Membership of the Banknote Character Advisory Committee

On 18 December 2013, the Bank of England announced a new process for selecting the historic characters that feature on Bank of England banknotes.
Published on 29 January 2015

Through this process, which better incorporates input from the public and external experts, the Bank aims to celebrate achievement and contribution across a wide range of skills and fields, and to depict characters that cumulatively reflect the diverse nature of British society. Today, the Governor has announced the appointment of Sir David Cannadine, Sandy Nairne and Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey as external members of the Banknote Character Advisory Committee that will help decide both the field and characters for future Bank of England notes. This Committee will be chaired by Ben Broadbent and will also include Victoria Cleland.

Over the coming months, the Committee’s first task will be to choose a field to be represented on the next £20 banknote. Following this, in early summer, the public will be invited to nominate people from within this field who, during their lives, helped to shape British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society.1

A further three independent members, with expertise in the specific field chosen for the £20 note, will be invited to join the Committee later this year. Once the public nominations have been received, the full Committee, with input from public focus groups, will draw up a shortlist of characters from which the Governor will make the final choice.

Commenting on the appointments, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said: “I am delighted that Sir David Cannadine, Sandy Nairne and Baroness Lola Young have agreed to be the inaugural members of our new Committee. Through their expertise, they will provide invaluable advice to the Bank. 

With an incredible and diverse range of people having shaped the history of the United Kingdom, the Committee faces a challenging, but exciting task. I look forward to hearing which field the Committee will choose. More importantly, of course, I look forward to the public’s suggestions for the next character.”

Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier and Director Notes said: “The depiction of historical characters is an integral feature of our banknotes, providing an opportunity to celebrate individuals whose accomplishments or contributions have been of lasting benefit to the United Kingdom. It is essential that the choice of characters commands broad public respect and legitimacy. This Committee will help ensure we achieve this.”

Notes to Editors

1. Governor Mark Carney announced the outcome of a review into the process and criteria for selecting characters to appear on its banknotes on 18 December 2013 as set out in a news release.

2. Professor Sir David Cannadine is a British historian and author, specialising 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 Royal Mint Advisory Committee and chair of the Blue Plaques Panel. 

3. Sandy Nairne has been Director of the National Portrait Gallery since 2002; a post he is stepping down in February this year.  He was previously Director of Programmes at Tate, and before that worked at the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (now Modern Art Oxford).  He 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 at St Paul's Cathedral.

4. Baroness Lola Young began her career in theatre and television, before becoming a writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster.  A professor of Cultural Studies she subsequently became 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 is currently a trustee of Somerset House and Commissioner for English Heritage.

5. The Committee will be chaired by Ben Broadbent as Deputy Governor Monetary Policy, with Victoria Cleland as Chief Cashier the other internal member.  Independents will be in the majority at all Committee meetings.

6. The Bank will issue the new £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill in the second half of 2016 and the new £10 featuring Jane Austen around a year later.  Both these banknotes will be printed on polymer; no decision has yet been taken as to whether the next £20 will be printed on polymer.  Further information is in a news release issued on 18 December 2013.

7. The Bank expects to announce the character(s) and unveil the concept design for the next £20 design in spring 2016.  Issuance of the new banknote will be after the Jane Austen £10 has entered circulation.

8. For further enquiries, please contact the Bank’s Press Office on 020 7601 4411.

1 The Bank will not represent living characters on its notes, with the exception of the Monarch. Banknotes are designed to be easy to authenticate and difficult to counterfeit and for this reason the Bank will choose only characters for which it is confident that it can include a recognisable and usable representation within a banknote design. The Bank will seek to avoid individuals who would be unduly divisive.

PDF Press release

Other news