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50 Pounds Sterling 2011, Kingdom of Great Britain

in Banknotes Book Number: BE264
Years of issue: 02.11.2011 - 2014
Edition: --
Signatures: Chief Cashier: Mr. Chris Salmon (2011 - 2014)
Serie: England
Specimen of: 02.11.2011
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 156 х 85
Printer: Bank of England print works, Loughton (Debden), Essex, UK

* 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.

50 Pounds Sterling 2011

Description

Watermark:

watermark

HM The Queen Elizabeth II at a young age.

Denomination £50.

Avers:

50 Pounds Sterling 2011

HM The Queen Elizabeth II.

In preparation for the "E Series" of notes, issued by the Bank of England, photographs of The Queen were especially commissioned by the Bank. The photographs were taken by Don Ford in 1985-1986, one of the Bank’s technical photographers, under the direction of Roger Withington. Mr. Withington designed the notes of the "E Series" and prepared the engraving of the Queen, which appeared on this series of notes, from one of the photographs taken by Mr. Ford. The portrait shows Queen Elizabeth wearing Queen Mary’s "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" Tiara, Queen Alexandra’s cluster earrings and, although difficult to identify, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace.

Elizabeth IIThe engraving on banknote is, probably, made after this photo by Don Ford, 1985-1986.

Tiara Girls of Great Britain and Ireland

Queen Mary received this tiara as a wedding gift in 1893, from a committee representing "the girls of Great Britain and Ireland". The funds for the purchase of the tiara were raised by a committee, formed by Lady Eve Greville. The tiara was purchased from Garrard, the London jeweler.

It featured pearls on top and a detachable base; Mary removed the pearls. She gave it to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present in 1947. The Queen originally wore it without the base before reuniting the pieces in 1969.

Said to be light and easy to wear, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara seems to be the Queen's favorite - she's said to call it "Granny's tiara", and it is her most frequently worn diadem.

The "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" Tiara can be worn with or without a bandeau base and, in this portrait, the tiara is set into its base. (Portrait of Dorothy Wilding, 1952, shows the Tiara being worn without the base). (From her Majesty's jewel vault)

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace

To mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, a committee of ladies was formed to raise money for a commemorative statue of Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert. The committee’s fundraising was quite successful, and they ended up raising far more than was required for the statue. An agreement was formed with the Queen that the excess should go to the St. Katherine’s Fund for Nurses. At the same time, some members of the committee decided that a portion of the funds should be used to purchase a necklace for the Queen - and this was also approved by Her Majesty.

The trouble was, the committee did not agree on the necklace. Some felt it would be wrong to spend the funds which had been previously devoted to charity on something else. Much discussion and debate ensued, as is described in depth in Hugh Roberts’ book The Queen’s Diamonds. (My favorite tidbit: Queen Victoria, angry that she wouldn’t get her promised necklace, shot down the prospect of a diamond badge commemorating the nursing fund by declaring she would “at once exchange it for another jewel”.

In the end, a compromise was reached and this necklace, made for £5000 (far less than the necklace originally proposed) from gold, diamonds, and pearls by Carrington & Co. was presented to Queen Victoria in 1888. It features a central quatrefoil diamond motif with a large pearl in the middle, topped by a crown and underlined with a drop pearl. The next four links in either direction are graduated trefoil motifs; the central piece and the six largest trefoils can also be worn as brooches.

Queen Alexandra’s Cluster Earrings

She is also wearing Queen Alexandra’s Cluster Earrings. The wedding gift from the future King Edward VII to his bride, Alexandra of Denmark. Also known as Queen Alexandra's Cluster Earrings, these two button earrings have large pearls surrounded by diamonds - 10 larger stones each plus smaller filler stones to create a full diamond ring. Like the brooch, these passed to the Queen via Queen Mary. They're now worn primarily at evening functions.

On patterned background is a building of Bank of England.

building

The history of the Bank is naturally one of interest, but also of continuing relevance to the Bank today. Events and circumstances over the past three hundred or so years have shaped and influenced the role and responsibilities of the Bank. They have moulded the culture and traditions, as well as the expertise, of the Bank which are relevant to its reputation and effectiveness as a central bank in the early years of the XXI century. At the same time, much of the history of the Bank runs parallel to the economic and financial history, and often the political history, of the United Kingdom more generally.

For the first forty years of its life the Bank rented premises to carry on its business, firstly, in the hall of the Mercers' Company in Cheapside and moving in January 1695 to the larger premises of the Grocers' Company in Princes Street. In 1734 it moved to purpose-built premises in Threadneedle Street which were approximately 80 feet wide (25m.) and 300 feet (90m.) long. Over the next one hundred years the site was gradually extended until by 1828 the current outline was achieved.

The Bank has been served by a distinguished line of architects:

​1732-1734 George Sampson's Bank of England ​

Scant details of George Sampson have survived. Even his dates are not known for certain. He appears to have held the post of Clerk of Works at the Tower of London and Somerset House before becoming Surveyor to the Bank. His only major work is the 1734 Bank, arguably the first purpose-built bank in the British Isles. He is thought to have died in 1764.

1765-1788 Sir Robert Taylor's Bank of England.

A sculptor who turned to architecture later in life, he extended the Threadneedle street façade of the Bank firstly eastwards and, after the demolition of the church of St Christopher-le-Stocks in 1781, westwards. In order to avoid piercing the outer walls with openings for light he introduced top-lighting to his new banking halls which were dominated by his centrally-placed Rotunda.

1788-1833 Sir John Soane's Bank of England.

Sir John Soane was one of England's greatest architects. His appointment in October 1788 as "Architect and Surveyor" to the Bank was the most important of his distinguished career. The Bank was his main pre-occupation for the ensuing 45 years until his retirement in 1833 when he described it as "...a situation which has long been the pride and boast of my life". He extended the Bank's site and eventually enclosed it in 1828 with a windowless wall.'

The structure of "Soane's Bank of England" remained more or less untouched until it was demolished and a new building erected by the architect Herbert Baker between 1925-1939.

1833-1855 Professor C R Cockerell.

​1855-1883 P C Hardwick.

​1883-1899 Sir Arthur Blomfield.

​1899-1919 A C Blomfield.

1925-1939 Sir Herbert Baker's Bank of EnglandBetween 1925 and 1939 he demolished what had become known as 'The Old Bank' or "Soane's Bank" (then regarded as one of London's architectural gems) and built a new headquarters for the Bank on the same 3 ½ acre Theadneedle Street site. The "Old Bank" had been in the main no more than three storeys high; Baker's new building rose seven storeys above ground and dropped three below to accommodate the extra staff required to tackle the Bank's rapidly increasing volume of work and responsibilities. (Bank of England)

The Bank Nun.

On November 2nd 1811, Philip Whitehead, "a man of genteel appearance" who had been employed in the Cashier’s Office at the Bank of England, was brought to the dock of the Old Bailey, charged with forgery. Found guilty, he was sentenced to death and was duly hanged in early 1812.

News of his crime and execution was, however, kept from his devoted sister, Sarah Whitehead, who was removed by Philip’s friends to a house in Wine Office Court, off Fleet Street. But one day, Sarah turned up at the Bank of England to enquire of her brother’s whereabouts, and an unthinking clerk promptly blurted out the story of Philip’s crime and ignominious death.

The shock of the discovery turned the poor woman’s mind and thereafter she took to turning up at the Bank everyday asking after her brother in the belief that he still worked there. She became known as the “Bank Nun” on account of her peculiar attire that consisted of a long black dress and a black crepe veil worn over her face and head. The city merchants took pity on her and never let her pass “without extending their assistance,” whilst the Directors and clerks of the Bank of England saw to it that she was frequently provided with “sums of money in compliment of her misfortune.”

But she became convinced that the Bank governors were keeping an immense fortune from her and this led to her frequently hurling insults at them during business hours. On one occasion Baron Rothschild was going about his business at the Stock Exchange when she suddenly appeared and called him a “villain and a robber” telling him that he had defrauded her of her fortune and demanding the £2,000 he owed her. He responded by taking half a crown from his waistcoat pocket, handing it to her and telling her as he did so “There, then, take that and don’t bother me now; I’ll give you the other half tomorrow.” Accepting the money, she thanked him and went away.

By 1818 the Bank governors had grown tired of her daily disturbances and so gave her a sum of money on condition she agreed never to return to the bank again. In life she kept that contract, but in death her wraith has broken it many times. More than one late night wanderer, wending their weary way home along Threadneedle Street has been surprised by her ghostly figure appearing before them and, with downcast eyes enquiring sadly, though politely, “have you seen my brother?” (Haunted historic buildings) ​

In lower left corner is a Bank seal with sitting Britannia (as logo of Bank of England).

Denominations in numerals are in top corners. In center in words. Many denominations in numerals are in lower right corner.

Revers:

50 Pounds Sterling 2011

Mattew Boulton Mattew BoultonThe engraving on banknote is made after an engraving of Mattew Boulton by William Sharp after a portrait by William Beechey, XVIII century.

On the left side is Matthew Boulton (Sept. 3, 1728 - Aug. 17, 1809), English manufacturer and engineer who financed and introduced James Watt’s steam engine.

After managing his father’s hardware business, in 1762 Boulton built the Soho manufactory near Birmingham. The factory produced small metal articles such as gilt and silver buttons and buckles, Sheffield plate, and a variety of other items. In 1768 Boulton made the acquaintance of James Watt. The need for a power source for his factory stirred Boulton’s interest in Watt’s invention. When the industrialist John Roebuck went bankrupt, Boulton accepted Roebuck’s share in Watt’s first steam-engine patent (1769) as repayment of a debt. In 1775 he and Watt became partners in the steam-engine business, obtaining a 25-year extension of the patent. Assisted by the engineer and inventor William Murdock, they established the steam-engine industry by initially erecting pumping engines to drain the Cornish tin mines. Boulton foresaw great industrial demand for steam power and urged Watt to design the double-acting rotative engine, patented in 1782, and the Watt engine (1788) for driving the lapping machines at his factory.

In 1786 Boulton applied steam power to coining machinery, obtaining a patent in 1790. He made large quantities of coins for the East India Company and also supplied machinery to the Royal Mint. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1785 and established a theatre in Birmingham in 1807. By 1800, when Boulton’s son Matthew Robinson Boulton took over his father’s share of the business, almost 500 steam engines had been installed in the British Isles and abroad. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

On his background is an inscription: "I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have - POWER".

james wattThe engraving on banknote is made after this portrait of James Watt, approx. 1788.

On the right side is James Watt, FRS, FRSE (30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS) - 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.

While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt became interested in the technology of steam engines. He realized that contemporary engine designs wasted a great deal of energy by repeatedly cooling and re-heating the cylinder. Watt introduced a design enhancement, the separate condenser, which avoided this waste of energy and radically improved the power, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. Eventually he adapted his engine to produce rotary motion, greatly broadening its use beyond pumping water.

Watt attempted to commercialize his invention, but experienced great financial difficulties until he entered a partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775. The new firm of Boulton and Watt was eventually highly successful and Watt became a wealthy man. In his retirement, Watt continued to develop new inventions though none was as significant as his steam engine work. He died in 1819 at the age of 83.

He developed the concept of horsepower and the SI unit of power, the watt, was named after him.

On his background is an inscription: "I can think of nothing else but this mashine".

On the foreground, lower, is Watt steam engine.

steam mashineThe Watt steam engine (alternatively known as the Boulton and Watt steam engine) was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston helped by a partial vacuum. Improving on the design of the 1712 Newcomen engine, the Watt steam engine, developed sporadically from 1763 to 1775, was the next great step in the development of the steam engine.

Watt's two most important improvements were the separate condenser and rotary motion. The separate condenser, located external to the cylinder, condensed steam without cooling the piston and cylinder walls as did the internal spray in Newcomen's engine, more than doubling Watt's engine's efficiency. Rotary motion was more suitable for industrial power than the oscillating beam of Newcomen's engine.

James Watt's design became synonymous with steam engines, due in no small part to his business partner, Matthew Boulton.

James Watt's steam engine was based on that of Thomas Newcomen, which it improved in many ways:

A separate steam condenser was added, which greatly increased the efficiency of the engine.

An original linkage converted the vertical movement of the piston into circular motion, for which there were more industrial applications.

A flyball governor was used to regulate the amount of steam allowed in the engine. This system, combined with a heavy flywheel, made it possible to control the rotation speed.

A new distribution system, which applied steam to both side of the piston, increased the power of the engine as well as the steadiness of movement.

Watt's first steam engine dates back to 1765. It is estimated that by 1800, he and his partner Boulton had built 500. (Old book illustrations)

Mechanical paintOn the background, above, is the mechanical painting by English glass painter Francis Eginton.

Francis Eginton (1737-1805) was an English glass painter. He painted windows for cathedrals, churches, chapels and stately homes etc. around the country, leaving 50 large works altogether; his work was also exported abroad. His masterpiece is The Conversion of St. Paul, for the east window of St Paul's Church, Birmingham. He also developed a method for reproducing paintings mechanically.

Eginton was a partner with Boulton in the production of "mechanical paintings" or "polygraphs" The idea for these was in all probability taken by Boulton from a process modified by Robert Laurie (1755?-1836) from Jean-Baptiste Le Prince's "aquatint" engravings. Eginton perfected the method and applied it to the production of coloured copies of paintings. More plates than one were required for each picture, and after leaving the printing-press Eginton finished them by hand. They were copied from the works of Philip James de Loutherbourg, Angelica Kauffman and other artists, and varied in price from £1. 10s. to £21. The largest were 40 inches by 50. They were sometimes mistaken for original paintings, although these old "polygraphs" were in fact nearly identical to the varnished coloured oleographs which later became prevalent, the main difference being that the latter were printed lithographically.

F. P. Smith, then of the Patent Museum in South Kensington, maintained, in a paper read before the Photographic Society of London in 1863, that some of these polygraphs preserved at the museum were actually early photographs. This claim, however was untenable. Pioneering photographer, Thomas Wedgwood, had indeed made experiments upon copying pictures by the action of light upon silver nitrate, but the results then obtained would not have been capable of producing pictures of their size and character. The matter was finally settled by a series of pamphlets written by Boulton's grandson, M. P. W. Boulton, in 1863-1865, in which he gave an account of the whole matter. Furthermore, the leading lithographerVincent Brooks was able to produce an exact imitation of the "ground" of one of the examples exhibited at South Kensington by taking an impression from an aquatint engraved plate on paper used for transfer lithography.

Denomination in numerals are in top right corner. Top, centered, in words.

Comments:

Designer: Roger Withington.

Security:

Feel of the paper - banknotes are printed on special paper that gives them their unique feel.

Raised print - by running your finger across the front of the £50 note you can feel raised print in areas such as the words "Bank of England" and in the bottom right corner, around the number 50.

Metallic thread - the thread is embedded in the paper in every banknote. If you hold the note up to the light, the metallic thread appears as a continuous dark line.

Print Quality - the printed lines and colours on the £50 note are sharp, clear and free from smudges or blurred edges.

Microlettering - using a magnifying glass, look closely at the lettering beneath the Queen's portrait on the £50 note - you will see the value of the note written in small letter and numbers.

Ultra-violet feature - if you look at the front of the £50 note under a good quality ultra-violet light the number 50 appears in bright red and green. The five windows of the motion thread also appear in bright green. Randomly spread bright red and green flecks are also visible on both the front and back of the note. The remainder of the note appears.

Motion thread - the motion thread on the £50 note is woven into the paper. It has five windows along its length which contain images of the £ symbol and the number 50. When the note is tilted from side to side, the images move up and down. When the note is tilted up and down, the images move from side to side and the number 50 and £ symbol switch.

See-through register - hold the £50 note up to the light and you will see coloured irregular shapes printed on the front and back that combine to form the £ symbol.