As we go about our daily business here at The Royal Mint, we sometimes take for granted the historic and even quirky practices and sights we experience every day.
In this short series we share some of them with you, to give you a flavour of our lives at the world’s largest export mint and the UK’s oldest manufacturing company. So, first of all, let’s make our way in…
Entering The Royal Mint
Ministry of Defence (MoD) Police and security officers at the staff entrance inspect our pass-card before the door is activated, no matter how well they know us – and that means everyone, even the Chief Executive. The pass-card is issued following strict security-checks and any loss of it must be reported to a police station immediately. Once in, we pass through secure turnstiles and an airport-style x-ray machine. We are also subject to random searches by the Police on departure, and there are search rooms nearby, just in case!
Leave it at the door!
Although thousands of coins leave here every day, no-one may bring coins into The Royal Mint. Because of this, daily workplace transactions, such as office and charity collections or buying a canteen lunch, are undertaken without the use of coins. This entails exchanging bank-notes or coins for tokens with a monetary value at Reception, or loading value onto a card using bank-notes or tokens.
If staff inadvertently bring coins onto site, they become involved in procedures designed to preserve the integrity and security of the coins that we make, so we can ensure that only newly-minted coins leave site. They must either immediately obtain a key for a Reception locker and leave their coins there or, if discovered later (maybe in a handbag), declare them to their Manager. They are put in an envelope, the Manager checks the amount and signs across the sealed envelope. The envelope is taken to and opened by the Police who verify that they are not newly-minted coins. The coins must then be taken off-site e.g. to the employee’s car, or placed in a Reception locker. Undeclared coins found in a Police search on departure results in a report to management, who treat it very seriously.
Visitors come in through a separate entrance and are escorted on site at all times by a member of staff. They are advised that coins, cameras, laptops and smoking items must be left in lockers at Reception. This is rigorously applied, even when the Bank of England visited us recently. Of course, the ‘No Smoking’ rule applies to everyone and possession of such items on site would result in disciplinary action for staff.
Something Interesting For Visitors
An impressive exhibition in the Visitors Reception holds current and historic coins, medals and other artefacts.
A ‘Roll of Honour’ in a glass case shows the names of four Royal Mint employees who sadly lost their lives when a bomb hit the Royal Mint building at Tower Hill in London on 13 June 1917. One of them is listed as a ‘Boy Clerk’. Poignantly, it also records the names of staff members who died in active service during the First World War, some of whom were awarded medals that were made at The Royal Mint by their own colleagues.
And so we proceed inside….
In the next article we will talk about some of the historic items brought from our previous homes at the Tower of London and Tower Hill in London and now placed around our ‘new’ home here in Llantrisant in the beautiful Welsh countryside.
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