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20 Pounds Sterling 1943, Kingdom of Great Britain

in Banknotes Book Number: SC717b
Years of issue: 01.07.1943
Edition: --
Signatures: General manager: Mr. G.L.Webster
Serie: Scotland
Specimen of: 01.07.1940
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 181 х 98
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), 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.

20 Pounds Sterling 1943




Sir William Wallace (Uilliam Uallas, Uilleam Uallas, William le Waleys, 1270 - 23 August 1305) was a Scottish landowner, who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Revered in Scotland as a patriot and national hero.

The image taken from the famous statue, located near Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen.

monumentThe William Wallace Statue was erected 1888 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and depicts Sir William Wallace. Sculpted by William Grant Stevenson, the statue is positioned opposite His Majesty's Theatre and across from Union Terrace Gardens. "It was paid for with funds left for the purpose by John Steill of 38 Grange Road in Edinburgh, the son of James Steill sometime of Easter Baldowrie, in Angus." It is a category B listed building.

The statue bears this inscription: "I tell you a truth, liberty is the best of all things, my son, never live under any slavish bond".

watermarkUnknown image.


20 Pounds Sterling 1943

coat of arms aberdeen

Lower right is the coat of arms of the city of Aberdeen.

The coat of arms have been displayed on the city's seal since 1430. In 1672 the Parliament of Scotland passed an act requiring all persons or bodies using coats of arms to matriculate them in a register maintained by Lord Lyon King of Arms. Accordingly, the arms of the "Royall Burgh of Aberdein" were recorded in Lyon Register on February 25, 1674. The blazon of the arms was:

Gules, three towers triple-towered within a double-tressure flowered and counter-flowered argent. Supported by two leopards proper and in an escrol above "Bon Accord".

Bon Accord, is the motto of the city and is French literally for "Good Agreement". Legend tells that its use dates from the 14th century password used by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish Independence, when he and his men laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308 and massacring the English Garrison, retaking Aberdeen for the townspeople. The secret phrase to initiate the campaign was "Bon Accord". The city's official toast is "Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again - Bon Accord!", this has been commonly misinterpreted as the translation of Bon Accord. The words are in fact, taken from the Masonic poem entitled The Final Toast. The motto should also not be confused with that of Aberdeen Grammar School, which is Bon Record.

The double tressure surrounding the three castles is derived from the royal arms of Scotland, and was traditionally said to have been granted to the city by Robert I, but may only date from the reign of James I.

The shield has three castles that once stood on the hills of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Castle on Castle Hill, the castle on the Windmill Hill and St. Katherine's Chapel Hill.

The St. Katherine's Chapel built in honor of St. Catherine of Siena (Saint Catherine of Siena) and open in 1242 by John Kennedy of Kermaka (Kermuck).

The Aberdeen castle is not mentioned since the days, when Parson Gordon from the town of Rothiemay drew it on a map of Aberdeen in 1661 on the hill of St. Catherine (now not exist).

The supporters are two leopards. According to legend the beasts were granted by James I to Aberdeen as the burgh underwrote his expenses while in exile in England. The city's local magazine is called the "Leopard" and when Union Bridge was constructed in the 19th century small statues of leopards in a sitting position were cast and placed along its railing tops.

Kings CollegeCentered is King's College in Old Aberdeen, Scotland, the full title of which is The University and King's College of Aberdeen (Collegium Regium Abredonense). It is a formerly independent university founded in 1495 and an integral part of the University of Aberdeen. Its historic buildings are the centerpiece of the University of Aberdeen's Old Aberdeen campus, often known as the King's or King's College campus.

The focal point of the college, as well as its oldest building, is the late XV century King's College Chapel. A number of other historic buildings remain, with others being subject to renovation and rebuilding in the XVIII and XIX centuries. In the early XX century, a great deal of expansion saw the university buildings increase around the historic college buildings.

Kings CollegeKing's College, placed on the South side of Old Aberdeen, conspicuous beyond the rest of the Houses for the Neatness and Stateliness of its Structure.

'Tis Inferiour to no College in Scotland. One side of it is covered with Slate, the rest with Lead; the Church, and Turret or Steeple are of hewen Stone.

The Windows were of old remarkable for painted Glass, and some reliques of their ancient Splendor do yet remain.

Bishop Elphinstone has left very little documentary evidence concerning his construction of the Chapel so it was left to his Principal, Hector Boece, to provide an account of his life and works in 1522. Boece confirms, briefly, that he built the church "of hewn polished stone", with windows, ceilings, seats, elaborate and costly furnishings, the "steeple of great height, surrounded in stone work arched in form of an imperial crown", the leaded roof and 13 bells of "most melodious sound". In fact, Elphinstone must have left money for the completion of his project because some of the bells were not made until 1519, and it is likely that the crown tower was only finished after the enormous bells, over 5 feet wide, had been hoisted into position through the roof.

With relatively little documentation to help, we have to explore the Chapel itself to establish just what Bishop Elphinstone as patron would have commissioned. The patron was responsible for raising funds, which Elphinstone amply provided, and for specifying the general scheme, suggesting ideas he had seen elsewhere. Quite possibly technical details were sorted out by the able Rector, Alexander Galloway, who went on to complete Elphinstone's Bridge of Dee in 1522 and Greyfriars' Church (inset).

Kings CollegeFunds were ready by 1497-1498 when Elphinstone purchased wheelbarrows, gunpowder and carts from the Netherlands. The basic nature of these foreign imports is a reflection of the "men who are rude, ignorant of letters and almost barbarous" whom Elphinstone wished to educate in Aberdeen. The Bishop would have chosen the plot of land: it was the nearest open space to the Cathedral along the old Via Regia (now the High Street), but somewhat boggy and bounded to the south by the wet banks of the Powis Burn at the bottom of the hill (now in a culvert).

A major decision was to construct the Chapel from Golden Moray Sandstone, brought expensively by boat from Covesea. This choice clearly indicated a rejection of the local but stubborn granite used at St Machar's Cathedral in favour of a softer stone which could be more readily carved. The size of the building depended on how many staff and students Bishop Elphinstone anticipated filling his University. The Chapel can actually take about 300 people but in the first Foundation Charter of 1505, there were only 36 College members, rising to 42 in 1514.

The Bishop, or his Master Mason, clearly knew about other significant buildings: King's Chapel was intended to be just slightly longer and wider than St Salvator's at St Andrews; and the bays are slightly longer than those in St Machar's nave. But proportions, a matter of spiritual significance, were much more important than the physical size. The golden inscription on the West Front states that the Chapel was begun on 2 April, 1500. A learned Cleric, aware of Old Testament exegesis, would associate this day with the building of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, a symbol both of royal wisdom and supreme sanctity. Certain proportions in the Chapel suggest that it was intended to evoke the Temple, but it would require a theologian with Elphinstone's own books to recognize this.

Kings CollegeWork began on the College in 1500 and it took 6 years to complete the Chapel. This illustration below shows the interior looking west.

The original Bishop Stewart's pulpit was on the right, through the nave and choir to the choir stalls and rood screen, with the Ante-chapel behind it. Non-residents entered through the West door and occupied the Ante-chapel, while students entered from the College Library via a special staircase within the rood screen.

Kings CollegeThe central gallery of the screen is still used to house the organ. The 52 choir stalls, commissioned by Elphinstone, are "a unique survival as well as the finest of their King in Scotland".

The finely panelled Renaissance Pulpit of William Stewart (Bishop 1532-1545) bears his coat of arms and was originally in use in St. Machar's Cathedral.

The timber ceiling was constructed soon after 1506 and was probably designed by John Fendour. It consists of a diagonal arrangement of ribs and widely spreading foliage sprigs radiating from center bosses.

The choir stalls and ceiling both show a strong Flemish influence. The Chapel restored, is still in use today for University Services and is a popular marriage venue for graduates.

Elphinstone owned a copy of bible commentaries which illustrated the Temple in medieval guise: it had a tower with windows and string courses, a crenellated parapet, and lean-to buildings hugging the side walls, just as the sacristy and treasury originally did on the south side of the Chapel. At both the Temple and the Chapel, the proportion of width to length was 1:3.5. At the Temple, the length of the holy of holies within the Great Chamber was 1:3. In the Chapel the same ratio applies to the Sanctuary (from the altar steps eastwards) within the choir (enclosed by the rood screen in its original location). Within the Temple, Solomon clad the walls and ceiling with carved wood as Elphinstone sheathed his choir with wooden stalls and ceiling. The creation of this Scottish Holy of Holies was surely devised by Elphinstone who then decided to be buried at its heart.

The selection of architectural details suggests a patron with a reasonably wide knowledge of foreign buildings, but also a team of masons and joiners who, within their localized building activity, had already assimilated many continental ideas. The plan with its long, narrow body and polygonal apse, is a convenient solution for a Collegiate Church and its immediate precursor is St Salvator's at St Andrews. The window tracery, with its flamboyant mouchettes and massive central mullions, is found in the Low Countries, around Liège; the wagon ceiling with its bursting stars of foliage has precedents in the town hall and St Giles Church, Bruges. St Andrews dates from 1411, Glasgow and Aberdeen were not founded until 1451 and 1495. In neighboring Scandinavia the 1st 2 Universities were founded at Copenhagen in 1475, and Uppsala in 1477. Some of the new XV century Universities were small and poorly endowed, and a number of pre-c.1500 universities failed to survive the political and religious vicissitudes of the following centuries. Aberdeen is proud to have a continuous tradition of learning and teaching from 1495 to today.

The style had already come to Aberdeen where a similar ceiling was installed at St Nicholas' in 1495. The daring crown on the tower already had a precedent at St Nicholas, Newcastle but the closest parallel is with St Giles', Edinburgh built at almost the same time as King's.

The stalls, the exquisite seating provided for Elphinstone's choristers and University members, look flamboyantly exotic but there is enough evidence from St Nicholas' to suggest that these are a local product, probably made by John Fendour.

In a similar way, Elphinstone's portrait, now in Marischal Museum and once part of an altar piece, looks somewhat Flemish, but is likely to be by a Scot trained in the Netherlander style. So, these comparisons indicate a well-traveled and discerning patron who was able to commission Scots artisans to carry out his plans. (

Kings CollegeIn front of Kings College is the Bishop Elphinstone's tomb by Henry Wilson.

This bronze and marble sculpture was created by Harry Wilson in 1911. Having proved too large for its original site within King’s College Chapel, it was moved to its current position, between the Chapel and the High Street, in 1946.

coat of arms aberdeenshire

Top right the coat of arms of Aberdeenshire.

The arms were granted in 1890. The four quarters show the four main parts of the County. The three garbs is for Buchan, the bend and cross crosslets for Mar, the checky bar and crowns for Garioch and the three boars heads for Gordon.

Gordons Coat of Arms before the XV century. In 1445, Sir Alexander Seton of Gordon, grandson of the last of Gordon Sir Adam Gordon, who died in 1402 at the Battle of Homildon Hill was elevated to the title Earl of Huntly, by his second son, George, 2nd Earl of Huntly, who took the name of his great-grandfather (Gordon), the origin of all subsequent leaders of Gordons family, graphs, awnings and dukes of Huntley.


In top left corner is the coat of arms of "NORTH OF SCOTLAND AND TOWN AND COUNTY BANK, LTD." (North of Scotland Banking Company and Aberdeen Town and County Banking Company, amalgamated April 30, 1908.).

Quarterly: 1 and 4 chequy or and azure, a saltire between three towers triple-towered, one in chief and two in flanks argent, masoned sable.

2 and 3, gules, a bezant between two towers triple-towered argent, masoned as before in chief and a garb or in base.

And on an escrol above the shield this Motto "Ne nimium" and on a compartment below the shield bearing this Motto "Fide et Industria" are set for.

Supporters: On the dexter a leopard and on the sinister a stag, both proper. [Rematriculated in Lyon Office, May 20, 190S.]

Denominations in words are in lower left corner and centered. In numeral is on the right side.


20 Pounds Sterling 1943


(North of Scotland Banking Company and Aberdeen Town and County

Banking Company, amalgamated April 30, 1908.).

Quarterly: 1 and 4 chequy or and azure, a saltire between three towers triple-towered, one in chief and two in flanks argent, masoned sable.

2 and 3, gules, a bezant between two towers triple-towered argent, masoned as before in chief and a garb or in base.

And on an escrol above the shield this Motto "Ne nimium" and on a compartment below the shield bearing this Motto "Fide et Industria" are set for.

Supporters: On the dexter a leopard and on the sinister a stag, both proper. [Rematriculated in Lyon Office, May 20, 190S.]

Denominations in numerals are on the right and left sides, at the top.


Although, Scotland is not an independent state, and is part of the UK. Three Scottish banks have the right to issue their own banknotes. Officially, these notes are not called "Scottish pounds" and their denomination designated in pound sterling. In the strict sense of the term "Legal Tender" banknotes of Scottish banks are not even legal tender in Scotland, but can be taken throughout the United Kingdom.