So how tall are you?

IT seems weights and measurements are going through something of an identity crisis in Ipswich.

IT seems weights and measurements are going through something of an identity crisis in Ipswich.

Market traders and customers in the town centre are using a real mixed bag of pounds, centimetres, ounces, kilograms, feet and inches in their trading activities.

Those of an older generation who went through the mind-boggling conversion to the pound from shillings and pence are still able to buy their goods in imperial ounces.

And they are very quick off the mark when it comes to recalling their height in feet and inches rather than centimetres.

But many are also comfortable dealing with kilograms - a weight measurement which many items are now packaged in.

Equally, the younger generation - whose education is more heavily weighed towards learning in the metric system - also know how tall they are in the imperial system.

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To add to the kaleidoscope of confusion, goods imported from abroad to Ipswich market are very often weighed in kilograms, whereas items made in Britain will be in pounds and ounces.

Gary Waters, from the M&G Foods stall on the Cornhill, said even the type of packaging he receives good in can determine the unit of measurement.

Mr Waters, who lives in Stoke Park, Ipswich, said: “With the boxed deliveries, it's in kilograms, but the bags come in pounds.

“When deliveries come from abroad they are all in kilograms, but when it is English it is pounds.

“Foreign workers who come here expect their measurement in kilograms.”

Although both sets of measurements still thrive, shoppers in Ipswich still gravitate towards the imperial system.

Mr Waters said: “People in Ipswich love it in pounds. I'm not sure why, but that's the way they like it.”

Gary Cox, of Coxy's fruit and veg stall, said: “Everyone loves using pounds and ounces in Ipswich. People grew up with pounds and ounces.”

Do you prefer the imperial or metric system? Are you comfortable using both? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

Gary Cox, of Coxy's fruit and veg stall, said: “I'm 5ft 11ins. I know that because the doctor told me. We use pounds and ounces on the stall, but we use kilograms if the buyer is foreign.”

Gary Waters, of M&G Foods, said: “I'm 5ft 9ins. I also know my weight in imperial, but I'm not telling you what it is! People tend to use both.

“ was brought up being taught both and when I was a mechanic in the army I used imperial spanners and metric spanners.

“My children use nothing but metric and the older generation just seem to use imperial.”

Brenda Glover, 64, of The Grove, Ipswich, said: “I'm 4ft 11ins. I don't know what that is in centimetres, but I know what I weigh in kilograms. I mainly use imperial - it's an age thing.

“Using money in metric is easier, but the conversions in weights and measurements are difficult. But I know that there are 2.53cms to an inch! It is very confusing.”

Jennie Catchpole, 66, of Nacton Road, Ipswich, said: “I am 5ft 1in. When I was brought up it was all imperial.

“I do recognise the metric system, but I don't get confused about it. I just take it all in my stride.”

John Chapman, 73, from Hollesley, said: “I am 5ft 10in. I was brought up with imperial. Why do I need to be told what I have to buy in?”

Que To, 44, of Belvedere Road, Ipswich, said: “I'm 5ft 3ins. There are 2.2lbs to one kilogram! Sea bass here is �4.95 per pound!

“Sometimes we use both here but it is easy to remember. In China we use pounds more.”

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