When will the new £50 note be released and who will be on it?
THE £50 banknote was once described as the "currency of the corrupt elites".
But in October 2018, government ministers opted against scrapping it, in hope of developing a more durable and secure note. Here's what we know.
When will the new £50 be released?
Today, the Bank of England (BoE) finally announced when the new £50 note will be released.
The newest polymer bank note will be launched into circulation on June 23, 2021, in honour of code-breaker Alan Turing's birthday.
The plastic notes have been replacing the paper versions over the past few years as they have been designed to be more secure.
The two windows and two-colour foil make it more difficult to counterfeit, while the polymer material is waterproof and harder to rip, making them last longer.
The £50 note joins the Winston Churchill £5 note, Jane Austen £10 note and JMW Turner £20 note.
Paper £50 notes can continue to be used even after the new version has been released into circulation.
The BoE hasn't set a date for when the paper ones will be withdrawn yet, but has promised to give at least six months notice.
There are currently 300 million £50 notes in circulation, with a combined value of £16.5billion.
Who features on the note?
The new £50 note features World War II code-breaker Alan Turing.
Turing, who worked at GCHQ at Bletchley Park, is best known for cracking Enigma to decrypt Nazi messages – shortening the war by four years.
Benedict Cumberbatch played the troubled scientist in the 2014 film, The Imitation Game.
Despite his monumental help with the national effort in WWII, he was charged over homosexual activity in 1952.
He pleaded for chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones, which made him impotent. He was also barred from continuing his work with GCHQ.
Turing died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide in 1954, and 59 years later the mathematician was granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013.
The new note will feature a photo of him taken in 1951 by Elliott & Fry, alongside a table of a mathematical formula.
Underneath the picture of Mr Turing is a quote from him, saying: "This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be."
How did Alan Turing’s work help during the Second World War?
ALAN Turing was asked to join the Government Codes and Cypher School, a code-breaking organisation which is now known as GCHQ.
The organisation moved to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, which became the top secret home of Britain’s code breakers.
He was based in the famous Hut 8 and his most notable achievement at Bletchley was cracking the Germans' ‘Enigma’ code.
The Enigma was a machine used by the German armed forces to send encrypted messages securely.
Together with fellow code-breaker Gordon Welchman, developed a machine called the Bombe which from late 1940 was decoding all messages sent by the Enigma machines.
Turing’s team also cracked complex German naval signals in 1941, contributing to Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.
His other work included developing a machine to encode and decode voice communications.
BoE boss Andrew Bailey said: "There's something of the character of a nation in its money, and were right to consider and celebrate the people on out banknotes….
"By placing him [Turing] on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises."
Director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming said the note is a "landmark moment" in history.
He said: "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, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive."
Back in 2018, the BoE asked members of the public to offer their suggestions for scientists who should appear on the notes.
This led to a list of 989 eligible names of people who are real, dead and have contributed to science in the UK.
The Bank received 227,299 nominations for Turing during the six-week period.
Who was on the shortlist for featuring on the £50 note?
Here are some of the other scientists that were shortlisted to feature on the £50 note:
- Stephen Hawking, 1942 – 2018 – The most famous physicist and cosmologist of the modern age, Hawking is arguably best known for his work on black holes and his 1974 discovery that they emit radiation. Dubbed "Hawking radiation", the finding caused controversy as it was widely believed that nothing, not even light, could escape their gravity.
- Alan Turing, 1912-1954 – One of the most influential figures in the development of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, Turing also played a vital part in the development of the Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
- Dorothy Hodgkin, 1910-1994 – Hodgkin confirmed theories on the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12 and discovered the structure of insulin through her advancement of X-ray crystallography – the technique used to determine the three-dimensional structure of molecules.
- Rosalind Franklin, 1920-1958 – The chemist and X-ray crystallographer's work was integral to the discovery of the structure of DNA, and was the first to suggest that it may be helical.
- Magnus Pyke, 1908 – 1992 – The nutritionist was famous for his work promoting the importance of a nutritious diet to the British public and worked to find alternatives to vital foodstuffs during wartime food shortages.
- Marie Stopes, 1880 – 1958 – Although a palaeobotanist – someone who studies plant fossils – by training, Stopes campaigned for women's access to birth control and founded a network of family planning clinics. Although the clinics that bear her name now offer abortions, Stopes was opposed to abortion in her lifetime.
- Charles Babbage, 1791 – 1871 – A mathematician and pioneer of computing. His "Difference Engine" developed in the 1820s was one of the forerunners of the computer.
- Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, 1836 -1917 – The first woman to openly qualify as a doctor in Britain, Garrett Anderson also founded her own medical school. A noted suffragist, she also became the first female mayor and magistrate in Britain.
- Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1806 – 1859 – One of the most successful engineers in British history, his achievements include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Great Western Railway and Great Britain – the first iron-hulled, propeller-driven ship to cross the Atlantic ocean.
Who is on the paper £50 note?
The current £50 note was issued on November 2, 2011 and features Matthew Boulton and James Watt.
The English manufacturer and Scottish engineer joined forces to produce marine and stationary steam engines.
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