Saturday 10 July 2010 | Banks and Finance feed

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Matthew Boulton and James Watt new faces of £50 note

Matthew Boulton and James Watt, leading figures of the Industrial Revolution, are to be the new faces of the Bank of England's redesigned £50 banknotes.

 
Matthew Boulton and James Watt new faces of £50 note
The proposed design for the new £50 note Photo: BANK OF ENGLAND

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, made the announcement on Friday evening when he opened a new exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: "Matthew Boulton: Selling what all the world desires".

"Just as the Bank of England plays an essential role in the economy as the United Kingdom's central bank, so too did Boulton and Watt's steam engines and their many other innovations as essential factors in the nation's Industrial Revolution," said Mr King.

"So many of the advantages society now enjoys are due in large part to the vital role of engineering and the brilliance and foresight of people such as Boulton and Watt whose development and refinement of steam engines gave an incredible boost to the efficiency of industry."

"The unique and rare opportunity that the Bank has through its banknotes to acknowledge and promote awareness of our nation's heritage of artistic, social and scientific endeavour is an honour for us. The Bank's choice of Boulton and Watt, a reminder of the invaluable contribution from engineering and the entrepreneurial spirit to the advancement of society, I think, well reflects this."

The Boulton and Watt £50 banknote will be launched in around 18 months time.

It is the first time two portraits will appear tofether on the reverse of the note. The current portrait of The Queen, first used in 1990, will be retained on the front.

Boulton and Watt formed a successful partnership in the 18th century, eventually helping turn the steam engine into a commercial success.

 
 
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