Who Are On The UK Money Of All Time?
Who Are On The UK Money Of All Time?

The UK uses the Pound Sterling which, like most currencies around the world, is a decimal currency.

The pound sterling is the oldest existing currency, with origins that can be traced back to continental Europe.

The name of this currency comes from the Latin word “libra”, which refers to weight and balance. For more than 300 years the Bank of England has been the authority issuing pound banknotes, and all along this time these notes have suffered many changes.

Current pound sterling Coins and Banknotes

Right now there are five different denominations of banknotes in circulation, 5, 10, 20, and 50 pounds. There are also £1 notes but they are a rarity as they are printed in Scotland. All pound notes include certain security measures.

Regarding to coins, the ones currently circulating are of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pennies and 1 and 2 pounds. Occasionally special editions of £5 coins are issued but their circulation is merely incidental.

How does the Bank of England decide who features on banknotes?

The main criteria that the Bank of England uses to judge whether someone should be on a banknote is that they should have been people who shaped British society through innovation, leadership and/or values.

Attempts are made to include people from different backgrounds and fields of endeavour. They also take into account who has already appeared on notes so that the choice reflects the diversity of British society and different disciplines.

The historical personage should be widely admired and should have made an important contribution to society and/or culture. There should also be a suitable portrait of them which can be used on the reverse of the note and this picture should be recognizable.

Finally, people who are still living can’t be featured on sterling banknotes and fictional characters are avoided.

Who are on English banknotes?

1. £1 (1 pound)

Photo: alamy
Photo: alamy

Dates of Issue: 1978-1984

Legal Tender: Until 1988

Reverse Design: Sir Isaac Newton holding a book and also pictures of a telescope, prism and map of the solar system.

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is known throughout the world for his work in physics, astronomy as well as mathematical calculus. He is believed to have been the most influential scientist of all time along with Einstein. However, did you know that he was very influential for the pound sterling since he held a post as Warden/Master of the (Royal) Mint? Perhaps it’s fitting that he should have been chosen to appear on the pound sterling seeing as he’d done so much to save the re-coinage of the pound (1696) from becoming a fiasco of mismanagement and fraud. He also went ‘undercover’ on the trail of coin-clippers and counterfeiters.

2. £5 (5 pounds)

Photo: marieclaire
Photo: marieclaire

The current £5 note features Elizabeth Fry, who made her name fighting for improved living conditions for women in European jails.

Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) was an English prison reformer, social reformer and philanthropist. Many of her ideas were underpinned by her beliefs as a Quaker. Known as the ‘Angel of Prisons’, Fry even spent a night in prison to truly understand what the experience was like. In 1818 she became the first woman to give evidence in Parliament. Because of her work, new legislation was passed to treat prisoners more humanely. Her legacy lived on after her death; despite contemporary calls for her to return to the home, her example is said to have been an inspiration for the suffragettes.

(Old £5 note features George Stephenson. Ceased to be legal tender on 21 November 2003)

3. £10 (10 pounds)

Photo: bankofengland
Photo: bankofengland

The current £10 note features Charles Darwin, the Victorian naturalist who developed the theory of evolution. Also pictured is an illustration of Darwin's own magnifying lens and the flora and fauna that he may have come across on his travels.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a naturalist, geologist and biologist who was selected to appear on a banknote because of his contribution to science. Originally intended to be a doctor like his father, he became interested in the natural sciences at university. His big chance came when he went on a 5-year voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle and was given the opportunity to study the flora, fauna and geology of different countries/islands. His book ‘On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection’ was over 20 years in the making; he was pushed into publication because Wallace had come up with the same idea independently.

4. £20 (20 pounds)

Photo: banknotenews
Photo: banknotenews

The current £20 note features Sir Edward Elgar, a British composer whose orchestral works include Enigma Variations (1896) and five Pomp and Circumstance marches (1901–1930).

The Bank of England issued a new-style £20 note on 13 March 2007 . The note features Adam Smith, one of the fathers of modern economics, on the back and incorporates enhanced security features.

The new-style £20 notes will circulate alongside the old-style Elgar note which will be progressively withdrawn from circulation. The date when its legal tender status ends will then be announced, as is usual practice.

5. £50 (50 pounds)

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

The current £50 note features Sir John Houblon, the first Governor of the Bank of England.

In honour of the 300th anniversary of the Bank of England, Sir John Houblon (1632-1712) was chosen to feature on the £50-note since he was the first Governor of the Bank of England. As a merchant, Houblon was well-known for his fair business dealings and public spirit and in recognition of the fact was awarded a knighthood in 1689. Five years later, he was instrumental in organising the financing and management structure of the Bank of England. He also served as Lord Mayor of London (1695) and Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty (1698-99).

Who are on English Coins?

Photo: aliexpress
Photo: aliexpress

All coins bear HM The Queen's head on one side. Portraits of kings and queens have been engraved on our coins for hundreds of years.

On the edge of our coins, the letters D.G.REG.F.D. always appear after the Queen's name. The letters stand for the Latin words Dei Gratia Regina Fidei Defensor, which means 'By the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith'.

♦ 1p

It pictures the portcullis of Westminster Palace. A portcullis is a grating of iron or wooden bars or slats, suspended in the gateway of a fortified place and lowered to block passage.

♦ 2p

A two-pence piece can be referred to as tuppence or a tupenny.

It pictures the Prince of Wales's feathers.

♦ 5p

This coin shows the symbol of Scotland, the thistle.

On top of the thistle, you can see the British crown.

♦ 10p

The 10-pence coin (about the size of a US Quarter) shows a lion.

For centuries the lion was a proud symbol of Britain's strength.

The lion is wearing the crown of the British Monarch.

♦ 20p

The 20-pence coin shows the Tudor Rose.

A rose is the national flower of England.

On top, you can see the British crown.

♦ 50p

The 50 pence coin shows the picture of Britannia and a lion.

Both are symbols of Britain.

♦ £1 (1 pound)

There are many different pictures on the £1 coin to reflect the different countries of Britain: lions for England, a thistle for Scotland and a leek for Wales. The coin on the left shows the three lions of England.

The slang term for pound is quid.

♦ £2 (2 pounds)

The design of the 2-pound coin represents technological development.

The edge lettering features the quote "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" by Sir Isaac Newton,

Where Queen Elizabeth II’s face appeared on bank notes worldwide

On paper, the Queen lives on. While Queen Elizabeth II reigned as the British monarch for 70 years, her face has been in print for far longer. Since 1935, her likeness has graced the creases of bank notes in Canada. In more than 30 countries and territories, treasuries printed her majesty from 1 cent notes in Hong Kong to $20 bills in New Zealand.

Her face has been printed on currency on every continent except Antarctica, where there is no centralized bank.

With the queen’s death, the future of her image on currency around the world is up in the air. Bank notes featuring her in Australia, New Zealand and Canada will update with the new monarch, King Charles III, but the process will take some time.

The Bank of Canada said its current $20 banknote is designed “to circulate for years to come.” The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it will issue all of its stock of coins depicting the queen before new ones go out with King Charles’ image.

For Britain itself, the Bank of England’s governor reassured the public in a statement, saying that “current bank notes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender.”

How will King Charles III appear on money?

Britain's Royal Mint is expected to issue coins bearing Charles.

Since the throne belonged to King Charles II, in the 17th century, British coinage has abided by a tradition in which a new leader's face appears in the opposite direction of his or her predecessor.

In turn, Charles is expected to appear on coins facing left, in contrast with Elizabeth, who faces right.

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