Bank of England’s £50 note revealed

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing will feature on the new design of the Bank of England’s £50 note.

He is celebrated for his code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.

The £50 note will be the last of the Bank of England collection to switch from paper to polymer when it enters circulation by the end of 2021.

The note was once described as the “currency of corrupt elites” and is the least used in daily transactions.

However, there are still 344 million £50 notes in circulation, with a combined value of £17.2bn, according to the Bank of England’s banknote circulation figures.

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” said Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Why was Turing chosen?

The work of Alan Turing, who was educated in Sherborne, Dorset, helped accelerate Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine.

Less celebrated is the pivotal role he played in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester.

In 2013, he was given a posthumous royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for gross indecency following which he was chemically castrated. He had been arrested after having an affair with a 19-year-old Manchester man.

The Bank said his legacy continued to have an impact on science and society today.

BBC