Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveiled early in June the
design of the new £5 note, scheduled for issue on Sept. 13. It is the
first English bank note printed on polymer plastic, and will feature
Sir Winston Churchill.
Speaking at Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, Carney said the
new £5 note, colloquially referred to as a “Fiver,” “will commemorate
the achievements of the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for
literature and one of the greatest statesmen of all time — Sir Winston
Churchill. As he himself said, ‘a nation that forgets its past has no future.’”
Digging into the design
The design of the back of the note hews closely to the concept
unveiled nearly a year ago. It includes a portrait of Churchill, from
a photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh in 1941, in front of a view of
Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben’s tower) from the South
Bank of the Thames. The hands of the tower’s clock are at 3 o’clock —
the approximate time on May 13,1940, when Churchill said in his first
speech as prime minister: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil,
tears and sweat.” This statement is quoted beneath the portrait. Also
shown is a background image of the Nobel Prize medal he was awarded in
1953 for literature, together with the wording of the prize citation.
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The face of the note has the familiar portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
Carney said the new £5 note is expected to last 2.5 times longer
than paper notes and that it will be far more difficult to
counterfeit. Among its security features are a see-through window with
the queen’s portrait, in which window the border changes from purple
to green; a separate view of Big Ben in gold foil on the face of the
note and in silver on the back; a hologram with the word ‘Five’
changing to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted; a hologram of the
coronation crown appearing in 3D and multi-colored when the note is
tilted; a green foil hologram on the back, of the maze at Blenheim
Palace; micro-lettering, found beneath the queen’s portrait, with tiny
letters and numbers visible under a microscope; and the words BANK OF
ENGLAND printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note. It
will also have features to aid the visually impaired.
After Sept. 13, paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from
circulation. They will be legal tender until May 2017, after which
they can still be exchanged at the Bank of England.
The new £10 note will be issued in summer 2017 and the new £20 note
by 2020, according to the Bank of England.
In addressing Churchill’s selection for the note, Bank of England
governor Sir Mervyn King said on April 26, 2013: “Our banknotes
acknowledge the life and work of great Britons. Sir Winston Churchill
was a truly great British leader, orator and writer. 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. I am
proud to announce that he will appear on our next banknote.”
The £5 note will not be the first polymer notes of the United
Kingdom. The three note-issuing Scottish banks have all announced
Here's some more information on the new release.
Who was Winston Churchill?
The famed and complex British statesman and author lived from 1874
to 1965, and was known for his leadersnhip as British prime minister
during World War II as well as his writing. Both showcased his
one-of-a-kind political thoughts.
Churchill was a focal point in leading various social reforms in
Great Britain. He was a firm
defender of democracy and one who never shyed away from criticsm.
His Nobel Prize in Literature in awarded in 1953 was "for his
mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for
brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values," according
to the official website of the nobel prize.