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Bank of England persuaded by online petition

Change.org set up a petition that was signed by 35,000 people. Credit: change.org

The Bank of England was persuaded by an online petition started by a freelance journalist on the campaign site change.org, after it announced Elizabeth Fry would be replaced by Winston Churchill on £5 notes. Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who started the petition, said:

"Without this campaign, without the 35,000 people who signed our Change.org petition, the Bank of England would have unthinkingly airbrushed women out of history."

Austen bank note to feature Pride and Prejudice quote

One of the world's most popular female authors, Jane Austen, will soon be immortalised on our bank notes, the Bank of England confirmed.

Announcing the decision, new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said:

Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature.

As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and in future, Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields.

The new £10 note, which will be issued by 2017, will feature the following:

  • A portrait of Austen, commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh in 1870, adapted from an original sketch of Austen by her sister Cassandra
  • An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking "The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her”– from a drawing by Isabel Bishop
  • The image of Godmersham Park, home of Austen's brother and believed to be an inspiration for many of her novels
  • An image of Jane Austen's writing table and quills
  • The following quote:

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!

– Miss Bingley, Chapter 11, Pride and Prejudice

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Austen bank note 'a fantastic day for people power'

Campaigners have hailed the Bank of England decision to have author Jane Austen appear on the new £10 note as "a brilliant day for women and a fantastic one for people power."

A 35,000-name petition was presented to the Bank in the wake of the decision to put Sir Winston Churchill on £5 notes in place of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry - one of only two female selections since historical figures were introduced in 1970.

Caroline Criado-Perez, who set up the petition on campaign site Change.org, said:

Without this campaign, without the 35,000 people who signed our Change.org petition, the Bank of England would have unthinkingly airbrushed women out of history.

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