Bank of England/Catalogs

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An informational catalog, or several catalogs, about Bank of England.



The Bank of England has the responsibility for designing and issuing banknotes. In the United Kingdom, four denominations of banknotes are used: £5, £10, £20, £50.

On the front of Bank of England issued banknotes is a coloured decorative background on the left, upon which the words "Bank of England" appear along with the words "I Promise To Pay The Bearer On Demand The Sum of Five Pounds" (for example) and the signature of the Chief Cashier. The image of the current monarch is also printed on the front side of the note - Queen Elizabeth II.

On the reverse side of the note, there are images depicting a particular British historical figure:

  • £5 notes depict the Quaker social and penal reformer Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845).
  • £10 notes depict the naturalist and co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin (1809–1882). On the left hand side of the reverse side of the note, there is an image of Darwin's magnifying lens and flora and fauna that Darwin found on his travels on HMS Beagle including the infamous finches.
  • £20 notes depict the philosopher and father of modern economics Adam Smith. On the left-hand side of the reverse side of the note, there is an image of a number of factory workers, to represent the division of labour described in Wealth of Nations.
  • £50 notes depict the first governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Houblon and Houblon's house in Threadneedle Street, which is now the site of the Bank.

Old £20 notes used to contain an image of Sir Edward Elgar and 1990-issued £10 notes contained an image of Florence Nightingale. Others featured on banknotes include William Shakespeare, Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, the 1st Duke of Wellington, George Stephenson, Michael Faraday and Charles Dickens.

The Bank publish a list of other figures who have been suggested by the public for inclusion on banknotes. A full list of these is included on the Catalogs subpage.

List of people used on banknotes

List of people suggested for use on banknotes