Banknote Character Advisory Committee

Our Banknote Character Advisory Committee advises the Governor on the characters that appear on new banknotes.


The committee picks the field from which new banknote characters are chosen. After this, the public is asked to nominate people from this field to appear on the new banknote. The committee, considering the selection principles and input from public focus groups, reduces these nominations to a shortlist. The Governor makes the final choice from this shortlist.

The committee is currently considering the list of eligible names as nominated by the public for a scientist to appear on the new £50 note. A final decision will be announced in Summer 2019.

Members of the Banknote Character Advisory Committee

The Banknote Character Advisory Committee has five core members, three of whom do not work for the Bank of England.

Once the core committee members have chosen a field from which a new banknote character will be selected, three independent members with expertise in the chosen field are be invited to join the committee.

PDFAdvisory Committee Terms of Reference

PDFAdvisory Committee Minutes

Core committee members

Ben Broadbent: Chairman

Ben is the Bank of England’s Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy. He has responsibility for monetary analysis and banknotes.

Sarah John

Sarah is the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier and Director of Notes. She leads the teams responsible for every aspect of banknotes, from design to distribution and destruction.

Professor Sir David Cannadine

David is a British historian and author who specialises in the political, social, and cultural history of modern Britain and its empire, and the study of history over time. He is currently teaching at Princeton University and is also the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s General Editor. He has previously been a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee and chair of the Blue Plaques Panel.

Sandy Nairne

Sandy was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 2002 to early 2015. He was previously Director of Programmes at Tate, and has also worked at the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (now Modern Art Oxford). Sandy has previously worked as a curator and writer. He is Chair of the board of the Clore Leadership Programme, and Chairman of the Fabric Advisory Committee of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Baroness Lola Young

Baroness Young began her career in theatre and television, before becoming a writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster. She was formerly a professor of cultural studies, and Head of Culture at the Greater London Authority. She became an independent member of the House of Lords in 2004. She has sat on the boards of the South Bank Centre, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts and The National Archives and been a trustee of Somerset House and Commissioner for English Heritage.

The four independent members of the committee helping to choose a scientist to appear on the new £50 note are: Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Dr Emily Grossman, Professor Simon Schaffer and Dr Simon Singh.

This page was last updated 21 December 2018
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