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Thursday, 25 August 2016

370) George Stephenson (Engineer): Also known as the “Father of the Railways”: A Five Pound U.K. Banknote issued by the Bank of England in 1990 (since withdrawn from circulation on 21.11.2003):

370) George Stephenson (Engineer): Also known as the “Father of the Railways”: A Five Pound U.K. Banknote issued by the Bank of England in 1990 (since withdrawn from circulation on 21.11.2003):

 The Front of the 5 Pounds Banknote (since withdrawn from circulation)
On the Front of this 5 Pound Banknote is seen a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at right with her title “EIIR” (meaning “Elizabeth II Regina”).

There is a seated Britannia with laurel sprigs on either side, as the logo of Bank of England at left. The denomination in numerals is in the top left hand corner “5”. In the centre left, the denomination “FIVE Pounds” is mentioned in words. 

Below the Britannia image is mentioned “London – For the Gov:r and Comp.a of the Bank of England” (in a calligraphic font). At the left bottom is also mentioned “THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1990”.

In the three rudimentary Nautilus designs just below the Chief Cashier’s signature is mentioned the denominational value of the Banknote in numerals“5”, two times.
                           The Back of the above Five Pounds Banknote

On the Back of this 5 Pound Banknote is seen a portrait of George Stephenson (1781-1848) who was an Engineer. On the left side in the foreground are Stephenson’s Rocket Locomotive (1829) spouting smoke and Skerne Bridge on Stockton Darlington Railway (1825). The denomination in numerals is in the top left hand corner “5”. In the centre left, the denomination “FIVE Pounds” is mentioned in words. 

There is a stylised representation of a wheel hub below the name England of the Bank of England. Emanating from the hub are stylised “spokes” of a wheel which are also crossing through the watermark. 
The dimensions/size of this Banknote are - Length: 134 mm x Width 70 mm. 
The colour of the Banknote is: Front: dark brown, deep blue-green and multi-coloured; Back: deep blue-green, violet and multi-coloured.

This 5 Pound Banknote on George Stephenson was issued by the Bank of England on 07.06.1990 and has been withdrawn from circulation on 21.11.2003.

The Series of issue of this Banknote:

This Banknote was issued by the Bank of England under its “Series E”, which included  George Stephenson (5 Pound Banknote), Charles Dickens (10 Pound Banknote), Michael Faraday (20 pound Banknote) and John Houblon (50 Pound Banknote), all of which stand withdrawn from circulation now.

Presently circulating Bank of England Banknotes:

Presently two denominations under “Series E (Revision)” – Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners in Newgate prison (5 Pound Banknote) and Charles Darwin, a hummingbird and HMS Beagle (10 Pound Banknote) and

Two denominations under “Series F” – Adam Smith with an illustration of the “division of labour in pin manufacturing” (20 Pounds Banknote) and Matthew Boulton & James Watt with steam engine and Boulton’s Soho factory (50 Pounds Banknote)

are in circulation, issued by the Bank of England.

Polymer Banknotes – future plans:

Bank of England is now in the process of issuing polymer Banknotes, with a new 5 pound polymer Banknote scheduled to be released on 13th September 2016, (with Winston Churchill on the Back), a 10 Pound polymer Banknote in 2017 (with Jane Austen on the Back) and a 20 Pound polymer Banknote by 2020 (with JMW Turner on the Back).

There are currently no plans to replace the 50 Pound Banknote, featuring Boulton and Watt on the Back.

All Bank of England Banknotes are printed by the Banknote printing major – De La Rue – at their printing facility at Debden, Essex, England.

About George Stephenson (09.06.1781- 12.08.1848):

George Stephenson was born on 09.06.1781 at Wylam in Northumberland.

He was the son of illiterate working class parents. His father worked in the Wylam Colliery and George who grew up strong and sturdy, joined the colliery as a teenager, as the expanding coal industry was providing ample jobs for everyone.

Thereafter, he worked at various other collieries in the area in the early 1800s including the one at Killingworth, north of Newcastle.

He did jobs like driving horses that carry coal carriages on the tramway, picking stones out of the coal and later working on the machines that lift miners up and down into the mine. There is a tale that when one of the veteran miners objected to the teenage George doing the job of working the machines, there was a fist fight that was settled with George winning the fight.

He never went to school, but at the age of 18, he taught himself to read and write and do arithmetic after paying for his own night school education.

He developed such skill with engines that in 1812, he was appointed “engine wright” (or “chief mechanic”) at Killingworth. During this time, he began to piece together and reassemble machines and engines wherever possible and developed an intricate understanding of steam driven machinery.

In 1814, he built a locomotive called “Blucher” (in honour of the Prussian General who had allied with the British and was instrumental in charging at Napoleon’s army at a crucial point in the Battle of Waterloo, when the English army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, was extremely hard-pressed, which led to the defeat of the French army).

The steam engine “Blucher” could haul upto eight wagons loaded with 30 tons of coal at a speed of four miles per hour. This was the beginning of the end of horse-driven long distance transport.

He later improved the engine’s steam system to give it greater pulling power. This made “Blucher” the first fully effective steam railway locomotive. Stephenson’s estimate of the drawing power of his first steam locomotive was “about fifty horses”.

Stephenson went on to develop an improved type of railway track and built more locomotives for Killingworth and other collieries.

In 1819, Stephenson created an eight mile railway in Sunderland, the first railway to be solely machine-powered. He patented his own cast iron rails. When Stephenson found that another person had built better rails, he dropped his own invention and despite costs, built an improved version.

In 1821, he persuaded a businessman who was planning a horse-drawn railway from Stockton-on-Tees to Darlington in Durham County to purchase a steam locomotive for the line.

In 1825, this engine called “Locomotion”, took 450 persons a distance of 25 miles from Darlington to Stockton at a speed of 15 miles per hour. Locomotion on the first trip out was driven by Stephenson himself. This was the first trip of the world’s first public passenger steam train. Also, this was the first public railway in the world. The company set up with his son Robert was the first Company in the World to build locomotives.

The 4 feet 8 ½ inches rail guage built by Stephenson for his trains is also sometimes known as the “Stephenson guage”, and is still the “Standard guage” by name and by convention for most of the world’s railways.

By 1830, Stephenson’s new locomotive, called the “Rocket” could achieve speeds of 36 miles per hour and was operating on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in Lancashire along with other “iron horses” (as these engines were called) which were built in the factory that Stephenson had now opened in New Castle. The inauguration of “Rocket’s” first trip was attended by the British Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington (of the Battle of Waterloo Fame).

Interestingly, as Stephenson’s work grew leaps and bounds, excavations for building railway track across England helped discover coalfields that made him even rich enough to buy large lands and a spacious house.

Stephenson became the first President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

He passed away on 12.08.1848 (i.e. exactly, 110 years before I was born on 12.08.1958).

He had several memorials and educational institutions named after him.

George Stephenson was called the “Father of the Railways” and England during his lifetime and afterwards, considered him to be a shining example of “diligent application and thirst for improvement”.

In 2002, Stephenson was named in the BBC’s list of 100 Greatest Britons, following a UK wide vote, wherein he was placed at number 65.

The Railway Age:

 The Railway Age powered by steam locomotives had now begun and George Stephenson was its guiding force. The inventions he left behind accelerated the industrial revolution which helped build the modern world, by facilitating the transport of raw materials and manufactured goods.

(This Banknote is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Banknote scanned & uploaded and post researched & written by Rajeev Prasad)


Bank of England Banknotes:

1) A Ten Pounds Banknote issued on Charles Dickens (Writer) also depicting a cricket match from his novel "The Pickwick Papers"

2) A Ten Pound Banknote issued on Charles Darwin (English Naturalist) also depicting the HMS Beagle, Darwin's magnifying glass, a humming-bird & flora that he may have seen on his voyage.

3) A Five Pounds Banknote issued on George Stephenson (an Engineer) also depicting "Rocket" his Railway Locomotive and Skeene Bridge on theStockton Darlington Railway (1825) - since withdrawn

Inspirations from Scottish History (Clydesdale Bank Banknotes): 

1) The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Banknotes

Banknotes from Bank of Scotland:
1) Commemorating Sir William Arrol and his creation the Forth Rail Bridge by issues of Britain's first ever 5 Pound Polymer Banknote

2) The Ryder Cup Commemorative Banknote: A 5 Pounds Banknote issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2014 

British Crown Dependencies:

1) Specimen Banknotes from the States of Jersey

2) Coinage and Currency from the States of Jersey

3) Currency & Coinage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

4) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar : An Overseas Territory of Great Britain

5) Coinage of Gibraltar: (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by the Tower Mint, UK in 2010
6) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015

7) The Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.1912 - 15.04.2012): An Alderney Five Pound Coin Commemorating the Maritime Legend

8) "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps brought out in 2013 by Jersey post, the States of Jersey, commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill who played Superman in the Movie

9) Coins & Currency of Bermuda

10) The Bailiwick of Jersey - Presently circulating coinage - Pounds and Pence 

11) St. Helena & Ascension Islands: An Uncirculated Coin Set from 2003 

12) The Legend of the "HMAV Bounty" is interwoven with the heritage of the Pitcairn Islands: An uncirculated coin set from Pitcairn Islands in 2009 depicting the icons/relics of the Bounty minted by the New Zealand Mint 

Famous Battles

1) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to St. Helena: (Part I): A One Crown Commemorative coin issued by the Ascension Island (minted by Pobjoy Mint UK) 

2) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to st. Helena: (Part II) 1) A 5 GBP Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK. 2) A"Drie Landen Zilverset" ( ot the "Three Lands Silver set") containing coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint including coins of Netherlands, Belgium and UK

3) Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain by issuing a 50 Pence coin by the Royal Mint UK

Gold Coins:
1) Gold Sovereigns issued in 2013 & 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, carrying the "I" Mint Mark

2) Gold Half-Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in India in 2014 under licence from the Royal Mint UK bearing the "I" Mint Mark 

Silver Coins:

1) A 20 Pound Silver coin minted for the first timr by the royal Mint UK: reverse design carries the famous St. George slaying the dragon design found on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

 1) East India Company Quarter Anna Copper Coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

2) Victoria Coinage: When she was Queen and afterwards Empress

3) Edward VII: King & Emperor  Coinage

4) George V King Emperor Coinage

5) George VI: The last of the British India Emperors Coinage 

Other British Royalty: 

1) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (1952-2012): A Five Pound Commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

2) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin minted by the Royal Mint UK in 2013, depicting the Imperial State Crown

3) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great British 2012 Coin Set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint UK

4) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013

5) The British Empire:  A Case of Numismatic "segregation": (Guest Post by Rahul Kumar)

6) 1) The Portrait Collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage 2) The Fourth & Final Circulating coinage of the Portrait designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the First Edition of the portrait of the Queen made by Jody Clark

 British Coinage:

1) The contribution of the Great British One-Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the UK (1983 onwards)

2) Transformation of a Five shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five Pence & then the Five Pound Coin

3) Transformation of the Two Shilling Coin (Florin) Coin into the UK Ten Pence

4) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK celebrating the milestone

 Commemorative British Coinage:

 1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dickens: A Two pound coin celebrating his literary contributions during the Victorian Era

 2) Commemorating 50 Years of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - presently called the World Wide Fund for Nature by issue of a Fifty Pence coin by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Coins commemorating London Olympics & Paralympics (2012)

4) Commemorating 150 Years of the London Underground : Two pound Coins minted by the Royal Mint UK, showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel 

5) Commemorating the 100th Birth anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his" Royal Arms" design on a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

6) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal Guidepost to Liberty and Freedom


  1. Pushkin Sinha has commented:
    "Great, revision of historical facts too.In fact the effective system of transportation of arms and ammunition and military too made the English army win at Waterloo and many battles afterwords.
    Your collection of historical facts is really wonderful for all of us."

  2. Reena Ray has commented:
    "Great information.. Thanks for sharing."

  3. Jayashree Mukherjee has commented:
    "Very interesting."