The New Fiver

Governor Mark Carney has unveiled the design of the new polymer £5 note.
Published on 02 June 2016

Take a closer look at The New Fiver and learn about its security features

The New Fiver

Today, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of the new £5 note, which will be issued on 13 September 2016. The New Fiver is the first Bank of England note to be printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic, and will feature Sir Winston Churchill. 

PDF Opening remarks by Mark Carney at the £5 launch

The New Fiver is cleaner, safer and stronger than paper notes. The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new generation of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit. The note is also resistant to dirt and moisture and so remains in much better condition for longer. The strength of the polymer material means that The New Fiver is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer - around 5 years - even after being folded into wallets and scrunched up in pockets.  

Speaking at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s place of birth, the Governor said: 

“The New Fiver will commemorate the achievements of the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for literature and one of the greatest statesmen of all time – Sir Winston Churchill. As he himself said, ‘a nation that forgets its past has no future’. Our banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory and like Churchill, our new polymer notes will stand the test of time. The New Fiver, the first of the Bank’s polymer notes, is cleaner, safer and stronger. It incorporates advanced security features making the notes even harder to counterfeit. The polymer is also harder wearing, as well as resistant to dirt and moisture, so we expect it to last for at least 2.5 times longer.”

New security features

The New Fiver’s security features include: 

  • A see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait. The border of the window changes from purple to green.
  • The Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back.
  • A hologram which contains the word ‘Five’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
  • A hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted.
  • A green foil hologram of the maze at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s birthplace and ancestral home.
  • Micro-lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are visible under a microscope.
  • The words ‘Bank of England’ printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note.

Celebrating Sir Winston Churchill 

As announced in April 2013, the note will celebrate the achievements of Sir Winston Churchill.  The design includes: 

  • A portrait of Winston Churchill from a photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh on 30 December 1941.
  • A view of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower from the South Bank looking across Westminster Bridge.
  • The image of the Elizabeth Tower with the hands of the Great Clock at 3 o’clock – the approximate time on 13 May 1940 when Sir Winston Churchill declared in his first speech as Prime Minister: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”. This declaration is quoted beneath the portrait.
  • A background image of the Nobel Prize medal which he was awarded in 1953 for literature, together with the wording of the prize citation.

Features for vision impaired people

To help people with visual impairments distinguish between denominations, the notes will still have tiered sizing and include bold numerals and similar colour palettes to the current notes. 
In addition, polymer £10 and £20 notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots, and the £5 note will be distinguishable by the absence of this feature.

Withdrawal of paper £5 notes

The New Fiver will be issued on 13 September. After this date paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses. Paper £5 notes can be spent as usual until May 2017, after which they will cease to be legal tender. Following this, paper £5 notes can still be exchanged at the Bank of England
The new polymer £10 featuring Jane Austen will enter circulation in summer 2017, followed by the J.M.W. Turner £20 note by 2020. 

Further information on The New Fiver

The decision to move to polymer followed an extensive research programme and public consultation. Of the public who responded to the consultation 87% were in favour of the change. 
Further details about The New Fiver.

PDF Press release

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