Jane Austen may appear on £10 note
Author Jane Austen may replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note, outgoing governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King has said.
Speaking at the end of his final appearance as governor, Sir Mervyn said the author was "quietly waiting in the wings" to replace Darwin.
But he said the final decision would be down to his successor Mark Carney.
The Bank has faced criticism for its decision to replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note with Sir Winston Churchill.
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
Campaigners complained that this would mean no women would be represented on UK bank notes.
But Sir Mervyn said Jane Austen was the leading candidate to become the next figure on the £10 note, having previously been a reserve choice.
He suggested the overlap would mean that there would always be women on UK banknotes.
"The concern, and I understand it, is it that we might find ourselves in a position where there are no women in the set of historical figures. That's not true," he said.
"In 2015-16, when Churchill notes appear, it will not be the case that Elizabeth Fry disappears.
"Well before then, the announcement of the next historical figure will be made... the figure we've been working with for two years is Jane Austen. This figure becomes a candidate for the £10 note down the road."
Sir Mervyn was speaking at his final appearance in front of the Treasury Committee, before handing over to former Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney.
If Jane Austen is confirmed as the next face of the £10 note, she will become only the third woman to be featured on UK banknotes - apart from the Queen - following Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry.