Jug Ruler Scales

Imperial Weights and Measures

Scales Ruler Jug

This website is dedicated to the memory of the British Imperial Weights and Measures. I had to learn these at school, as part of my "tables". They were printed on the back of our exercise books (with blank pages, where we did our written work). Click here for a modern replica. While metric measures are simpler, these old measures are still part of our language, and will always be part of our literature. Anyway, it will be hard for my generation to think naturally in anything else! I am happy to use metric units, yet it would be sad if these old units were forgotten. The U.S. Customary systems are similar to the British Imperial System, but I mention where they differ.

Please email me (Jo Edkins) with any comments or any errors that you spot. I would like to acknowledge the previous corrections, additions and improvements emailed to me by many people, who are helping to make this website what it is.

Length and area - inches & feet, acres

Weight - ounces & pounds

Volume - pints & gallons

Money - shillings & pence
Printing - paper, font size
Weather, etc. - temperature, wind, earthquakes
Nautical - fathoms, knots - plus angles
Measures used in different trades
Others: shoe sizes, clothes, numbers
Historic documents about units of measure

Metric System

Generate your own Conversion Table

Some people may be interested to know whether Britain uses metric or Imperial units. This is not easy to answer! Legally, at the moment (2005), Britain is mostly a metric country. The Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 1804 says so. But it also specifies exceptions, such as
  • the use of the mile, yard, foot or inch for road traffic signs, distance and speed measurement
  • the use of the pint for dispensing draught beer and cider
  • the use of the pint for milk in returnable containers
  • the use of the acre for land registration
  • the use of the troy ounce for transactions in precious metals
However, many, if not most, British people continue to use Imperial units informally.

Web links

My other websites

Other weights and measures websites

Roman weights and measures and other data
Glossary of Ancient Weights and Measures from Hemyock Castle
A Dictionary of Units of Measurement from University of North Carolina
Decimal Coins of the UK by Tony Clayton
Specific gravity of materials to covert between weight and volume
General Tables of Units of Measurement from NIST Handbook 44


International Unit Conversion Calculator
Google's calculator - including unit of measure convertor
Conversion & Calculation Center

This website was created in February 2001