Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Churchill to feature on new £5 note

The new 5 pound note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, which is due to be issued in 2016

Sir Winston Churchill is to appear on the next £5 note.

The wartime leader will become the first politician of the modern era to feature on a banknote, when it is issued in 2016. Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King made the announcement during an event at Chartwell, Churchill's former home in Kent, attended by members of his family.

The design will feature a renowned portrait of the prime minister in defiant pose, taken by photographer Yousuf Karsh in December 1941. Behind him is a view of the Houses of Parliament, with the hands on Big Ben showing three o'clock.

It reflects the approximate time of a statement to the House of Commons on May 13 1940 when he famously told MPs: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." The quote itself is also shown on the design. A background image shows the Nobel Prize for literature, with citation, awarded in 1953 to Churchill - who apart from being a politician was a prolific historical writer.

Sir Mervyn said: "Our banknotes acknowledge the life and work of great Britons. Sir Winston Churchill was a truly great British leader, orator and writer. Above that, he remains a hero of the entire free world. His energy, courage, eloquence, wit and public service are an inspiration to us all. I am proud to announce that he will appear on our next banknote."

Churchill's image replaces that of Elizabeth Fry, the philanthropist and penal reformer, who appears on current notes first issued in 2002. These will be phased out over two or three years, leaving no notes featuring the face of a famous woman - other than the Queen.

The choice of Churchill reflects the fact that, though a political figure, he is widely revered across the spectrum as the man who saved Britain in its darkest hour from the fearful advance of Nazism across Europe.

Another war hero, the Duke of Wellington, is the only other prime minister to have featured on a banknote image - the old £5 phased out in the 1990s.

Sir Mervyn, due to retire later this year, suggested the new note could become known as a "Winston" - and that the spirit of Churchill's inspirational "blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech was just as important during today's times of economic difficulty as during the War.

The old note featuring Elizabeth Fry will begin to be phased out after the introduction of the new Churchill note in 2016.

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