The Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has revealed the design of the new £50 banknote, featuring scientist Alan Turing.
Bailey was joined by Stephen Fry and Dr Simon Singh at the public launch event, ahead of the new £50 note being issued for the first time on 23rd June 2021, coinciding with Alan Turing’s birthday.
Like other polymer banknotes launched in recent years, the new £50 note features several advanced security measures.
Like the new £20, the new £50 note has two windows and a two-colour foil, which will make it incredibly difficult to counterfeit.
The new £50 note also has a hologram image, which changes between the words ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’, when the note is tilted from side to side.
Polymer banknotes are designed to last longer than the old paper versions, and remain in better condition during their use.
Like the polymer £10 and £20 notes, the new £50 note features a tactile aspect, designed to help the visually impaired identify the denomination.
Alan Turing on the £50 will join Winston Churchill on the £5, Jane Austen on the £10, and JMW Turner on the £20. It will mean that all Bank of England banknotes, from this summer, will be available in polymer versions.
After the new £50 note enters circulation on 23rd June 2021, the old paper £50 notes can continue to be used, with at least six months notice given before they are eventually withdrawn from circulation.
Commenting on the new note, 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. So I’m delighted that our new £50 features one of Britain’s most important scientists, Alan Turing.
“Turing is best known for his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park, which helped end the Second World War. 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 £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises”.
The new £50 note is signed by Sarah John, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England.
“This new £50 note 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.”
Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ, said:
“Alan 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 war and influence the technology we still use today, it also confirms his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ 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,