Does Margaret Thatcher fit the bill? The hunt for the new face of the £50 note.

In their search to find a suitable candidate to feature on Britain’s new polymer £50 note, the Bank of England has received over 175,000 nominations, including the late Baroness and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Some 800 of the names put forward are actually eligible to become the new face of the £50 note, with the Bank of England requiring the notable person to be real, deceased and have contributed in some way to UK science.

So does Margaret Thatcher fit the bill?


Late Baroness and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Credit


Most famed as Britain’s first female Prime Minister and the UK’s longest-serving leader of the 20th century during her time as Conservative Party leader from 1979 until 1990, what many people may not know is that Margaret Thatcher’s early career was actually in the field of science, as she worked as a research chemist.

In fact, for a period of time she worked for J Lyons, creating emulsifiers for ice-cream and developing the much-loved soft scoop!

However, it was during her later political career that people started to think of Maggie as cold and frosty, as her nickname ‘The Iron Lady’ suggests. Her uncompromising political style made her one of the most controversial political figures in British history.

Considering her degree in chemistry and following her famous work with ice-cream, you can certainly agree that she has contributed to the UK field of science, but would you like to see her on the new polymer £50 note?


Guido Petition’s interpretation of the £50 note featuring Margaret Thatcher. Credit:


The Bank of England has published a list of names nominated in the first week of the selection process, as a preliminary stage of identifying eligible names for consideration.

Initial speculation seems to favour Professor Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace and Rosalind Franklin as suggestions for the new note, however other more unusual names also made the list, including Will Hay (comedy actor/amateur astronomer) and Roger Bannister (first runner to achieve a four-minute mile).

You have up until the 14th of December to continue nominating characters via The Bank of England’s website. We don’t yet know when the chosen notable person will be announced or when the new note will be released, other than it will be after the new £20 polymer note featuring JMW Turner which will be released in 2020.

So would you like to see Margaret Thatcher on the new polymer £50 note?  Change Checkers voted in our poll on Facebook and the results are in:



It’s clear that Maggie isn’t a favourite to feature on the new £50 note, but who from the scientific community would you like to see on the note? Let us know in the comments below.


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  1. Geoff on November 29, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    NO NO NO To Margaret Thatcher on a £50 note. She was a bully and had no interest in the working people of this country. She was only interested in the rich and how she could get them to back her. The North of England got nothing from her. She hated Meseryside, and even London has said no to a statue of her been put up at Westminster.
    The person I would like to see on the note is Tim Berners-Lee. He brought the world together with his invention of the World Wide Web.
    The other would be Alan Turing. It would be an apology by the Goverment to the way he was treated after the war..

  2. Gordon Watson on November 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Margaret Thatcher was by far the best political leader we have had since Churchill she as my vote

  3. Alice G on November 28, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I think Stephen Hawking. He has contributed so much to the developing science community and deserves to be on there.

    • Peter Embling on November 29, 2018 at 10:55 am


  4. Ray on November 28, 2018 at 10:29 am


  5. Ray on November 28, 2018 at 10:25 am

    NO way anyone but Thatcher !!!

  6. Leon shepherd on November 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Ive noticed no one has give a thought to FRANK WITTLE ? & why has it got to be sience ! ‘ they should of put isacc newton on the note ? f,wittle on the coin’ but why do they have to be dead ? and there always from priviledged backgrounds! so these people have a massive advantage ‘ over the average person’so it makes it alot easier, and ive’d noticed’they ie’ priviledged only give themselfs’ownkind credit? put bob geldof on a coin’ it will make a change’ LOL .

  7. Jim on November 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Far too divisive, lots of people loved her but lots loathed her, look at the comments on this blog so far. This is too recent political history and with little or no contribution to real science which is the original requirement.

    • Rachel Hooper on November 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      That’s very true Jim, she certainly was divisive and I think it might be just too controversial to feature her on the note.

    • Jason on November 28, 2018 at 8:10 am

      Thatcher? Really? For what reason? Wouldn’t consider her for a pattern on a loo roll!

  8. Ant on November 26, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Not only would I love to see her on the bank note, I would love to see my – or anybody else’s – comments here!

  9. Ant on November 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    I would love to see her on a bank-note!

    • Rachel Hooper on November 27, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Let’s see if she makes the final cut Ant!

  10. Tom Paterson on November 26, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Anyone but Thatcher!!!

  11. Malcolm Grant on November 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Greatest Prime Minister since Churchill, so would be welcome on the new polymer note.

  12. Caroline Peall on November 26, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Margaret Thatcher :- Absolutely NOT. Never in a million years!!

  13. Les kent on November 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    There must be a lot more deserving people that can and
    would be more deserving to go on the bank note.

  14. Fred on November 26, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Thatcher caused too much division in the UK so she should not be considered.

  15. carla on November 26, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    no i do not think she should be on anything from a picture on 50 pound notes to anything else. what a disgrase to even think of doing this. there are far more deserving people that should be on them. robert hardy deserves more credit for what an incredable man he was. and all he did for charity and television. and many other people, not the torys or any other of them. that brought this country to its knees. and all they think of is putting them on the 50 pounds notes! i dont want any with her face on them. and either would millions of others. they should put the faces of the sholders that fought and gave their live for this country. more deserving than any tory

    • Ant on November 29, 2018 at 12:24 am

      You have to bear in mind that she was the leader of the Conservative government of this country for a considerable time. One of the goals of her government was to improve educational standards. You represent her failure and so I can understand why you don’t like her. It is difficult to determine whether it was her fault, though, or that of the following Labour so-called government.