In 2019, The Bank of England revealed Alan Turing as the new face of the £50 banknote.

In their search to find an eminent British scientist to feature on the £50 note, a total of 227,299 nominations were sent to The Bank of England. 989 eligible characters were narrowed down to a shortlist of just 12 before Turing was finally selected.

Change Checker is so excited to reveal that today the design of this BRAND NEW £50 note has been officially confirmed by The Bank of England.

Source: Bank of England.

In keeping with Turing’s code-breaking legacy, this brand new £50 has been declared as the most secure yet.

What features on the new £50 note?

UK £50 Banknote. Source: The Bank of England.

This brand new banknote is FULL of exciting features. Including:

  • A photo of Turing from 1951 which is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection
  • A table and mathematical formulae from Turing’s 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem”
  • A design of Turing’s trial model of his famous Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine
  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages
  • A quote from Turing, from an interview in The Times newspaper (June 1949): “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be”
  • His signature from the visitor’s book at Max Newman’s House in 1947 which is on display at Bletchley Park
  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code.

In addition to these amazing design features, there are of course a series of security features, similar to those we’ve seen on our £5, £10, and £20 polymer notes, including holograms and see-through windows.

GCHQ Collaboration

 In recognition of Turing’s code-breaking expertise, the Bank of England have collaborated with GCHQ on the intelligence and cyber agency’s toughest puzzle ever – based on the Turing £50 bank note design.

GCHQ’s Turing Challenge is a set of 12 puzzles that have been put together by intelligence staff at GCHQ, where problem solving and a diverse mix of minds are at the heart of its work to help protect the UK from increasingly complex threats

Who was Alan Turing and why is he being featured on a £50 note?

Alan Turing Aged 16 – Credit: TuringArchive.org

Alan Turing was most famously known for accelerating Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine.

His work is said to have been key to shortening World War Two and saving millions of lives.

In addition to his work during World War Two, Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.

In 2013, he was given a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for gross indecency. 

Speaking of the new note, Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, said: “Turing was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises.”

Polymer Notes

This brand new £50 note is the last in the Bank of England’s collection to switch from paper to polymer, following the popularity of the polymer £20, £10 and £5 notes.

The banknote will enter circulation on 23 June, which would have been the mathematician’s birthday.

Alan Turing £50 note voted as Change Checker’s favourite polymer note!

As the brand new £50 note is the last in the Bank of England’s collection to switch from paper to polymer, we asked you to vote for your favourite polymer note.

The results are in!

The Alan Turing £50 has been revealed as Change Checkers’ favourite polymer banknote, taking over 40% of the votes!

We’re certain collectors will be eager to add this banknote to their collections when it’s released later in the year. Will you? Let us know in the comments below!


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Basingstoke 

  • NatWest, 3 London Street, Old Market Square, Basingstoke, RG21 7NS

Bath

  • HSBC, 41 Southgate, Bath, BA1 1TN
  • NatWest, 8-9 Quiet Street, Bath, BA1 2JN

Birmingham 

  • HSBC, 130 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4JU 
  • Lloyds Bank, 36-38 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4LP 
  • NatWest, 144 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4NY 
  • Santander, Unit 6, Caxton Gate, Corporation Street, Birmingham, B2 4LP 
  • TSB, 134 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4NS 
  • Virgin Money, Temple Point, 1 Temple Row, Birmingham, B1 5YB

Bradford 

  • Santander, 9 Nelson Street, Bradford, BD1 5AN 

Bristol

  • Eurochange, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, BS34 5QT

Cwmbran

  • NM Money, 15 South Walk, Cwmbran, NP44 1PU

Edinburgh

  • TSB, 28 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2DS 

Leeds 

  • HSBC, 33 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 1LD 
  • Santander, PR Work Café, 10-12 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5HD 
  • Yorkshire Bank, 94-96 Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NP

Leicester 

  • Santander, Carlton Park, King Edward Avenue, Narborough, Leicester, LE19 0AL 

Liverpool 

  • Santander, 45 Lord Street, Liverpool, L2 6PB 
  • TSB, 81-83 Lord Street, Liverpool, L2 6PG

London 

  • Barclays, 2 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5RB 
  • Barry’s Food & Wine, 149 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6PJ
  • HSBC, 165 Fleet Street, London, EC4A 2DY 
  • Halifax, 118-132 New Oxford Street, London, WC1A 1HL 
  • NatWest, 1 Princes Street, London, EC2R 8BP 
  • NatWest, 34 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8NL 
  • NatWest, 10 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TJ 
  • Post Office, 52 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NN 
  • Post Office, 39-41 Farringdon Road, London, EC1M 3JB 
  • Post Office, 11 White Kennet Street, Houndsditch, London, E1 7BS 
  • Post Office, 19a Borough High Street, London, SE1 9SF 
  • Post Office, 125-131 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7HJ 
  • Santander, 48-54 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6EJ 
  • Santander, 164-167 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7JE 
  • Santander, 2 Triton Square, Regents Place, London, NW1 3AN 
  • The Cooperative Food, 185 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9NP 
  • TSB, 55 Bow Bells House, Cheapside, London, EC2V 6AT 
  • Virgin Money, 154-158 Kensington High Street, London, W8 7RL

Manchester

  • Lloyds Bank, 42-46 Market Street, Manchester, M1 1PW 
  • NatWest, 1 Hardman Blvd, Manchester, M3 3AQ 
  • TSB, 21 Market Street, Manchester, M1 1WR 

Margate 

  • Santander, 110-112 High Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1JR 

Milton Keynes 

  • Santander, 201 Grafton Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 1AN

Newcastle 

  • Santander, 112-118 Northumberland Street, Newcastle, NE1 7DG 

Salford

  • Barclays, Unit 2 Blue, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2AD 
  • Lowry Outlet Mall, The Lowry Designer Outlet, Salford Quays, M50 3AH

Sheffield 

  • Post Office, 12 Ellesemere Road, Sheffield, S4 7JB 
  • Yorkshire Bank, Fargate, Sheffield, S1 1LL

Swindon 

  • Nationwide, Nationwide House, Pipers Way, Swindon, SN3 1TA 

Wales 

  • Post Office, 56-58 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash, Mid Glamorgan, CF45 3HB 
  • Santander, 5-7 Queen Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 2AF

Do you remember how strange it felt to hold your first polymer £5 note when they were released back in 2016?

Billed as the most durable banknotes yet, the new polymer notes replaced the old paper versions with a thin and flexible plastic material which was said to be cleaner, safer and stronger.

And whilst it’s claimed they should last 2.5 times the lifespan of paper notes, it seems they might not be as durable as once thought…

It’s now been four years since the £5 notes were released, three years since the £10 notes were released and we’re just over a month away from the release of the new polymer £20 note.

Whilst we’re all really excited for the upcoming release of the new £20 note featuring JMW Turner, the question remains as to how durable this note will really be.

50 million damaged polymer banknotes replaced

Recent figures suggest that almost 50 million polymer £5 and £10 notes have been forced to be replaced due to the wear and tear sustained since they were released into circulation.

The Bank of England have said that the damage was mainly caused by “folds, tears, holes and foil wear”.

Figures from the Press Association news agency, say that roughly 20 million polymer £5 notes and around 26 million £10 notes have been swapped so far due to damage.

However, the Bank has never said the new notes are indestructible, instead claiming that they should last 2.5 times longer than paper notes, which were lasting an average of just two years in circulation.

The number of polymer banknotes being replaced only represents a small percentage of the total number which are circulating and the Bank suggests that this is in line with their expectations.

“While we expect the polymer notes to have a longer life, it is too early in the note’s lifecycle to yet understand the rate of replacement of polymer notes,” they said.

“The use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets, and can also survive a spin in the washing machine.”

In 2015, 21,835 paper banknotes were replaced due to damage from being torn, washed, contaminated, damaged and even chewed and eaten!

The new polymer material is resistant to dirt and moisture which means they will stay in a better condition for longer.

Plus, when a polymer note reaches the end of its life, it will be recycled, meaning the new notes are more environmentally friendly.

New polymer notes to be released

The new £20 note is due to enter circulation on 20 February 2020 and initially the note will be in circulation alongside the existing paper £20 notes.

2020 polymer £20 note. Credit: Bank of England

These will eventually be phased out as we have seen with the paper £5 and £10 notes in the past years.

We are also expecting the new £50 polymer banknote featuring mathematician and second world war codebreaker Alan Turing in 2021.

Are you looking forward to seeing the new polymer notes, and have you experienced any damage to your £5 and £10 polymer notes? Let us know in the comments below!


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