Author explains fascinating history of metric system amid imperial measurements row

30 May 2022, 12:11

By James Bickerton

Britain has been using the metric system for "more than a century" - according to author James Vincent, amid a row over imperial measurements.

The Government is reportedly planning to change the law so all produce can be sold exclusively in imperial, in a post-Brexit break from EU rules.

Appearing on James O'Brien's LBC show Mr Vincent went over the history of imperial vs metric competition.

He commented: "Standardising units of measurement is something that's been absolutely essential to the functioning of states for as long as we have recorded history.

"The success of the metric system means most nations have something they can agree on, it's a fantastic system.

"The metric system was invented during the French revolution and was directly tied to the political aims of the French revolutionaries.

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"It really did spread with Napoleonic conquests; it was something that was imposed at the end of a bayonet.

"The US and UK, for all this palaver we're talking about now, they've actually been metric for more than a century."

Mr Vincent's book, 'Beyond Measure', will be published on June 2.

As part of his research the author spent time with militant anti-metric activists.

He explained: 'I hung around with a group called Active Resistance to Metrification, they are fanatics with clipboards.

"They like going round the country taking down metric signposts. They even take them down at the dead of night or they replace the metric units with imperial units."

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