New polymer £50 notes featuring codebreaker and computer scientist, Alan Turing, have entered circulation, with the old notes, along with paper £20 notes, being withdrawn in September 2022.
The new note completes the set of polymer banknotes containing the most advanced security features of any UK currency, joining the Churchill £5, the Austen £10 and the Turner £20.
Speaking at Bletchley Park, where Turing carried out his famous codebreaking work, Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey said:
Our banknotes celebrate some of our country’s most important historical figures. That’s why I am delighted that Alan Turing features on the new polymer £50 note. Having undertaken remarkable codebreaking work here at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, he went on to pioneer work on early computers, as well as making some ground-breaking discoveries in the field of developmental biology. He was also gay and was treated appallingly as a result. Placing him on this new banknote is a recognition of his contributions to our society, and a celebration of his remarkable life.”
Speaking as the note entered circulation, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Sarah John said:
The polymer £50 note is the most secure Bank of England banknote yet, and the features of the note make it very difficult to counterfeit. All of our polymer banknotes can be checked by looking for two key security features: a hologram which changes image; and see-through windows. So if you can check one denomination of banknote, you can check them all. The new £50 notes, like the polymer £10 and £20 notes, contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.”
After 30 September 2022 Bank of England paper £20 and £50 notes will no longer be legal tender; shops and other businesses should stop accepting paper notes after this date. The three issuers of Scottish banknotes (Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland) will also withdraw their paper £20 and £50 banknotes on the same date as the Bank of England.