We have seen many changes in our money over the last few years, mainly our old paper notes being swapped out for the new plastic polymer notes. But that’s not the only thing that is changing, so are the people on our banknotes. Here is everything you need to know about the new polymer £50 note, as well as all the other banknotes.
Who is Alan Turing?
Alan Turing is a name we have all been hearing lately, but who exactly is he? Well, Alan is the latest face to join our currency, as his face will be printed on the new £50 notes from June 2021. Alan is a famous mathematician who helped Allied efforts read German Naval messages during WW2 An interesting fact about him is that he had to ride his bike 62 miles to get to his first day of school after a strike meant he was unable to take the train.
However, despite playing a significant role in the allies winning WW2, in 1952 Alan was convicted for having a relationship with another man. After which he was chemically castrated as an alternative to prison. This meant that Alan was unable to finish his research as he no longer had security clearance, and in 1954 he committed suicide by cyanide poisoning. Since his death, Alan received a posthumous royal pardon in 2013.
Who else is on our money?
Sir Winston Churchill
The current £5 note was launched in 2016, but Winston Churchill has been on the £5 note since 2013. In case you didn’t know, Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister twice and helped lead the nation to victory during the second world war, after which he was also named an honorary citizen of the USA. Aside from his political work, Churchill was an accomplished artist and writer, he wrote several books during his lifetime, and in 1953 he won a Nobel Prize for his literature. But what is probably most memorable about Churchill is that he is the only political leader to be commemorated on a coin, which he was not once but twice!
Jane Austen is on the new £10 notes after replacing Charles Darwin in 2017. Jane is a famous English writer whose literature inspired women all over the world. Some of her most famous books are Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. You can also spot Jane Austen on some of the £2 coins. However, when Jane wrote her novels, they were published anonymously, and at one point she stopped writing for an entire decade. Plus, something not a lot of people know is that Jane began writing when she was just a child and also brewed her own beer, both of which are skills I’m envious of.
JMW Turner is a famous painter born in London back in 1775, and his career took off at The Royal Academy of Arts. Turner was selected as one of the 590 creative people in Britain who helped change the country, but he was eventually picked by the Banknote Character Advisory Committee to be the face of the new £20 notes. Some interesting facts you probably don’t know about JMW Turner is that he was the son of a barber/wig maker and that he appeared to have a preference for widows.
Mathew Boulton and James Watt
The current £50 paper note was first printed in 2011 and has Matthew Boulton and James Watt on it. The two men were business partners, with Matthew being an English businessman and James a Scottish inventor who created a better version of the steam engine. Matthew was also a famous industrialist, and his Soho Works was the largest factory in the world at one point, making it no wonder James wanted to work with him. The duo were the leading manufacturers of the steam engine by the 19th century.