New £20 note set for February 2020 with £50 note to follow



The new £20 note is ready for release on 20 February 2020 with a new £50 note to follow, according to the Bank of England (BoE).


The polymer £20 note contains sophisticated security features which according to the BoE, make it the most secure banknote yet. For the first time, the note incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

Having successfully moved to polymer with the £5 and £10 note, the Turner £20 note will be issued on polymer in 2020 and the new £50 note will follow this.


The £50 note which is aimed to be released by the end of 2021 will be the final note in the latest polymer series. The Governor revealed the imagery depicting Alan Turing and his work that will be used for the reverse of the £50 note.


In October, Sarah John, the Bank’s Chief Cashier, said: “I’m very excited to be starting the process of introducing a new £50 note. At the Bank, we are committed to providing the public with high quality notes they can use with confidence.  Moving the £50 note onto polymer is an important next step to ensure that we can continue to do that.”


The BoE say the polymer notes are cleaner, safer and stronger. They are harder to counterfeit and increase the quality of notes in circulation. And, because they last around 2.5 times longer than paper notes, they are also more environmentally friendly.

Polymer notes last longer than paper notes and they stay in better condition during day-to-day use. This note, like the polymer £10, will contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.


The public can continue to spend paper £20 notes as usual and these will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and the public. Notice will be given six months ahead of legal tender status of the paper £20 being withdrawn.

So what should cabbies be looking for when scrutinising the new note?


Features on the new £20 note include:

  • A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The foil is silver on the back. The shape of the large window is based on the shape of the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

  • A smaller see-through window in the bottom corner of the note, inspired by Tintern Abbey.

  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted c. 1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain.

  • One of Turner’s most eminent paintings The Fighting Temeraire; a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

  • A metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.

  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.

  • A silver foil patch with a 3D image of the coronation crown. A purple foil patch containing the letter ‘T’ and based on the staircase at the Tate Britain.

  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.

  • Turner’s signature from his Will, the document with which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.

Full security details of the new £50 note will be released closer to its launch date.


Image credits: Bank of England

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