New governor Mark Carney recently confirmed that Austen would appear on the 10-pound note, most likely beginning in 2017.
Bank of England/AP
It’s official – Jane Austen will appear on England’s ten-pound note.
The possibility was originally brought up by departing governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King, who mentioned that Austen was just “waiting in the wings” to take her place on currency. Mark Carney, the new governor, recently confirmed that Austen would appear on the ten-pound note.
“Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes Carney said in a statement. “Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature.”
Controversy had erupted after it was announced that Elizabeth Fry, who worked for reform in the country’s prisons, was being taken off the five-pound note in favor of Winston Churchill. A historical figure being cycled out is nothing unusual – famous people usually appear on British currency for 10 to 20 years – but Fry is the only woman currently appearing on the country’s money other than the queen. Florence Nightingale had been featured in the past, but was the only other woman ever to have been so honored.
Caroline Criado-Perez, a crusader for feminist issues, had said she was considering suing the bank for not upholding the country’s Equality Act and she started a petition on Change.org asking that a woman be represented on the country’s bills which was signed by more than 35,000 people.
Carney said Austen would most likely appear for the first time in 2017 and added that the process by which historical figures are chosen for money would be reviewed.