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5 Pounds Sterling 1953, Kingdom of Great Britain

in Banknotes Book Number: SC913a
Years of issue: 01.10.1953
Edition: --
Signatures: General manager: Mr. J.A. Morrison
Serie: Scotland
Specimen of: 17.07.1950
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 182 x 104
Printer: Waterlow and Sons Limited, London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

5 Pounds Sterling 1953




5 Pounds Sterling 1953

I received a book, from Glasgow, about the bank "The Union Bank of Scotland Limited". The book was printed in limited edition, commissioned by the bank's board, by the private publishing house in Glasgow, in 1947. All the stuff listed materials were taken from it.

coat coat coatOn left side is the coat of arms of "The Union Bank of Scotland Limited".

The coat of arms proper is contained in the four quarters of a shield flanked by two supporters. All quarters of the shield represent the various financial institutions, at different times, were part of the "The Union Bank of Scotland" or its former predecessors.

The supporters are:

a black wild boar - taken from the arms of George Moore Nesbitt of Cairnhill, the first champion of the Union Bank of Scotland, while the Scottish black-faced ram alludes to the Scottish agricultural industry, which has always been one of the foundations of economic activity in the region.

The crest is a three masted ship in full sail (which is on right side of banknote), which relates to the Ship Bank, but also to the wider trading enterprise behind the Scottish shipping and shipbuilding industries.

The motto, "A Shield and Stay" comes from the introduction to the fourth canto of Sir Walter Scott's Marmion in which Scott described Sir William Forbes as "The widows' shield, the orphans' stay". This epitaph was incorporated by Sir Henry Raeburn into his portrait of Forbes, which hangs in Bank's Board Room.

coat coatFirst quarter: Relates to "The Glasgow Union Banking Company" ("Glasgow bank") (1809-1843) and is essentially the arms of the City of Glasgow, with some minor variations.

On a field or background, one half gold and the upper half of blue and silver wavy lines, are displayed the oak tree, salmon, bird and ring of the Glasgow City arms.

St.Mungo (as crest on Glasgow City coat) is patron saint of Glasgow, the original home of this bank. This emblem is very similar to that of Glasgow city's coat of arms. It represents the 4 miracles of Mungo, the bird, the tree, the ring, and the fish.

*The Bird (Martin) - St.Mungo restored life to the house martin of Saint Serf, which had been killed by some of his fellow classmates, hoping to blame him for its death.

*The Tree (oak) - Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in Saint Serf's monastery. He fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking branches from a tree, he restarted the fire.

*The Fish (salmon) and the ring - refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name. (This story may be confused with an almost identical one concerning King Maelgwn of Gwynedd and Saint Asaph.)

coatSecond quarter: Relates to "The Banking Company in Aberdeen" (1767-1849). Features the three towers of the City of Aberdeen, on a red field, and a silver chevron with the blue star or mullet of Innes and the two green gryphon heads of Brebner. Alexander Innes of Breda and Cowie, and William Brebner of Learney were two of the largest original subscribers to the Aberdeen Company, and both of them men whose families figure largely in the development of their City.

coat coatThird quarter: Relates to the Edinburgh firm of "Sir William Forbes, James Hunter & Co." (1773-1838), the greatest of the old Scottish private banks.

Three silver bears heads, muzzled in red, are displayed in V formation on a field of azure blue. The three heads are separated by a silver chevron, bearing a red heart flanked by two red hunting horns.

coatFourth quarter is a composite design.

The lower two-thirds contains a red stag's head on a silver ground with a blue arrowhead resting point-down between the antlers, all surrounded by a wavy border on a red field. This refers to the firm of "John Coutts & Co." (1763-1838), the predecessors of "Sir William Forbes, James Hunter & Co.".

The upper-third portion consist of a green ground containing a gold thistle flanked by two gold mill rinds. These devices allude respectively to the "Thistle Bank" (1761-1836) and, by oblique reference to the mills of Paisley, to "The Paisley Union Bank" (1788-1888).

coat coatOn right side is flying, under full sail, brigantine, which relates to "The Ship Bank" (1749-1836), which was a household name in XVIII century Glasgow and the first successful Bank to be established outside of Edinburgh. Also it alludes to the wider trading enterprise behind the Scottish shipping and shipbuilding industries.

The same ship is presented as crest on big coat of arms of "The Union Bank of Scotland".

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in words centered.


5 Pounds Sterling 1953

Introduced in 1940, the design of the bank sends to the origins of the west of Scotland.

Tableau of industrial development in Scotland. It is a powerful scene shows the traditional heavy industry of Clydeside (Glasgow county) - shipbuilding, steel production and energy.

British Shipbuilding is diverse and making high quality products. With stocks of British shipyards go tankers, passenger liners, barges, dredges, trawlers, submarines, icebreakers, drilling rig seabed yacht. The largest center of shipbuilding in the British Isles is the mouth of the River Clyde in Scotland. Two other major centers are located on the rivers Tyne and Wear. Currently, this industry of British economy is in crisis.

By growing and developing industries include electric power. Production "hard" electronics - electric motors, generators, transformers and turbines - produced almost one of the largest monopolies "General Electric".

The completion of the dredging was well-timed; as steelworking grew in the city, the channel finally became navigable all the way up to Glasgow. Shipbuilding replaced trade as the major activity on the river and shipbuilding companies were rapidly establishing themselves on the river. Soon, the Clyde gained a reputation for being the best location for shipbuilding in the British Empire, and grew to become the world's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre. Clydebuilt became an industry benchmark of quality, and the river's shipyards were given contracts for prestigious ocean-going liners as well as warships, including the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth 2 in later years, all built in the town of Clydebank.

From the founding of the Scott family's shipyard at Greenock in the year 1712 to the present day over 25,000 ships have been built on the River Clyde and its Firth and on the tributary River Kelvin and River Cart together with boatyards at Maryhill and Kirkintilloch on the Forth & Clyde Canal and Blackhill on the Monkland Canal. In the same time frame it is estimated that over 300 firms have engaged in shipbuilding on Clydeside although probably a peak of 30-40 at any one time.

The shipbuilding firms became 'household names' on Clydeside but also known around the world - Denny of Dumbarton, Scott of Greenock, Lithgows of Port Glasgow, Simon and Lobnitz of Renfrew, Alexander Stephen and Sons of Linthouse, Fairfield of Govan, Inglis of Pointhouse, Barclay Curle of Whiteinch, Connell and Yarrow of Scotstoun to name but a few. Almost as famous were the engineering firms that supplied the machinery to drive these vessels, the boilers and pumps and steering gear - Rankin & Blackmore, Hastie's and Kincaid's of Greenock, Rowan's of Finnieston, Weir's of Cathcart, Howden's of Tradeston and Babcock & Wilcox of Renfrew.

One Clyde 'shipyard' was not even located on one of these waterways - Alley & MacLellan's Sentinel Works in Jessie Street at Polmadie is around half a mile from the Clyde yet it is reputed to have constructed over 500 vessels, many of which were pre-assembled then 'knocked down' to kit form for despatch to some far distant and remote location - one such vessel being the SS Chauncy Maples, still in service on Lake Malawi. Clyde Shipbuilding reached its peak in the years just before WW1 and it is estimated that over 370 ships were completed in 1913.

shipImage of white ship on the right is a collective image by designer, symbolizing the shipbuilding industry as a leading sector of the economy of Scotland in the past.

However, presumably, the image was taken after the ship "RMS Empress of Scotland" - the first class, in due time, ocean liner.

Also I have an assumption, that the image of the vessel is taken after such famous ships as "RMS Queen Elizabeth" or "RMS Queen Mary", which were laid at the shipyard "John Brown and Company" in the town of Clydebank, Scotland. The coloring of the pipe is more suitable to these two vessels, but the location of the portholes on the liner body is more consistent with "RMS Empress of Scotland".

RMS Empress of Japan was an ocean liner built in 1929-1930 by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Govan on the Clyde in Scotland for Canadian Pacific Steamships (CP). This ship was the second of two CP vessels to be named Empress of Japan - regularly traversed the trans-Pacific route between the west coast of Canada and the Far East until 1942.

In 1942, she was renamed RMS Empress of Scotland - the second of two CP vessels to be named Empress of Scotland. In 1957, the Hamburg Atlantic Line purchased the ship and re-named her SS Hanseatic.

By the 1920s the Canadian Pacific conglomerate had established a sea/rail connection between Europe and the Far East. The company's steamships would carry passengers from Great Britain to Canada, the same company's railroad carried passengers across the North American continent to Vancouver, where passengers boarded another Canadian Pacific ship that would carry them across the Pacific to Asia. This was at the time the fastest way to reach the Far East from Europe. In the late 1920s Canadian Pacific decided to modernize their Pacific and Atlantic fleets, with the aim of reducing the journey time between Europe and the Far East by two days.

The new liner intended for the transpacific service was envisioned at approximately 25,000 gross register tons, 203.05 m. (666 ft 2 in.) in length and capable of carrying 1173 passengers in four classes. Construction of the vessel was awarded to "Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company" at Govan, near Glasgow, in Scotland. She was launched on 17 December 1929 and named Empress of Japan. Originally Canadian Pacific had planned on constructing a sister ship for her for the Pacific service, but due to the Great Depression the second ship was left unrealized. Instead, the company decided to concentrate their resources on Empress of Britain, a larger version of Empress of Japan under construction for their trans-Atlantic service. The Empress of Britain was approximately 16,000 GRT larger than Empress of Japan.

Service history:

1930-1942: Empress of Japan.

Empress of Japan carried out her sea trial successfully in May 1930, achieving a top speed of 23 knots; and on 8 June 1930, she was delivered to Vancouver for service on the trans-Pacific route. In this period, she was the fastest ocean liner on the Pacific.

She would continue sailing the Vancouver-Yokohama-Kobe-Shanghai-Hong Kong route for the rest of the decade. Amongst her celebrity passengers were a number of American baseball all-stars, including Babe Ruth, who sailed aboard Empress of Japan in October 1934 en route to Japan.

The outbreak of war in Europe caused Empress of Japan to be re-fitted for wartime service.

Following the Japanese attacks on the Empire outposts in the Far East in December 1941, the name of the ship needed to be changed. In 1942, she was renamed Empress of Scotland.

ship1942-1957: Empress of Scotland.

Following the end of World War II, Empress of Scotland was needed to meet the newly developing demands for trans-Atlantic passenger service. In the period between 1948 and 1950, she was rebuilt at Fairfield in Glasgow. These modifications were necessary to better meet weather conditions on the colder Atlantic route. This extensive re-fitting included a radical reconfiguration of her cabins from the original four classes to just two - first and tourist.

The Canadian Pacific Empress of Scotland completed her last trans-Atlantic crossing in 1957; and she was temporarily laid up in Belfast until being sold.

1958-1966: Hanseatic.

Following her sale to Hamburg Atlantic Line in 1958, the ship was radically rebuilt to meet the expanding market for trans-Atlantic passenger service. The ship's superstructure and funnels were rebuilt and her passenger accommodations were re-configured. The vessel emerged as the 30,030 GRT SS Hanseatic. The renamed and re-flagged ship was designed to carry as many 1350 passengers in comfortable luxury on the Hamburg-New York route. On 8 September 1966, the ship caught fire at New York. The fire developed in the engine room and gutted five decks.

Video of two and a half minutes about this elegant ship:

Denominations in numerals are in all corners.


The Bank was absorbed by the Bank of Scotland in 1955.

The signature on banknote belongs to:

MorrisonMr. John A. Morrison (General manager).