Winston Churchill: 'We will spy me on the banknotes'

The former prime minister, hailed as one of the UK's greatest, is to appear on a newly commissioned five-pound banknote in the UK by 2016. Britain's favourite bulldog will finally be immortalised.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

You know you’ve accomplished something if your face appears on the national currency. On the latest planned note, Churchill, deified by the history books for being British PM when Nazi Germany was defeated, will peer up out of our wallets for the next few decades at least.

The note will enter circulation in 2016, featuring a print of his characteristic bulldog frown against a backdrop of Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. The quote beneath him will read: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’Also behind Churchill is an image of his Nobel Prize for Literature of 1953. 

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King announced the new banknote at Churchill’s old house, Chartwell. He said: ‘Our banknotes acknowledge the life and work of great Britons. Sir Winston Churchill was a truly great British leader, orator and writer.’

Sir Winston dies aged 90 back in 1965 (and had a funeral similar to Margaret Thatcher’s), and his image will replace Elizabeth Fry, the notable social reformer. She has been on the note since 2002. Other  great characters to have appeared on the notes include the Duke of Wellington and George Stephenson, the railway guru.

Quoth King: ‘It seems entirely appropriate to put Sir Winston on what is probably our most popular note. Perhaps the note itself will become known as a Winston.’ 

Perhaps the most surprising part of the whole thing is that he hasn't appeared on one before...

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