Not all Freedom of Information requests are successful, but reporters have managed to get some more information on the thinking behind some recent Bank of England banknote portrait changes. Dick Hanscom forwarded this article from the Daily Mail.
Bank of England bosses thought twice about putting Sir Winston Churchill on the new £5 note – because they didn’t want to upset the Germans.
Officials warned Sir Mervyn King, then Governor of the Bank of England, that Churchill’s wartime record might make him highly controversial, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show.
The same officials also insisted on carrying out a background check on Jane Austen, the prim spinster author of Pride And Prejudice who will appear on the £10 note from 2017, to reassure themselves there were ‘no issues in her private life’.
Previously classified documents, obtained under freedom of information laws, shed light on the hitherto secret process of how the Bank of England decides which historic figures are honoured.
In a memo dated April 11, 2012, Sir Mervyn was advised Churchill will be a popular choice because of his ‘broad name recognition’ and the public’s ‘very affectionate view’ of him as a wartime leader. But officials also warned him that ‘the recentness of World War II is a living memory for many here and on the Continent’.
The rest of the comments, which relate to Britain’s relationship with its former wartime enemies, have been redacted from the files.
Maureen Stiller, of the Jane Austen Society, said: ‘I love the fact they went to the trouble of checking her private life. But there is absolutely no controversy there.’
Churchill will appear on the £5 note from 2016. A Bank spokesman said: ‘We have taken great care to ensure men and women chosen are admired by the British public.’
To read the complete article, see:
Bank nearly banned new £5 note with Churchill on it in case it upset the Germans...and officials worried about Jane Austen 'private life'
Wayne Homren, Editor
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