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Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966?

What did a cup of tea in a café cost 10 years ago? 20 years ago?

What was the rail fare from London to Manchester in 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996 and 2006?

Such questions prove to be very hard to research and find answers for on the Internet. I suspect that's partly because the Internet wasn't around in those days, partly because suppliers want their current prices to prevail so that customers aren't confused, and partly because suppliers want to have you forget as quickly as possible when they have put their prices up. It's called suppressing history!

I did manage to find that the rail fare from London to Manchester was 5 pounds in 1966 - I'm not sure if that was single or return. How does that compare value-wise to today's standard return fare of 262 pounds?

I HAVE managed to find an inflation file for - I'm guessing - retail prices, and I used the question I've asked above as an exercise on the Python course I started on Monday and Tuesday (and will conclude at the end of next week - delegates want time to try things out, and need time to do their other work!). The source code is [here] and the inflation rate file [here]

Let's see how that works for the train fare:

wizard:python graham$ python inflate
What does it cost now? 262.00
When do you want to go back to? 1966
In 2009 it would have cost 263.32
In 2008 it would have cost 253.19
In 2007 it would have cost 242.75
In 2006 it would have cost 235.22
In 2005 it would have cost 228.82
[snip]
In 2000 it would have cost 202.46
[snip]
In 1995 it would have cost 176.54
[snip]
In 1990 it would have cost 141.11
[snip]
In 1985 it would have cost 109.16
[snip]
In 1980 it would have cost 69.31
[snip]
In 1975 it would have cost 33.68
[snip]
In 1970 it would have cost 21.33
In 1969 it would have cost 20.24
In 1968 it would have cost 19.33
In 1967 it would have cost 18.86
In 1966 it would have cost 18.15
wizard:python graham$



So that means that today's 262 return would have been 18.15 return in 1966. Hmm - that makes the 5.00 look excellent value whether it's single or return. It's also a bit of a headscratcher ... with more efficient systems, higher passenger numbers giving the benefits of scale, why on earth has the cost risen so much in real terms?

I don't know the answer ...




Illustration - on the Python Course




Comment from Anon - 15th July

You may find the data on inflation and prices you were seeking at www.data.gov.uk or maybe at least a pointer of where it might be stored.

An inflation measure that I find interesting is that here in Wiltshire for every £100 of community charge, charged in 1993/4 by the then West Wiltshire District Council (at the time when the community Charge was first introduced) the charge made by Wiltshire Council in 2010/11 is £279.06 and that for every £100 paid in state pension in 1993/4 the payment is now £163.25. A difference of £115.81.

I know that it is argued that the pressures on local authority inflation and the numerous changes in government funding to local authorities accounts for a lot of the increases and is very different from the RPI or CPI that faces the individual. However, it is little wonder that some elderly people in some locations have felt strongly enough to object to the point of being sent to prison for non payment of their community charge. A local authority can set its community charge within certain central government guidelines and the local residents have little choice but to pay, unlike seeking a service from the private sector where there are usually opportunities to seek alternative suppliers offering competitive prices and providing the service the buyer really wants.

I think you were searching back as far as 1966 - I cannot go back that far but from 1984 the general rate charged by the then newly formed WWDC through to community charge and council tax now charged by Wiltshire Council has increased has been almost 758%.

Further comment from me

All this makes me realise just how complex inflation figures are - and how relative values change over the years. What I was really looking for was how many miles you can travel by train for the price of a cup of tea in at various key times.

Looking at the detail, I guess a lot of it comes down to how service based a product is, and how much methods and technologies have moved forward - the computer I'm typing at has come down in price ...





Update - see Historic Inflation Calculator at thismoney.co.uk
(written 2010-07-14, updated 2010-11-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)

Y110 - Python - File Handling
  [114] Relative or absolute milkman - (2004-11-10)
  [183] The elegance of Python - (2005-01-19)
  [1442] Reading a file multiple times - file pointers - (2007-11-23)
  [2011] Conversion of OSI grid references to Eastings and Northings - (2009-01-28)
  [2282] Checking robots.txt from Python - (2009-07-12)
  [3083] Python - fresh examples from recent courses - (2010-12-11)
  [3442] A demonstration of how many Python facilities work together - (2011-09-16)
  [3465] How can I do an FTP transfer in Python? - (2011-10-05)
  [3558] Python or Lua - which should I use / learn? - (2011-12-21)
  [3764] Shell, Awk, Perl of Python? - (2012-06-14)
  [4438] Loving programming in Python - and ready to teach YOU how - (2015-02-22)
  [4451] Running an operating system command from your Python program - the new way with the subprocess module - (2015-03-06)
  [4593] Command line parameter handling in Python via the argparse module - (2015-12-08)
  [4663] Easy data to object mapping (csv and Python) - (2016-03-24)
  [4708] Scons - a build system in Python - building hello world - (2016-10-29)
  [4717] with in Python - examples of use, and of defining your own context - (2016-11-02)


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Moving from Python 2.6 to Python 3
Some other Articles
Unpacking a Perl string into a list
Another toot of the trumpet
Moved - Melksham Lorry Park
Moving from Python 2.6 to Python 3
Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966?
Contact Information for Melksham Oak Community School
A move towards the family
Cycling in Melksham, and looking forward
Ruby - how does it compare and where is it the right language?
Relationships between Java classes - inheritance, packaging and others
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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