The Bank of England has announced that a new Â£50 note will bear the images of coiners Boulton and Watt. It will
be the first time two portraits have appeared together on the back of a Bank of England note.
Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has often voiced his yearning for a "rebalancing" of the economy towards neglected manufacturing, and he will put the nation's money where his mouth is next month when the Bank produces a new Â£50 note celebrating two pioneers of the industrial revolution.
The Bank will evoke the memory of the inventor James Watt and his Birmingham business partner, Matthew Boulton on the new note.
Threadneedle Street announced that the note, replacing one featuring the first governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Houblon, will go into circulation on 2 November. It will be the first to feature two people (in addition to the Queen) and the first to be signed by Chris Salmon, the Bank's new chief cashier.
Boulton, born in 1728, was an entrepreneur who started work in his father's Birmingham factory making buckles for shoes and knee-breeches, but he later built his own showpiece factory on Handsworth Heath.
He later went into partnership with James Watt, who took the Newcomen steam engine, then the latest design, and made a series of crucial improvements, improving its efficiency and making it more commercial.
By 1800, Watt's version was outselling its predecessor, and they were shipping it across the world. Boulton and Watt worked together to pioneer the use of the steam engine in the cotton spinning industry; and Boulton also used Watt's engine to power minting machines, pressing coins at his Soho Mint in Birmingham, to boost the supply provided by the Royal Mint.
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Â£50 reward for industrial revolution pioneers on new bank note
Wayne Homren, Editor
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