and talking about where their money goes and enable them to vote with their wallets by dedicating a proportion of their local spend to local businesses in a form that can only go round locally. We hope local businesses will then look for ways they can spend the B£s they get on local sourcing, or wages. Keeping money local means it does much more local good than money that escapes down chain-store supply-lines and into shareholders pockets.

If the government continues printing money how long before hyper-inflation sets in? Then a local ‘holder of value’ that can be decoupled from the pound will be very useful. In Argentina 5000 currencies sprang up during their crisis. Let’s get ahead of all the curves. That way we can maintain stability and build resilience.

And its fun and fascinating and you meet loads of great people. There’s transition for you.

Graham Burnett
15 Mar 1:14am

Will you be putting John Major on the Brixton pounds then Duncan?? 🙂

Graham Burnett
15 Mar 1:18am

Or maybe Freddy ‘Parrot Face’ Davies???