Bank of England to issue new £50 note in 2011

On 29 May 2009, the Bank of England announced that it would issue a new 50-pound note in early 2011. The new £50 note (US$82) will feature portraits of 18th century entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt. Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, said, “Just as the Bank of England plays an essential role in the economy as the United Kingdom’s central bank, so too did Boulton and Watt’s steam engines and their many other innovations as essential factors in the nation’s Industrial Revolution. So many of the advantages society now enjoys are due in large part to the vital role of engineering and the brilliance and foresight of people such as Boulton and Watt whose development and refinement of steam engines gave an incredible boost to the efficiency of industry.”

“The unique and rare opportunity that the Bank has through its banknotes to acknowledge and promote awareness of our nation’s heritage of artistic, social and scientific endeavour is an honour for us. The Bank’s choice of Boulton and Watt, a reminder of the invaluable contribution from engineering and the entrepreneurial spirit to the advancement of society, I think, well reflects this.”

The Boulton and Watt £50 banknote will be the second note in the Series F family which began with the introduction of the Adam Smith £20 note on 13 March 2007. Therefore its overall appearance will be similar. But for the first time two portraits will appear together on the reverse of the note, those of Boulton and Watt, along with the image of a steam engine and the Soho (Birmingham) Manufactory. As with the Adam Smith £20 banknote however, continuity is provided with the current portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, which was first used in 1990 and which will be retained on the front of the note. Further details of the design and the range of security features to be included on the new note will be revealed when the new note is launched.

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