New polymer £50 note revealed

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Latest addition: the new £50 note will come into circulation in June and has two security features, which can be checked to ensure they are genuine (image: Bank of England)
Latest addition: the new £50 note will come into circulation in June and has two security features, which can be checked to ensure they are genuine (image: Bank of England)

Related tags: Legislation, Money, Finance, Bank of england

A new polymer £50 banknote will be joining the £20, £10 and £5 notes when it is released into circulation later this year.

The new £50 note, which features scientist Alan Turing, was unveiled on Thursday 25 March and will be issued for the first time on Wednesday 23 June – to commemorate Turing’s birthday.

There are two security features operators can check to help confirm the notes are genuine. These are:

  • A metallic hologram, which changes between the words ‘fifty’ and ‘pounds’ when the note is tilted
  • A large see-through window with a gold and green foil on the front, depicting a finely detailed metallic microchip image

The paper £50 notes can still be used and notice will be given at least six months ahead of the date when the old note is withdrawn.

Celebrating achievements

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said: “There’s something of the character of a nation in its money and we are right to consider and celebrate the people on our banknotes.

“I’m delighted our new £50 features one of Britain’s most important scientists, Alan Turing, who is best known for his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park, which helped end World War Two.

“However, in addition, he was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist and a pioneer in the field of computer science.

“He was also gay and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer banknote, we are celebrating his achievements and the values he symbolises.”

The note will feature the signature of the Bank of England chief cashier Sarah John, who lauded the security features of the polymer notes.

Harder to counterfeit

John said: “The new £50 completes our set of polymer banknotes. These are much harder to counterfeit and with its security features, the new £50 is part of our most secure series of banknotes yet.

“These security features are common across all our banknotes so if you can check one, you can check them all.”

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) director Jeremy Fleming outlined the reasons behind the decision to feature the scientist on the note.

He added: “Turing’s appearance on the £50 note is a landmark moment in our history. Not only is it a celebration of his scientific genius, which helped to shorten the way and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBTQ+ figures in the world.

“Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay. His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.”

Related topics: Legislation

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