"and gave him a shilling to fetch us three foaming glasses from the sherbet-seller"
A Victorian shilling
Creative Commons AttributionA Victorian shilling - Credit: Smabs Sputzer, Flickr

The shilling was a British coin in circulation between the reign of Henry VII and the decimalisation of the currency in 1971.

There were twenty shillings to a pound, meaning a shilling was worth 5 pence in modern currency.

Informally, a shilling was known as a bob, as in, 'Can you lend us ten bob?'






Jars of sherbet
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJars of sherbet - Credit: Andy Dingley, Wikimedia Commons

Sherbet is a cold drink made with fruit juice and sugar that originated in Asia. However, in Victorian Britain it was made by mixing a sweetened, fruit-flavoured powder with water; the powder contained a substance such as bicarbonate of soda or tartaric acid which would make the drink effervesce.

Later, sherbet became a form of confectionary, eaten either on its own, with licorice (as in the famous sherbet fountain) or in a sweet (as in the equally famous sherbet lemon). In Scotland sherbet is known as keli, and in the north of England as kali.

Sherbet fountain
Creative Commons AttributionSherbet fountain - Credit: mrpbps, Flickr