Sir Winston Churchill to feature on new banknote

 

Luisa Baldini has a close-up look at the note design

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Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the new design of a banknote which will enter circulation in 2016, the Bank of England has announced.

The wartime leader's image is planned to feature on the reverse of the new £5 note, together with one of his most celebrated quotations.

Churchill was chosen owing to his place as "a hero of the entire free world", said Bank governor Sir Mervyn King.

The current face of the £5 note is social reformer Elizabeth Fry.

'Truly great leader'

A wide range of historical characters appears on the reverse of Bank of England banknotes, with Elizabeth Fry the only woman among the current crop.

The Bank of England governor has the final say about who appears on a banknote, although the public can make suggestions. The latest addition has been announced by Sir Mervyn at Churchill's former home of Chartwell, in Westerham, Kent.

Current Bank of England banknote images

  • £5: Elizabeth Fry, social reformer noted for her work to improve conditions for women prisoners
  • £10: Charles Darwin, the scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution
  • £20: Adam Smith, one of the fathers of modern economics
  • £50: Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who brought the steam engine into the textile manufacturing process. They are replacing notes featuring the first governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Houblon

"Our banknotes acknowledge the life and work of great Britons. Sir Winston Churchill was a truly great British leader, orator and writer," Sir Mervyn said.

"Above that, he remains a hero of the entire free world. His energy, courage, eloquence, wit and public service are an inspiration to us all."

Current plans, which the Bank said might be reviewed, are for Churchill to appear on the new £5 note to be issued in 2016.

Security measures

The design includes a portrait of the former prime minister, adapted from a photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh on 30 December 1941. He is the only politician from the modern era to feature on a banknote.

The artwork will also include:

  • Churchill's declaration "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" which came in a speech in the Commons on 13 May 1940
  • A view of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower from the South Bank
  • The Great Clock showing three o'clock - the approximate time of the Commons speech
  • A background image of the Nobel Prize for literature, which he was awarded in 1953

Sir Mervyn said that this was an appropriate choice given the country's economic difficulties.

"We do not face the challenges faced by Churchill's generation. But we have our own," he said.

Sir Mervyn King: "Perhaps the note itself will become known as a Winston"

"The spirit of those words remains as relevant today as it was to my parents' generation who fought for the survival of our country and freedom under Churchill's leadership."

The Bank of England issues nearly a billion banknotes each year, and withdraws almost as many from circulation.

Notes are redesigned on a relatively frequent basis, in order to maintain security and prevent forgeries. Other security features include threads woven into the paper and microlettering.

The most recent new design from the Bank of England was the £50 note, which entered circulation in November. This features Matthew Boulton and James Watt who were most celebrated for bringing the steam engine into the textile manufacturing process.

While Bank of England notes are generally accepted throughout the UK, three banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland are authorised to issue banknotes.

Pharmacologist Sir Alexander Fleming, poet Robert Burns, and tyre inventor John Boyd Dunlop are among those who appear on these notes. One commemorative £5 note featuring football great George Best proved so popular that the limited edition of one million sold out in 10 days.

A portrait of Europa is seen next to new and old five-euro notes in Frankfurt, 10 January Greek goddess Europa is appearing on the new five-euro note

In May, a new five-euro note will be put into circulation by the European Central Bank.

It features an image of the Greek goddess Europa, which comes from a vase in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

History

The image of Churchill has featured on currency before.

He was the first commoner to be shown on a British coin when he appeared on the 1965 crown, or five shilling piece.

Churchill, elected as a Conservative MP in 1900, served as chancellor in Stanley Baldwin's government.

He replaced Neville Chamberlain to become the wartime British prime minister in May 1940 until 1945. He returned to office in 1951, and retired in 1955, aged 80.

"The Bank is privileged to be able to celebrate the significant and enduring contribution Sir Winston Churchill made to the UK, and beyond," said Chris Salmon, chief cashier of the Bank of England, whose signature will also appear on the banknote.

Sir Nicholas Soames, Churchill's grandson and MP for Mid Sussex, said: "I think it is a wonderful tribute to him and an appropriate time. I can't think of any more marvellous thing that would have pleased him more."

He described the move as a great honour for the family.

Who's been on Bank of England notes?

Source: Bank of England, Notes issued and withdrawn since 1980

Famous Briton

Lived

Field

Note

Note from

Newton

Isaac Newton

1643-1727

Scientist

£1

1978-1988

Wellington

Duke of Wellington

1769-1852

Soldier and statesman

£5

1971-1991

Stephenson

George

Stephenson

1781-1848

Engineer

£5

1990-2003

Fry

Elizabeth Fry

1780-1845

Campaigner

£5

2002-present

Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

1820-1910

Nurse & campaigner

£10

1975-1994

Dickens

Charles Dickens

1812-1870

Writer

£10

1992-2003

Darwin

Charles Darwin

1809-1882

Scientist

£10

2000-present

Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

1564-1616

Writer

£20

1970-1993

Faraday

Michael Faraday

1791-1867

Scientist

£20

1991-2001

Elgar

Sir Edward Elgar

1857-1934

Composer

£20

1999-2010

Smith

Adam Smith

1723-1790

Economist

£20

2007-present

Wren

Sir Christopher Wren

1632-1723

Architect

£50

1981-1996

Houblon

Sir John Houblon

1632-1712

Banker

£50

1994-present

Boulton & Watt

Matthew Boulton and James Watt

1728-1809, 1736-1819

Entrepreneur and inventor

£50

2011-present

 

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