Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pound sterling banknotes are issued by:
- the Bank of England (legal tender in England and Wales, but generally accepted throughout the UK);
- the Bank of Scotland (recognised currency in Scotland, and generally accepted throughout the UK);
- the Royal Bank of Scotland (recognised currency in Scotland, and generally accepted throughout the UK);
- the Clydesdale Bank (recognised currency in Scotland, and generally accepted throughout the UK);
- the Bank of Ireland, First Trust Bank, Northern Bank and Ulster Bank (accepted in Scotland, although rarely seen outside Northern Ireland).
Sterling banknotes are also issued by the following British dependencies outside the UK:
Bank of England notes are the only banknotes that are legal tender in England and Wales. Scottish, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Manx banknotes are not legal tender in England and Wales. However, they are not illegal under English law and creditors and traders may accept them if they so choose.
No banknotes are legal tender in Scotland (not even Scottish notes, which are 'promissory notes' - essentially cheques made out from the bank to 'the bearer', as the wording on each note says).
In contrast the coins from British dependancies like Jersey and the Isle of Man, while usually similar and sometimes found in UK change, are neither legal tender nor acceptable to UK traders and banks.
Bank of England notes
The bank issued its first banknotes in 1694, although until 1745 they were written for irregular amounts, rather than pre-defined multiples of a pound. It tended to be times of war, which put inflationary pressure on the British economy which led to greater note issue. In 1759 during the Seven Years' War, when the lowest value note issued by the Bank was £20, a £10 note was issued for the first time. In 1793, during the war with revolutionary France, the Bank's issued the first £5 note. Four years later, £1 and £2 notes appeared, although not on a permanent basis. Notes did not become entirely machine-printed and payable to the bearer until 1855.
At the start of World War I, the government issued £1 and 10-shilling Treasury notes to supplant the sovereign and half-sovereign gold coins. The first coloured banknotes were issued in 1928, and were also the first notes to be printed on both sides. World War II saw a reversal in the trend of warfare creating more notes when, in order to combat forgery, higher denomination notes (at the time as high as £1,000) were removed from circulation.
As of November 2003 the Bank of England banknotes in circulation, known as Series E, do not exceed £50. Higher notes are used within the banks, particularly those of £100 notes to maintain parity with issued Scottish and Northern Irish notes The notes are as follows:
- 5 pound note with Elizabeth Fry, showing a meeting of people possibly discussing prisoners' rights.
- 10 pound note with Charles Darwin, a hummingbird and the HMS Beagle.
- 20 pound note with Sir Edward Elgar, with a view of the west face of Worcester Cathedral.
- 50 pound note with John Houblon
As of 2004, they are signed by the Chief Cashier, Andrew Bailey .
All the notes issued since Series C in 1960 also depict Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in full view facing left and as a watermark, hidden, facing right; recent issues have the EURion constellation around.
Bank of Scotland notes
- 5 pound note featuring a vignette of oil and energy
- 10 pound note featuring a vignette of distilling and brewing
- 20 pound note featuring a vignette of education and research
- 50 pound note featuring a vignette of arts and culture
- 100 pound note featuring a vignette of leisure and tourism
Royal Bank of Scotland notes
in circulation are:
- 1 pound note featuring Edinburgh Castle
- 5 pound note featuring Culzean Castle
- 10 pound note featuring Glamis Castle
- 20 pound note featuring Brodick Castle
- 100 pound note featuring Balmoral Castle
Clydesdale Bank notes
- 5 pound note featuring Robert Burns on the obverse and a vignette of a field mouse from Burns' "To a Mouse" on the reverse
- 10 pound note featuring Mary Slessor on the front and a vignette of a map of Calabar and African missionary scenes on the back
- 20 pound note featuring Robert the Bruce on the front and a vignette of the Bruce on horseback with the Monymusk Reliquary against a background of Stirling Castle on the back
- 50 pound note featuring Adam Smith on the front and a vignette of industry tools against a background of sailing ships on the back
- 100 pound note featuring Lord Kelvin on the front and a vignette of Glasgow University on the back
Bank of Ireland notes
All Bank of Ireland notes feature Queen's University on the obverse. The principle difference between the denominations is their colour and size.
First Trust Bank notes
First Trust Bank's current notes depict generic people of Northern Ireland on the front, alternately male and female, but with a pair of older people on the £100. The obverse generally features designs associated with the Spanish Armada, or coastal features.
- 5 pound note featuring Dunluce Castle on the obverse
- 10 pound note featuring the Girona (galeass ) on the obverse
- 20 pound note featuring the chimney at Lagada Point on the obverse
- 50 pound note featuring a commemorative medal on the obverse
- 100 pound note featuring the Armada on the obverse
Northern Bank notes
- 5 pound polymer note featuring the U.S. space shuttle
- 10 pound note featuring J.B. Dunlop on the front and the portico of Belfast's city hall on the back
- 20 pound note featuring Harry Ferguson on the front and the portico of Belfast City Hall on the back
- 50 pound note featuring Sir S.C. Davidson on the front and the portico of Belfast City Hall on the back
- 100 pound note featuring Sir James Martin on the front and the portico of Belfast City Hall on the back
Following the theft of £22 million from its money handling centre in Belfast on 22 December 2004, allegedly by the Provisional IRA, Northern Bank announced on 7 January 2005 that all its notes were to be recalled and reissued in different colours and styles, and using the bank's new logo. The reissue began on 14 March 2005. See Northern Bank robbery.
Ulster Bank notes
Ulster Bank's current notes all share a rather plain design of a view of Belfast harbour flanked by landscape views; the design of the reverse is dominated by the bank's coats-of-arms. The principle difference between the denominations is their colour and size.
States of Jersey notes
The Treasurer of the States of Jersey, Channel Islands, holds £1.10 in Bank of England notes for each £1 issued, making the Jersey Pound a very strong currency. The current notes depict Queen Elizabeth II on the front and various landmarks of Jersey or incidents in Jersey history on the reverse. The watermark is a Jersey cow
- 1 pound note, green, St. Helier Parish Church (In 2004, a special edition £1 note is in general circulation alongside the St. Helier Parish Church note; this commemorative note marks the 800th anniversary of the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204 and the design consequently includes Mont Orgueil Castle and other historic symbols)
- 5 pound note, purple, La Corbière lighthouse
- 10 pound note, red, The Death of Major Pierson, Battle of Jersey, 1781
- 20 pound note, blue, St. Ouen 's manor
- 50 pound note, brown, Government House
States of Guernsey notes
Main article: Guernsey Pound
The Guernsey Pound is legal tender only in Guernsey, but also circulates freely in Jersey. You can also exchange it in other places using banks and bureaux de change. In addition to coins, the following banknotes are also used
- 1 pound note, green, Daniel De Lisle Brock, Bailiff of Guernsey 1762 - 1842 and Royal Court, St Peter Port 1840 on front and the Market, St Peter Port on back
- 5 pound note, pink, Queen Elizabeth II and the Town Church, St Peter Port on front, and Fort Grey and Hanois Lighthouse 1862 on the back
- 10 pound note, blue/orange, Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth College, St Peter Port on the front and Saumarez Park, Les Niaux Watermill, Le Trepid Dolmen on the back
- 20 pound note, pink, Queen Elizabeth II and St James Concert Hall, St Peter Port on the front and Vale Castle and St Sampson's Church on the back
The monarch on bank notes
Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to have her face on UK banknotes. Prior to the issue of its Series C banknotes in 1960, Bank of England banknotes did not depict the monarch. Even today, notes issued by the other note issuing banks do not depict the monarch.
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