back to article Ticker tape and a binary message: Bank of England's new Alan Turing £50 must be the nerdiest banknote ever

Two years on from its initial announcement, the Bank of England has unveiled the design of the Alan Turing £50 note. Due to hit circulation on 23 June, the design replaces the relatively short-lived incarnation featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt. Instead, the update will show the scientist Alan Turing and the Automatic …

  1. ThatOne Silver badge
    WTF?

    Magnanimity

    > He was eventually granted a posthumous pardon in 2013

    It's okay then if you're pardon me for having my life wrecked by you...

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Magnanimity

      This. After I commit suicide because you're chemically castrating me because of who I love and what I do in private behind closed doors, it is very gracious of you to "pardon" me long, long, long after I'm dead and buried.

      Remind me to mail you a Thank You card from my grave site.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Magnanimity

        The newer biographies (after Hodges' classic) list entries from his diary suggesting the suicide was more depression that he thought his work was going nowhere than his personal life.

        But as long as the government put up a pride flag once a year they can completely ignore worrying about mental health services.

        1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

          Re: Magnanimity

          It wouldn't surprise me if chemical castration and persecution caused depression and lack of motivation.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Magnanimity

            >It wouldn't surprise me if chemical castration and persecution caused depression and lack of motivation.

            Yes, was just pointing out that when suicide is still a major cause of death for men of his age. The govt saying: well we aren't publicly beastly to gays anymore and we remember to put a rainbow flag on our twitter feed once a year so we have solved this!

            A bit like dealing with PTSD in the military by pardoning long dead WWI shell-shock victims

        2. JanMeijer

          Re: Magnanimity

          Iirc his work wasn't progressing because he was sidelined professionally due to his private life preferences.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Magnanimity

        Must be spinning in it... Turing Scheme, fifty pound note, GCHQ test in honour of him...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Magnanimity

          Presumably the downvoters agree with the government slapping Turing's name on anything and everything now in the name of our new-found post-Brexit pound-shop flag-waving patriotism when it was the establishment that drove him to suicide in the first place as a thank you for his war effort.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Magnanimity

      I agree with this sentiment, but also feel it necessary to add that Gordon Brown's statement came across as a genuine expression of sorrow and was as much as he could have done given the time that had passed. Unfortunately, it is far too late for Turing, and too late to punish those who made his life hell because his personal life affected their strangled sensibilities.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Magnanimity

        True. One wonders if theTuring Test encompasses a measure of emotional empathy as well as intelligence?

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: Magnanimity

      Well,what's your suggestion then? How do you show you're sorry for an injustice that was perpetrated before you were born against someone who is long dead?

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Magnanimity

        > How do you show you're sorry for an injustice

        It's a matter of word choice: "Pardon" assumes the victim is guilty of something.

        If you want to say you're sorry, well, you admit the guilty party is you, not him. You don't magnanimously "pardon" a victim: "I did you wrong, but see, I'm the bigger man, I pardon you"

  2. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    Any idea where I get one of these

    Do I actually have to go outside and visit a bank?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Any idea where I get one of these

      It should be ok as long as you are not using a balaclava or stocking over your head as a Covid-19 precaution

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Any idea where I get one of these

      As a USAian, acquiring one is going to involve my daughter and her UK friend, an Apple or Venmo transfer, an order from Amazon.UK (for a nice Lucite display holder) and a good deal of postage for same. The note, I suspect can be mailed inside a greeting card.

      Gotta have one, though. Turing is responsible for the principles behind the gadgets that have been my life's work. He deserves a place on my shelf, alongside Marconi (IT 100 lira note)

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Any idea where I get one of these

        "As a USAian, acquiring one is going to involve my daughter and her UK friend..."

        Worth checking with a local bank/foreign exchange bureau - they may be able to facilitate. Though your idea may be a more certain way to acquire one in a short period

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Any idea where I get one of these

          ...and FAR less expensive...I want a shiny new one, as well!

          (but, yes, I had considered that...I would have to go into town, the local banks don't do foreign)

          I got Marconi off eBay and he's a bit crinkled.

          1. RM Myers Silver badge
            Coat

            I got Marconi off eBay and he's a bit crinkled.

            To be honest, I suspect most of us would be a little crinkled if we had been dead for almost 84 years.

            Hey, stop pushing! I'm going.

          2. Jan 0 Silver badge

            Re: Any idea where I get one of these

            I'm intrigued, you don't live in a town, but you have banks locally? In the UK you need to live in a town to to have a _chance_ of having a local bank.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Any idea where I get one of these

        >As a USAian,... Turing is responsible for the principles behind the gadgets that have been my life's work. He deserves a place on my shelf, alongside Marconi (IT 100 lira note)

        Do you think if the average American knew of Franklin's scientific work he would be removed from the $100 ?

      3. jamesdagger

        Re: Any idea where I get one of these

        If it's that important to you, I'll jolly well send you one!

      4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Any idea where I get one of these

        So you are missing a banknote with Alexander Popov in your collection...

    3. John Jennings Silver badge

      Re: Any idea where I get one of these

      Lots of places dont accept anything bigger than a 20.....

      Easiest way to get some is to become a drug dealer

      1. Werner Heisenberg

        Re: Any idea where I get one of these

        "Lots of places dont accept anything bigger than a 20....."

        I wonder if this will change - one reason I've heard shops give is that it robs them of change (which they pay for), but that isn't logical because it just means that the £20 note becomes the de-facto terminal denomination - a unit that is accepted but never handed out in change. Because of this, terminal denominations always accumulate, and they should never be in short supply to the retailer. Excluding an entirely avoidable edge-case (failing to start / reset with higher denominations), the actual value doesn't matter.

        The other reason is risk. For obvious reasons, counterfeiters will always target the highest denomination they can produce a decent facsimile of. But all of the new polymer notes seem to be forgery-resilient (at least for now) - I've never been landed with even a fake £5 note (at least to my knowledge); previously I've been stung on several paper notes. And the £50 polymer seems to have gone to town on anti-forgery devices. I'd be surprised if it ever gets convincingly counterfeited.

        Of course, inertia might be a problem - perhaps people are so primed to distrust or dislike £50 notes that they never will again, come what may.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Any idea where I get one of these

          Probably true. Many shops won't take them because of the risk of forgeries, and the shop carries the loss. Interesting though that the last time we got caught out was with a couple of fake Scottish £20s (old style). And I think we've had a fake new £10. I'm sure the ink isn't meant to wear off!

          The decline in cash is very real - our community shop has seen cash decline from about 30% of turnover to around 10%, even though total turnover is still up compared to pre-covid. Even a coke and a packet of crisps is usually on card (or account). We've already pretty well stopped doing cashback as there's so little in the till.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Any idea where I get one of these

            And I think we've had a fake new £10. I'm sure the ink isn't meant to wear off!

            We've seen a lot of fivers like that and had shops refuse them because 'fake'. The problem seems to be concentrated around any folds.

            However, I was chatting to the local baker (yup, an actual baker) earlier this week in the context of his slightly dodgy card machine and whether I had enough change for Chelsea buns as well as pasties should the machine not work (and it is expensive for him - even in this very busy shop with three or four staff behind the counter to have two machines, so he has just the one) and he said he doesn't think it's neccessarily fake notes, he thinks that some alcohol-based hand sanitisers are causing the damage.

            I can't afford to sacrifice a couple of notes of each denomination to test the theory so I'll leave that to someone else :-)

            M.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Any idea where I get one of these

              Up vote for Chelsea buns.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Any idea where I get one of these

                Also available, lardy bread. Why don't you see proper, gooey, sugary lardy bread in Asda?

                Good shop, shame he only runs (Google Maps) two outlets now - the third, which was mainly a tea room, has been a high profile casualty of the last year.

                M.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Any idea where I get one of these

            We ran a pub pre Covid - card (and phone) was 5:1 vs cash even in a tiny country pub.

            I would also suggest that the main reason shops and pubs are wary of forgeries with 50s is that they seem them so much less often that the staff are less switched on to the forgeries -- although there were some jolly good fake 20s going round, we saw enough of the real ones for it to become second nature to detect the forgeries.

        2. Emir Al Weeq

          Re: Any idea where I get one of these

          Although somewhat tongue in cheek, for a long time I've said that if you want to forge a note, just make up your own: it saves the effort of trying to accurately reproduce an existing one. Hand it over and say 'oh, it's one of the new <inert denomination here> notes. Have you not seen one before?"

          1. Emir Al Weeq

            Re: Any idea where I get one of these

            Edit - I meant "insert". Inert denominations wouldn't me much use.

  3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    We've already got complaints from the usual morons that it "isn't diverse enough".

    ****A**** thing *CAN'T* be diverse. Only a collection can be diverse. AN item is AN item, it's impossible for AN object to be diverse.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Well you may want to point out to them he was gay.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We've already got complaints from the usual morons that it "isn't diverse enough".

      Have we?

      I've seen thousands of blustery anti-pc , anti jsw , daily mail types saying "Its PC gone MAD!" , cant say anything these days! bbc agenda! ticking the boxes!

      railing against some percieved and often imagined attempt at equality .

      .

      .and yet its very very rare to hear from the "offended snowflakes"

      people assume SJWs will be upset and start yelling about it when no one has in fact said anything.

      Most of the "Cancel Culture" and PC movement is largely powered and gains its momentum by the apoplectic rage of its opponents, in a kind of self sustaining reaction

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Most of the "Cancel Culture" and PC movement is largely powered and gains its momentum by the apoplectic rage of its opponents, in a kind of self sustaining reaction"

        And that in turn is created and whipped up by the Red Top media in the first place.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>>>We've already got complaints from the usual morons that it "isn't diverse enough".

      Quotes or it never happened.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge
        Joke

        "Quotes or it never happened."

        "This should be a woman"

        Source:Facebook

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Isn't there a woman on the other side?

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Devil

            It looks like she is not black enough...

    4. John Robson Silver badge

      And you really need a sufficienly large collection as well...

      There are relatively few notes/coins etc... so it's quite hard to get anything approaching a representative sample of society.

  4. Ochib

    £50 notes the currency of corrupt elites, of crime of all sorts and of tax evasion

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      I was once given a couple of £50 notes at a bank counter when I went in to get £200 out - the sole ATM was out of action at the time - a friend who saw the notes wanted to take a closer look as they had never held one before!

      1. Emir Al Weeq

        I once had an ATM (in Southwark I think) dish out a couple of £50 notes. I remember thinking "there's a sign of inflation", but it was a few years ago and I've not had it since, so I assume it was not popular.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does anyone bother with £50?

      I thought the crime-note of choice was the €500. It was used by criminals to such an extent that they stopped issuing them a few years ago. £50 is a lot lower value than that.

      1. awavey

        Re: Does anyone bother with £50?

        it is, but Ive only held one personally in cash in 30 years,and I wouldnt even know what the current one is supposed to look like without looking it up online. I havent even held any notes or used a cash machine for over a year now, so it seems abit meaningless all told

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      £50 notes the currency of corrupt elites, of crime of all sorts and of tax evasion

      And Japanese tourists. The last time my Japanese friends visited they'd changed their money in Japan and been given £50s for most of it. Not the best option, although they learned the phrase "have you got anything smaller" quite quickly.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Boffin

        Don't forget those of a Chinese persuasion. They love 'em especially since they're red.

        Pretty much just have to wait until my birthday for the wife's family's usual £50 to get hold of one.

        Boffin Icon because the man was of the greats (once we were allowed to recognise his achievements).

      2. FrogsAndChips
        Coat

        "have you got anything smaller"

        That's what she said!

        Yes, yes, I'm leaving...

      3. Winkypop Silver badge
        Go

        £50 notes are very handy

        Almost enough when filling a car with fuel.

        When I’m in the UK, I keep them back for this purpose.

  5. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Sadly I've little chance of ever seeing one in the wild! Not one that temporarily belong to me anyway.

    1. Christoph

      I have seen a £50 note. Once. In a shop window. In Toronto.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Go shopping at Costco.

  6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Great! Super!

    It's polymer so you can put it in the tumble drier and watch it physically shrink at the same rate as its monetary value ... a very useful demonstration of UK economics for the kids.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Great! Super!

      If it's like our colonial plastic notes - it would have to be a bloody hot dryer to damage them.

      ps. ours even have holograms you can project with a laser - I only just discovered that !

    2. MiguelC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Great! Super!

      Don't use the tumble dryer, do it properly in a microwave!

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Great! Super!

      I was wondering whether the quote on it referred to the future of computing or the future value of the pound.

      "This is only a foretaste of what is to come and only the shadow of what is going to be"

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Great! Super!

        I once used the corner of a polymer note as a stylus to play back a vinyl of Churchill's greatest speeches.

  7. Russell Chapman Esq.

    £50 vs the 1000CHF note

    I don't know why we make such a big thing about 50 quid notes. In Switzerland 1000CHF notes are pretty common, about £778 equivalent. The big supermarkets accept them without batting an eyelid.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

      Given the cost of living in Switzerland, it makes paying for the weekly shopping more convenient

      1. Russell Chapman Esq.

        Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

        You meant it as a joke but it is less of a joke than you realize

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

      Once upon a time I tried buying some pick and mix sweets from a cinema with a £50 note and you should have seen the fuss they made. They said the total was actually £62.50.

      1. Russell Chapman Esq.

        Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

        Cinema pick n mix is expensive, just as well you didn't go for the icecream as well

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

        "They said the total was actually £62.50."

        Ah, 6 fizzy cola bottles and 4 white chocolate mice.

        Seems cheap at half the price!

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: £50 vs the 1000CHF note

      >In Switzerland ... The big supermarkets accept them without batting an eyelid.

      To be fair they also accept bars of gold with swastikas on them

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Birthday in binary

    The binary on the note reads 1001000111100000111101111

    which in decimal is 19120623

    23 June 1912

    1. Aging Hippy
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Birthday in binary

      The 2019 mock-up had 1010111111110010110011000 which is 23061912.

      Changed from ddmmyyyy to yyyymmdd format.

      Make up your own conspiracy theory.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Birthday in binary

        Clearly Alan had a big-endian architecture. Fnarr.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Birthday in binary

          Are you saying that he had a big ass?

  9. Aaiieeee

    I can't tell why any reference to Turing also has to reference his sexuality?

    I've got a feeling its a question I'm not supposed to ask but I don't really get it.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Because there is nothing interesting to say about Alonzo Church and Konrad Zuse was a hun.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I can't tell why any reference to Turing also has to reference his sexuality?

      Age 23, wrote seminal paper on computable numbers and the fundamental model for modern computing

      In WW2, played a critical part in decoding German military and naval communications

      Age 39, was chemically castrated by the UK state for consensual sex

      2 years later killed himself

      Now can you tell?

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Pound Sterling

    It's a while since I've done any travel across the British Isles, but I found there is was a lot of ignorance, and I doubt very much if the situation has improved about the different bank notes in circulation and what should be acceptable as legal tender, in the South of England. In variably, after a trip to Scotland or Northern Ireland, I'd have Pound Sterling bank notes issued by the local banks - which, whilst not actual "Bank Of England" Pound Sterling notes, due to the way they get issued, should be perfectly acceptable. In the end, I gave up presenting them in random shops - petrol stations on the whole were not a problem.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Pound Sterling

      FWIW, Scottish bank notes are not legal tender even in Scotland, never mind England. The Bank of England says so.

      Legally, only Royal Mint coins and Bank of England notes are legal tender in England and Wales. In Scotland and NI, only Royal Mint coins are legal tender.

      In terms of everyday usage, a shopkeeper can legally choose what to accept or refuse as payment for goods.

      1. Werner Heisenberg

        Re: Pound Sterling

        This.

        Shopkeepers are not obliged to sell anything at all - the prices you see on the shelf edge are not an offer, they are an "invitation to treat". When you go to the checkout, you are making an offer to buy the goods, rather than accepting their "offer" to sell. The shopkeeper can accept or decline (more or less) as they see fit, including based on how you propose to pay*. The contract is complete if and when the shopkeeper accepts your money (consideration).

        "Legal tender" has very specific meaning in law - it is any form of payment that must be able to satisfy the repayment of a debt. It has nothing at all to do with normal shopping.**

        * Unless they fall foul of anti-discrimination laws.

        ** This is my understanding as a non-lawyer ***. I took A-level law, and got a D. So I went into IT.

        *** Any actual lawyers reading, please tell me all the things I got wrong above. I realise it's (at best) a simplification.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Pound Sterling

          I took A-level law, and got a D. So I went into IT.

          The ones who got Es or outright failed are probably in legislatures making up law...

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Pound Sterling

            The ones making the laws mostly didn't study law, they all studied PPE (no, not that PPE, the other one) at Oxford, or even worse, Classics.

            The notable exception, of course, being the current Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, who not only studied law, went on to practise it, became a top barrister (QC) and then the Attorney General (head lawyer of the CPS), and got knighted for his service to the Crown as a result. Perhaps people should pay more attention to him, rather than the sack of blubber opposite him...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Pound Sterling

              Lawyers don't necessarily make good politicians. They have a tendancy to nitpick over minor details and not look at the big picture. I was initially impressed with him but have noticed his tendency towards nitpicking, especially in PMQs. On the other hand....BoJo :-(

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pound Sterling

        There are limits on some coins (less than £1) as to how much they are legal tender:

        https://www.royalmint.com/help/trm-faqs/legal-tender-amounts/

        has a list. No, you can't pay a £10,000 fine in 1p coins. But you could in £1 coins.

        (The Mint claims these limits apply throughout the UK. Any Scottish law experts able to confirm or refute this?)

        1. eionmac

          Re: Pound Sterling

          Family had a shop near a showground and a hospital. Show folk were very credit worthy (much better than the local doctors & lawyers) getting a £200 odd 'fill the lorry with food for a trip' paid in pennies was not unusual. PS. we never bothered counting the bags of coin, it would be correct, our bank said the same and just accepted the bags as marked.

      3. aqk
        Happy

        Re: Pound Sterling ... and Scotland?

        Don't worry- the Scots will soon be using Euros again.

  11. Howard Sway Silver badge

    On current historical trajectory

    If I reach my 80th birthday, the new £50 note of the time will feature Clive Sinclair in front of a ZX81. And might just buy a packet of crisps.

    1. Scotthva5

      Re: On current historical trajectory

      if you're lucky

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: On current historical trajectory

        It will have another 4 £50 notes sticking out of the back with bluetak holding them in place

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acceptance

    Just as they never accepted him, they now put him on a note that no-one accepts..

  13. _LC_ Silver badge
    Holmes

    I assume that these are being rigorously sterilized.

    ಥ_ಥ

  14. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    After the Vegan backlash against the plastic £5/£10/£20 notes for containing tiny amounts of animal products (the very air you breathe contains tiny amounts of animals), how long before a religious shopkeeper declines the new £50 based on the sexuality of the person depicted on it? Not that it matters much as cash is all but dead anyways.

  15. ICam

    Coming out in public...

    Given that most cash machines don't dispense £50 notes, it seems likely many folks will never see one. :-/

    1. innominatus

      Re: Coming out in public...

      Check out Coutts ATMs for 50s...

  16. aqk
    Gimp

    But what about TUR?

    Hasn't this already been offered in the new TUR cryptocurrency? I have bought several pounds worth!

    Alan would have approved!

    Already it appears to be rivalling Etherium!

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