The Bank of England unveiled a new 10-pound plastic note featuring British literary great Jane Austen at Winchester Cathedral, where she is buried. The note, which follows the polymer 5 pound, will go into circulation on September 14 and has a portrait of Austen on the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. It is also the first Bank of England note to include a tactile feature to help visually-impaired people. “The new 10-pound note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said today.
The design of the note includes the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Austen’s novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and a portrait of the novelist based on an original sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra. The new note also has the same animal fat base that had triggered protests from Hindu groups in the UK last year. Hindu Council UK held a number of meetings with UK’s central bank to explain that as Hindus see the cow as a symbol of grace and veneration, the use of tallow made from beef fat in the notes went against their beliefs.
The Bank of England had announced that it would not be withdrawing the polymer notes and that new 10-pound notes made of the same material would also go ahead for their launch later this year. However, it would launch a consultation before issuing similar new 20-pound notes. Meanwhile, a limited supply of a new two-pound coin honouring Jane Austen has been put into circulation by the Royal Mint today. The coin will initially only be available in tills at key locations in the Winchester and Basingstoke areas that have connections with Austen, including Winchester Cathedral and the Jane Austen House Museum. It will be circulated more widely across the UK later this year