The United Kingdom will experience a “currency first” in 2019 when
its first vertically oriented bank notes will be put into circulation.
The £5 and £10 notes will be issued by Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank.
Only the Bank of England issues bank notes in England and Wales, but
in Scotland and Northern Ireland seven private banks are also
authorized to issue them. All notes issued by the various banks are
legal tender everywhere in the United Kingdom.
The new notes will be made of polymer and are designed around the
theme of “Living in Nature.”
The blue £5 design will represent the importance of the sea and
migration to Northern Ireland, and will show Strangford Lough near
Belfast, a lake called County Down’s very own inland sea, and a flock
of flying brent geese.
The brown £10 note, designed around the concepts of agriculture and
heritage, features an Irish hare, guelder-rose shrubs, and Lough Erne,
a pair of connected lakes in the northwest County Fermanagh. Now known
as a scenic waterway, its has a legacy extending back to early Irish
mythology and folklore.
The notes also feature elements of Irish edible culture, the king
scallop and an Ulster glade potato.
Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, explained
the departure from the norm, saying, “Innovation is at the core of our
bank, whether that’s through digital technologies, in our face-to-face
services, or these designs.”
The three banks authorized to issue bank notes in Scotland are Bank
of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Four are
authorized in Northern Ireland: Bank of Ireland, AIB Group (trading as
First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland), Northern Bank Limited (trading
as Danske Bank), and Ulster Bank Limited. Ulster Bank is part of the
Royal Bank of Scotland.
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