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Home > Banknotes > £50 Note - Design Features

£50 Note - Design Features

Security Features  |  Design Features

£50 Front£50 Back

The £50 note, with the portraits of Matthew Boulton and James Watt on the back, is the highest denomination in value and largest in size (approx. 156mm x 85mm).

Denomination numeral - there is a large number 50 and £ symbol in the top left corner on the front of the note to assist easy recognition of its value; this negates the need for a specific symbol for the partially sighted. There is also a slightly smaller number 50 in the top and bottom right corners.

Unique numbering - a unique number is printed horizontally and vertically on the back of the £50 note. The horizontal number is in the bottom right corner and consists of multi-coloured letters and numbers, increasing in height from left to right. The vertical number runs down the left side and has letters and numbers that are the same height and colour.

Copyright symbols - the international copyright symbol is included on the front and back of the £50 note. This can be found to the left of the motion thread on the front of the note and on the back under the words 'James Watt 1736 - 1819'.

Historical characters -
Matthew Boulton (1728-1809)
Industrialist and Entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, born in Birmingham, was a leading entrepreneur of the Industrial Revolution. He became renowned in two main fields of activity: the development, production and sale of steam engines and the minting of high quality coins.

James Watt (1736-1819)
Engineer and Scientist James Watt, born in Greenock, Scotland, was the great improver of the steam engine. His work reduced the steam wastage inherent in earlier designs and delivered considerable efficiencies. Watt also introduced the term 'horsepower' and the metric unit of power is named after him.

In 1775 Boulton and Watt entered a partnership to develop and market steam engines. Initially these were for use in the mining and textile industries before they extended the innovation to benefit a wider range of industries in the UK and worldwide. Boulton and Watt were members of the Lunar Society, which helped to foster links between philosophy, arts, science and commerce.

Key Resources

"take a closer look" Booklet - English (7.4MB)
An easy to follow guide about the security features on all current banknotes.

"take a closer look" Booklet - Cymraeg (5.9MB)
An easy to follow guide about the security features on all current banknotes.