New £50 banknote set for 2021 release

Updated: Jan 2


Image credit: The Governor and Company of the Bank of England 2019

The new £50 note is set to be released in 2021 according to banking officials.


The scientist Alan Turing will feature on the new Bank of England note after being chosen using a character selection process.

Alan Turing is best known for his work devising code-breaking machines during WWII, Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers first at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester. He also set the foundations for work on artificial intelligence by considering the question of whether machines could think.


According to Bank of England (BOE) sources the public will still be able to use the current £50 note until it's withdrawn from circulation. The BOE will announce the withdrawal date after they have issued the new £50 note and will give at least three months’ notice of this withdrawal date.

The new £50 note will celebrate Alan Turing and his work with computers. As shown in the concept image, the design on the reverse of the note will feature:

  • A photo of Turing taken in 1951 by Elliott & Fry which is part of the Photographs Collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

  • A table and mathematical formulae from Turing’s seminal 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem” Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society.

  • The Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) Pilot Machine which was developed at the National Physical Laboratory as the trial model of Turing’s pioneering ACE design. The ACE was one of the first electronic stored-program digital computers.

  • Technical drawings for the British Bombe, the machine specified by Turing and one of the primary tools used to break Enigma-enciphered messages during WWII.

  • A quote from Alan Turing, given in an interview to The Times newspaper on 11 June 1949: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

  • Turing’s signature from the visitor’s book at Bletchley Park in 1947, where he worked during WWII.

  • Ticker tape depicting Alan Turing’s birth date (23 June 1912) in binary code. The concept of a machine fed by binary tape featured in the Turing’s 1936 paper.

Image credit: The Governor and Company of the Bank of England

The full note design including all the security features will be unveiled closer to it entering circulation.

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