What are the UK's new polymer banknotes and who is on them?

The publication of the new £ 50 note by the Bank of England with the picture of mathematician Alan Turing means that all four values ​​currently in circulation in the UK are now available in polymer.

The values ​​or denominations are £ 5, £ 10, £ 20 and £ 50.

The banknotes will replace the old paper bills, which will no longer be legal tender as of September 30, 2022.

The Bank of England recommends that people with paper bills be issued or deposited with their bank before this date.

The UK has switched to plastic banknotes because they are more robust and harder to counterfeit – with “enhanced security features” like translucent windows and holograms that change the picture from different angles.

They began circulating in 2016, starting with the £ 5 note.

Who is on the new polymer banknotes?

£ 5 – Sir Winston Churchill

The new £ 5 note was issued on September 13, 2016 and was the first polymer note in circulation in the UK.

The historical figure on the back of the note replacing prison reformer Elizabeth Fry is Sir Winston Churchill.

His biography on the Bank of England website reads: “Sir Winston Churchill was one of the greatest statesmen of all time and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955.

“Churchill was also a writer and artist and is the only Prime Minister to receive the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature.”

The design of the note includes pictures of Westminster, the Nobel Prize medal and a quote from Churchill’s first speech in the House of Commons: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”.

£ 10 – Jane Austen

The new £ 10 bill in front of the Bank of England

The new £ 10 note was released on September 14, 2017.

The reverse shows Jane Austen, who replaces the naturalist Charles Darwin.

The Bank of England biography of Austen states: “Jane Austen was an English writer who, with wit and social observation, gave astute insights into the life of the 19th against the advancement of women.

“Your books have been translated into over 40 languages, of which there have been countless film and television adaptations.

“Jane started writing when she was just 11, and by the age of 23 she had been creating early versions of some of her most famous novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensuality.

“All of Jane’s work has been published anonymously, so despite the fact that her work was generally well received and even fashionable in some circles, it received little recognition until after her death.”

The artwork on the note includes images of Godmersham Park House, the estate of Austen’s brother, and Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice. The quote “I finally declare that there is no pleasure like reading” was said by Miss Bingley in pride and prejudice.

£ 20 – JMW Turner

The new £ 20 bill at Tate Britain in London

The £ 20 Polymer Note went into circulation on February 20th last year.

The historical figure on the back of the note is JMW Turner, who replaces the Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Turner was an English Romantic painter who lived from 1775 to 1851. His works – including watercolors, oils and prints – were shaped by his interest in brilliant colors and light. He was therefore known as the “painter of light”.

One of his most famous paintings, The Fighting Temeraire, is featured in the artwork on the note, as is his self-portrait from circa 1799.

The quote on the banknote reads “So light is color” from a lecture he gave in 1818.

£ 50 – Alan Turing

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey with the new £ 50 note in Bletchley Park

The new 50 pound note was released today, Wednesday 23 June 2021.

On the back there is a picture of Alan Turing, who replaces the entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and the engineer James Watt on the paper version.

His biography on the Bank of England website states: “Alan Turing provided the theoretical foundations for the modern computer.

“Best known for his work on code-breaking machines during World War II, Turing played a key role in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.

“He laid the foundation for work on artificial intelligence by examining the question of whether machines could think.

“Turing was homosexual and was posthumously pardoned by the Queen after being convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man.

“His legacy continues to affect both science and society today.”

Relevant works of art in design include mathematical formulas from Turing’s groundbreaking 1936 work, his date of birth in binary and engineering drawings of the bomb, his code-breaking machine that destroyed Enigma.

The quote on the slip reads, “This is just a taste of what’s to come and just a shadow of what will be,” from an interview he gave to the Times in 1949.

The old paper bills will no longer be legal tender on September 30, 2022.


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