The new £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill is going to be revealed by the Bank of England on Thursday at Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of the former British Prime Minister.
The new note, around 15 percent smaller than the paper ones currently in circulation, is printed on a thin and flexible plastic polymer – making it much more durable and near impossible to rip.
The Bank of England says: “Polymer banknotes are cleaner, more secure, and more durable than paper banknotes. They will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and increase the quality of banknotes in circulation.”
There will be around 440 million of the new five pound notes from autumn – they will be printed at the Bank’s print works in Essex.
The BoE says that £10 and £20 banknotes will also be printed on polymer, with the new £10 note to be issued in 2017 and the £20 note by 2020.
The £10 polymer banknotes will be printed with a picture of Jane Austen – an English novelist in the 19th century well-known for her highly praised novels, such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
On 22 April 2016 the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, announced that the artist J.M.W. Turner will appear on the next £20 note. The selection of Turner is the first time the Bank of England has used the new character selection process announced in December 2013.
The first patent arising from the development of polymer banknotes was filed in 1973. It was developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia amid a rise in forgeries of the Australian $10 note found in circulation.
Several countries have converted fully to polymer banknotes, including: Australia, Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania and Vietnam.
A decision on whether to print the £50 note on polymer will be made by the UK central bank ‘in due course’.