New £5 note to feature Winston Churchill portrait

Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the back of the new £5 note, replacing social reformer Elizabeth Fry in 2016.

“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,” said Bank of England Governor, Sir Mervyn King.

The portrait of Churchill featured was taken on 30 December 1941 by Yousuf Karsh in Ottawa. Alongside the picture of the former prime minister is a view of Westminster and the newly renamed Elizabeth Tower from the south bank of the Thames looking across Westminster Bridge and an image of the Nobel Prize medal he was awarded in 1953.

The hands of the great clock are set to 3pm, the time of the day on 13 May 1940 when Churchill made his famous “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech to parliament – his first after taking over as prime minister.

How people are picked to go on notes

Winston Churchill is the 15th person – other than the current monarch - to appear on the reverse of Bank of England notes since the practice began in 1970.

The current governor of the Bank makes the final decision, but it considers several candidates “selected because of their indisputable contribution to their particular field of work and about whom there exists sufficient material on which to base a banknote design”.

The Bank takes suggestions from the public about who should be included next, but would not include fictional characters, people who are not reasonably well known or people who the Bank thinks might cause public offence.

Who’s been on our notes

Along with Queen Elizabeth II, here are the other people who have appeared on Bank of England notes since 1970:

Denomination
Person on back of note
Date issued
Date withdrawn
£1
Isaac Newton
09.02.1978
11.03.1988
£5
Duke of Wellington
11.11.1971
29.11.1991
£5
George Stephenson
07.06.1990
21.11.2003
£5
Elizabeth Fry
21.05.2002
Current note
£10
Florence Nightingale
20.02.1975
20.05.1994
£10
Charles Dickens
29.04.1992
31.07.2003
£10
Charles Darwin
07.11.2000
Current note
£20
William Shakespeare
09.07.1970
19.03.1993
£20
Michael Faraday
05.06.1991
28.02.2001
£20
Sir Edward Elgar
22.06.1999
30.06.2010
£20
Adam Smith
13.03.2007
Current note
£50
Sir Christopher Wren
20.03.1981
20.09.1996
£50
Sir John Houblon
20.04.1994
Current note
£50
Matthew Boulton & James Watt
02.11.2011
Current note