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The E-Sylum (9/22/2013)

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The Huffington Post tried using a Freedom of Information request to learn what alternate designs the Bank of England had in mind when it chose Jane Austen to grace the next five pound note. It wasn’t successful. -Editor

Huffington Post banknote mockup The Bank Of England has refused to reveal the two other figures it considered featuring on banknotes instead of Jane Austen and Winston Churchill.

After a Freedom of Information request from the Huffington Post UK, the Bank disclosed that "two other candidates" were considered by officials in April 2012, when they chose Churchill and Austen as "contingency characters" for future print runs of UK banknotes.

The Bank revealed in April that Churchill would start featuring on UK £5 banknotes from 2016, while then governor Mervyn King told MPs that Austen was "waiting in the wings" to be featured on UK £10 banknotes. The decision to include the 19th century author on £10 banknotes from 2017 was confirmed by King's successor Mark Carney this June.

Banknote campaigners have called for greater female representation. Labour leader Ed Miliband said in June: "Why don't we have one of our great women scientists like Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and a suffragette like Emmeline Pankhurst on our banknotes?"

Despite the rush of banknote announcements, Bank Secretary John Footman directed bank officials to avoid revealing the identity of the other two candidates in order to protect the "free and frank provision of advice".

"The decision as to the design of a banknote rests with the Governor upon advice from amongst others the Chief Cashier and Notes Division, and is guided, among other things by suggestions from members of the public, which the Bank encourages and publishes on its website. Inevitably publication of the remaining names on the 2012 shortlist would create a presumption in the public mind that these would be the next to appear on a banknote, and that the Bank's mind was therefore closed to further suggestions," the Bank said.

Apparently unwilling to let a lack of facts get in the way of a story, the publication mocked up its own suggestions for other women banknote subjects. One is pictured above. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Bank Of England Refuses To Name Mystery Alternatives To Jane Austen Banknote (

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