Everything you need to know about the new plastic tenner

On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of the new £10 note featuring the world-renowned author. The note is printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England banknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users.

Jane Austen died on 18 July, 1817 in Winchester and is buried in the north aisle of the Cathedral. According to a Winchester Cathedral statement, the new note “will recognise her universal appeal and enduring contribution to English literature”.

“There can be no better place to unveil the new £10 banknote, featuring Jane Austen, and there can be no better time than today, the 200th anniversary of her death,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said at the launch.

There are currently no women on the back of English banknotes, something that caused some controversy when Winston Churchill was announced as the featured figure on the new fiver.

The new note will enter circulation on Thursday September 14.

Production of the new £10 polymer note began last August and the Bank has already printed more than 275 million notes, but they’re not quite ready to launch yet.

The new note will be smaller than the current one – but larger than the new fiver. The size ratios will be the same as the ones between the old paper fiver and paper tenner.

It will be made of the same materials as the new five pound note too, which means it will also have traces of animal fat in it.

The Bank of England is currently looking into ways to make its new notes tallow-free. Saying it will “work closely with banknote polymer suppliers to determine what alternatives might be available”.

However, as hundreds of millions of them have already been printed, they will therefore launch with tallow traces in them.

Banknote equipment manufactures have started to work adapting machines to fit the new tenner, and firms have started to place orders for key components, such as new ATM parts to accommodate the revised sized note.

As the new tenner heads for circulation this September plans for a new plastic £20 note is expected in 2020.

Other design features on the reverse of the Jane Austen note will include:

  • The quote – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI).
  • Portrait of Jane Austen. Commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) in 1870, adapted from an original sketch of Jane Austen drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen.
  • An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her”– from a drawing by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988).
  • The image of Godmersham Park. Godmersham was home of Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother. Jane Austen visited the house often and it is believed that it was the inspiration for a number of her novels.
  • Jane Austen’s writing table – the central design in the background is inspired by the 12 sided writing table, and writing quills, used by Jane Austen at Chawton Cottage.

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