New Alan Turing £50 note enters circulation

·1-min read
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey holds the new £50 note (REUTERS)
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey holds the new £50 note (REUTERS)

A new £50 banknote featuring the mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing enters circulation in the UK on Wednesday, three months after the Bank of England first unveiled the design.

Turing is best known for designing machines to decrypt coded messages during World War Two, and before the war his work laid the theoretical foundation for modern computer science. Later he made discoveries in developmental biology.

"Placing him on this new banknote is a recognition of his contributions to our society, and a celebration of his remarkable life," BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said.

Turing was gay at a time when sex between men was illegal in Britain. He received a criminal conviction as a result in 1952, lost his security clearance, and died of cyanide poisoning less than two years later in what coroners ruled was suicide.

Britain's government issued a posthumous pardon in 2013 and Bailey said Turing had been treated appallingly while alive.


Britain's GCHQ spy agency, for whose predecessor Turing worked in World War Two, unveiled an artwork in his honour on Wednesday.

The new £50 banknote completes the BoE's transition away from paper banknotes to those made out of a more durable polymer or plastic.

Existing paper 50 pound banknotes will circulate alongside the new polymer ones until the end of September 2022.

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