Britain is set to honour Winston Churchill, its revered war-time prime minister, with a banknote featuring his portrait and the famous declaration: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”.
Mervyn King, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, announced the plan on Friday after travelling to Churchill’s home Chartwell in Kent, southern England, to present the design to his family.
Churchill’s image will appear on a new £5 note to be issued in 2016.
“Sir Winston Churchill was a truly great British leader, orator and writer. Above that, he remains a hero of the entire free world,” King, who is to be replaced in July by Canadian Mark Carney, told members of the Churchill family.
But the Bank of England said that while the plan was for Churchill to feature on the £5 note, that decision had not been finalised.
The blue-green design sets Churchill, who as prime minister led the country to victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, against the backdrop of Westminster and the Nobel Prize medal which he won for literature in 1953.
Churchill, no stranger to the British currency after his face was emblazoned on a five shilling piece in the 1960s, joins the ranks of Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens who have all adorned banknotes in the past.
Queen Elizabeth II always appears on one side of each of Britain’s four denominations of bank notes, while famous Britons take their turn for 10- to 20-year stints on the overleaf.
This will be the third change of bank note announced under King, who has been in the job for 10 years.
The governor brought fellow economist Adam Smith onto the £20 note and the inventors of the steam engine to the £50 note.
The “blood, toil, tears and sweat” quotation, one of the most famous from Churchill’s huge repertoire and taken from his first speech as prime minister in 1940, will be inscribed beneath a portrait photograph taken in 1941.
The current batch of notes features prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, naturalist Charles Darwin, economist Smith and Matthew Boulton and James Watt, inventors of the steam engine.
Banknotes have had historical figures on them for about 40 years, but Churchill will be only the second prime minister after the Duke of Wellington to feature on a note and one of only a few individuals from the 20th century. [AlJazeera]