Page 3 Profile: The Houblon £50 note: legal tender (1994-2014)


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hey, big spender…

Actually, it’s time to say goodbye. The £50 banknote carrying the portrait of the first governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Houblon, is to be withdrawn from circulation today. The British public seems to have been in denial; around 53 million of the notes, with a total value of £2.6bn, are still in circulation.

That’s funny, I’ve only got shrapnel jangling around my wallet…

Well, spare a thought for the poor folk wandering around with wads of Houblon notes burning a hole in their pocket. The Bank has previously advised people who have any  Houblon notes to spend, deposit or exchange them before tonight’s cut-off point.

Quick, get thee to a shopping centre!

Hold your horses. Although retailers are unlikely to accept the Houblon notes as payment any longer, most banks and building societies will still allow customers to deposit them into their accounts. After today this will be at the discretion of individual institutions but Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and the Post Office have all agreed to exchange older-style £50 notes up to the value of £200 until 30 October.

And then they become worthless?

Not quite. All notes that have been issued by the Bank are covered by its ‘promise to pay’ policy. This means that people can, at any time, obtain the face value of a note by exchanging it at the Bank of England in London, at no charge.

Is this makeover really necessary?

The withdrawal is part of the Bank’s regular review of notes to make them more secure and crack down on fraud.