Bank of England Unveils New Alan Turing £50 Note

The new banknote, featuring the pioneering mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing, will enter circulation on 23 June.

The Bank of England has revealed the final design of the new £50 polymer banknote featuring mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing.

Turing will appear as the main image on the banknote, with actor and comedian Stephen Fry and science author Simon Singh to reflect on it today.

The £50 note is the last UK banknote to transition from paper to polymer, following the minting of the Churchill £5, Austen £10 and Turner £20.

Turing is best known for his work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, which accelerated Allied efforts to crack German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine and is credited with shortening the war and saving lives. He also played a pivotal role in the development of early computers at the National Physical Laboratory and the University of Manchester.

Despite his accomplishments, Turing was not celebrated during his lifetime. He was convicted of “gross indecency” in 1952 after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a man. Two years later, at 41, he committed suicide.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement: “There’s something of the character of a nation in its money, and we are right to consider and celebrate the people on our banknotes.”

“[Turing] was also gay, and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises,” Bailey added.

The new note will go into circulation on 23 June, 99 years to the day after Turing’s birth. The public can continue to use £50 notes for now; notice will be given six months ahead of the date when the paper £50 is withdrawn.

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