Bank of England £10 note

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Ten pounds
(United Kingdom)
Width132 mm
Height69 mm
Security featuresSee-through window, raised dots, finely detailed bronze metallic image, coloured border which changes colour from orange to purple when the note is tilted, silver foil patch, microlettering, textured print, UV feature, hologram
Paper typePolymer
Years of printing1759–1943; 1964–present
Bank of England £10 obverse.jpeg
DesignQueen Elizabeth II
Design date14 September 2017
Bank of England £10 reverse.jpeg
DesignJane Austen
Design date14 September 2017

The Bank of England £10 note, also known as a tenner, is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the second-lowest denomination of banknote issued by the Bank of England; the current polymer note, first issued in 2017, bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and the image of author Jane Austen on the reverse. The final cotton paper note featuring a portrait of naturalist Charles Darwin, first issued in 2000, was withdrawn from circulation on 1 March 2018,[1] thereby replacing the cotton with a more fit material.


Ten pound notes were introduced by the Bank of England for the first time in 1759 as a consequence of gold shortages caused by the Seven Years' War; the earliest notes were handwritten, and were issued as needed to individuals. These notes were written on one side only and bore the name of the payee, the date, and the signature of the issuing cashier. With the exception of the Restriction Period between 1797 and 1821, when the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars caused a bullion shortage, these notes could be exchanged in full, or in part, for an equivalent amount of gold when presented at the bank. If redeemed in part, the banknote would be signed to indicate the amount that had been redeemed. From 1853 printed notes replaced handwritten notes, with the declaration "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten pounds" replacing the name of the payee; this declaration remains on Bank of England banknotes to this day. A printed signature of one of three cashiers appeared on the printed notes, though this was replaced by the signature of the Chief Cashier from 1870 onward.[2]

A £10 note, issued from Manchester in 1919.

The ability to redeem banknotes for gold ceased in 1931 when Britain stopped using the gold standard;[2] the £10 note ceased to be produced by the Bank of England in 1943, and it was not until 1964 with the advent of the series C notes that the denomination was re-introduced. These brown notes were the first £10 notes to feature an image of the monarch on the front, and unlike the previous 'White' notes they had a reverse; in this case featuring a lion; the C series was replaced by the D series beginning in 1975, with the new notes having a portrait of Florence Nightingale on the back. The tradition of portraying historical British figures on the reverse continued with the E series, first issued in 1992, with an image of Charles Dickens appearing. Series E notes are multicoloured, although they are predominantly orange-brown. From series E onward Bank of England £10 notes feature 'windowed' metal thread; this thread appears as a dashed line, yet forms a single line when held up to the light.[3]

The revised Series E £10 note was introduced in 2000, it features a portrait of Charles Darwin on the back as well as an illustration of HMS Beagle and images of various flora and fauna.[4] The note features a number of security features in addition to the metallic thread, including raised print, a watermark, microlettering, a hologram, and a number ten which only appears under ultraviolet light.[5]The F series £10 note was never issued.

In December 2013 the Bank of England announced that the next £10 note would be printed on polymer, rather than cotton paper;[6] this followed the announcement in July 2013 that Charles Darwin would be replaced by 19th Century author Jane Austen on the next £10 note, which would enter circulation in 2017. The decision to replace Darwin with Austen followed a campaign to have a woman on the back of a Bank of England banknote when it was announced that the only woman to feature on the back of a note — prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note — was to be replaced by Winston Churchill.[7][8] Images on the reverse of the Jane Austen note include a portrait of Austen commissioned by her nephew, an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Isabel Bishop, an image of Godmersham Park (the home of Austen's brother), and a design based on Austen's 12-sided writing table as used by her at Chawton Cottage;[9] the note also includes the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” which is said by Austen's character Caroline Bingley, who in fact has no interest in reading and is attempting to impress Mr Darcy.[10] Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried, is depicted in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back;[11] the note with serial number AA01001817 was donated to Winchester Cathedral, marking the year of Austen's burial, 1817.[12]


Source: Bank of England[2][3]

Note First issued Last issued Ceased to be legal tender Colour Size Design Additional information
White 1759 1943 16 April 1945 Monochrome (printed on one side only) 211 × 133 mm (may vary)
Series C 21 February 1964 1975 31 May 1979 Brown 150 × 93 mm Front: Queen Elizabeth II; Back: Lion First £10 note to carry a portrait of the monarch and use threaded paper
Series D 20 February 1975 1992 20 May 1994 Predominantly brown 151 × 85 mm Front: Queen Elizabeth II; Back: Florence Nightingale Those issued from 16 July 1987 onward have a 'windowed' security thread
Series E 29 April 1992 October 2000 31 July 2003 Multicoloured (predominantly orange-brown) 142mm x 75mm Front: Queen Elizabeth II; Back: Charles Dickens Those notes issued from November 1993 have an additional denomination symbol £10 on each side
Series E (variant) 7 November 2000 2016 1 March 2018 Multicoloured (predominantly orange-brown) 142 × 75 mm Front: Queen Elizabeth II; Back: Charles Darwin The correct wording in the band of text above the central oval where the Queen’s watermark appears is ‘The Governor and Company of the Bank of England’. A variety exists with the wording ‘The Governor and the Company of the Bank of England’ (with an extra ‘the’); this is technically incorrect, however both types were made in high numbers.[13]
Series G (polymer) 14 September 2017 Predominantly orange 132 × 69 mm Front: Queen Elizabeth II; Back: Jane Austen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peachey, Kevin (1 March 2018). "Old Charles Darwin paper £10 notes out, new 10p coins in". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "A brief history of banknotes". Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Withdrawn banknotes reference guide" (PDF). Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  4. ^ "£10 Note (Charles Darwin) - Design Features". Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  5. ^ "£10 Note (Charles Darwin) - Security Features". Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  6. ^ "New banknotes to be printed on polymer". Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Which woman should go on a banknote next?". BBC News. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Author Jane Austen to feature on new £10 note". BBC Newsround. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Jane Austen Banknote". Bank of England. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  10. ^ Morris, Steven (18 July 2017). "Jane Austen banknote unveiled – with strange choice of quotation". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  11. ^ "The new £10 note unveiled" (Press release). Bank of England. 18 July 2017.
  12. ^ "How Much Is a Banknote Worth?". Bank of England.
  13. ^

External links[edit]