The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 24, June 12, 2016, Article 27


Michael Alexander of Coin Update was present for the unveiling of the Bank of England's new polymer Churchill £5 banknote. Here's an excerpt from his report. -Editor


new-churchill-£5 back

On June 2, the Bank of England officially unveiled its first-ever polymer bank note; it is also the first bank note to feature a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, renowned politician, artist, Nobel Prize winner, and Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Second World War. Churchill was credited with bolstering the hopes and spirits of the British people in the face of what seemed a possible victory for Hitler and the Nazis in the initial months of fighting in Europe.

The setting for today’s event was Blenheim Palace, the traditional seat of the Dukes of Marlborough since the 1700’s and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, a descendant of this illustrious family. Blenheim is a spectacular palace that is currently one of Great Britain’s most visited tourist attractions. Still a functioning private residence, Blenheim’s breath-taking grounds are carefully manicured, and the state rooms are as fine as anything seen in the most luxurious and opulent estates.

Invited guests and the media were brought to the Marlborough Room in the Orangery of Blenheim for the ceremony, which was opened by Lord Nicholas Soames, Grandson of Sir Winston. He spoke of the history of Blenheim, the origins of which started with the first Duke of Marlborough, whose allegiance to Queen Anne earned his family a reward for their continued service: the county in which Blenheim is located, along with funds to build a stately home.

Carney-presentation Churchill banknote ceremony

The presentation was then hosted by the current and 9th Duke of Marlborough, who took the opportunity to introduce Governor Mark Carney. Governor Carney joined the Bank of England in July 2013, and opened with comments on the new polymer bank note, which will be introduced into circulation later this year. The governor spoke of the importance of Churchill as a symbol of the nation, commenting that he’d once been duly voted the greatest Briton of all time by public poll.

This was not the first time the Carney had officiated in the unveiling of a new Bank of England note; during his early weeks as governor he announced that 19th-century author Jane Austen would be featured on the upcoming £10 note.

Governor Carney has taken a special interest in Bank of England bank notes. It is said he has spearheaded the transition of the notes from paper to polymer, a move similar to one he made while Governor of the Bank of Canada.

With the unveiling concluded, the assembled guests, family, and the media were shown the Bank of England’s display and user-friendly presentation of the new bank note. This took place adjacent to the Marlborough Room with about a dozen Bank of England employees from various departments holding the new £5 notes in hand, ready to show them off.

young-demonstrator Churchill banknote ceremony

Invited guests weren’t the only ones treated to this special display. Lucky members of the public visiting Blenheim got a chance to comment on the polymer note and take part in demonstrations showing its durability when confronted by liquid or rough handling. Included in the audience of onlookers was the Duke of Marlborough, who enthusiastically posed for photos with visitors and the new note, to the delight of many at Blenheim.

The new note is 15% smaller than the current note in circulation. Representatives also confirmed the £10 Austen note and the Turner £20 note will be issued by 2020 and will be decreased in size to accommodate the new dimension of the £5 Churchill note.

The note will enter circulation on September 13, 2016. The Bank of England has announced that the current “Elizabeth Fry” note will remain in circulation until May 2017 and can be redeemed at Bank of England offices until then. For more information on the new Churchill £5 note, as well Bank of England notes presently in circulation, please visit the Web site of the Bank of England.

To read the complete article, see:
Bank of England Unveils Design for New Churchill £5 Note (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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