The face of British mathematician Alan Turing will become the face of England’s new £50 note, and is possibly the very first time an openly LGBTQ person will appear on a banknote in England.
The Bank of England unveiled the portrait depicting Turing and his work which was chosen by the Banknote Character Advisory Committee following 227,299 public nominations to celebrate the field of science on the £50 note. Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, said that 989 people in the field of
science were eligible to have their faces printed on the new polymer £50 note.
“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” said Carney.
“As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and path-breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand”.
Renowned British gay activist Peter Tatchell welcomed the news. “This is a much-deserved accolade for one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century,” he proclaimed.
“Turing’s Enigma code-breaking helped defeat the Nazis and thereby shortened the Second World War, saving millions of lives. As a pioneer of computing science, his theories laid the foundation of the modern world, including everything from the internet and email to mobile phones, space exploration
and life-saving medical technologies,” said Tatchell.
In 1952, Turing was arrested for homosexuality and was chemically castrated. Undergoing forced oestrogen hormone injection treatment for the period of about a year before taking his own life by cyanide poisoning at the young age of 41.
In 2009 Gordon Brown issued Turing an apology on behalf of the British government. In 2013 he was given an official posthumous royal pardon by the Queen. His mistreatment paved the way for more than 60,000 men to be pardon by the UK government though the legislation known as Turing’s Law, for
convictions under past laws that made consensual gay sex illegal.
The new £50 note with Alan Turing’s face is expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021.