Jane Austen Will Appear on £10 Note

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Jane Austen will be the new face of the Bank of England’s £10 note. The announcement, issued yesterday by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, puts an end to a heated campaign from petitioners hoping to see more women - besides the Queen - featured on British currency.  Austen will replace Charles Darwin, who has graced the £10 note since the early 2000s.

The new £10 note will prominently feature the classic portrait of Austen drawn by her sister Cassandra.  It will also include images of her writing desk and quills at Chawdon House, where she lived, her brother’s home Godmersham Park, where she often visited, and a quote from Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

The Bank of England came under a firestorm of controversy when it announced earlier this year that Winston Churchill would replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note in 2016.  Fry and Florence Nightingale were the only two women to have appeared on Bank of England currency since it started including historical figures in the 1970s.  Feminist blogger Caroline Criado-Perez quickly launched a Change.org petition and accompanying campaign that threatened to take the Bank of England to court for discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act.  The petition attracted over 35,000 signatures.

The Bank of England’s Jane Austen announcement was greeted favorably by the campaigners.  The Bank also announced that it will undergo a review of its selection measures in the hopes of increasing the diversity of historical figures displayed on its currency.

The new £10 note will first be issued in 2017.
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