Jane Austen on English money common 'Sense and Sensibility'


Whoever replaces Bank of England Governor Mervyn King will hope to win higher praise.


Carl Court

Talk about "Persuasion."

After much public shaming, the Bank of England has announced that Jane Austen is "waiting in the wings" and will appear on the 10-pound note.

Not only that, should Winston Churchill fail to live up to expectations with the fiver, Austen will be thrust into duty early.

Bankers opted for "Sense and Sensibility" after politicians banded together and asked why there are never any women, other than the queen, on English money. Nearly 30,000 people signed a petition as a result.

Churchill is set to replace prison reformer Elizabeth Fry in 2016, meaning an all-male cast that also includes economist Adam Smith and steam engine inventors Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

That prompted outgoing Bank of England governor Mervyn King to reassure the public on Tuesday there's no male "Pride and Prejudice" at work.

"I think it's extremely unlikely that we will ever find ourselves in a position where there are no women among the historical figures on our banknotes," he said. "Jane Austen is quietly waiting in the wings."

Work has already begun on Austen's debut, King added.

The Bank of England works on two new faces simultaneously to avoid any technical glitches delaying production. Should something arise with Churchill, Austen would appear on the five-pound note instead, Sky News said.

What made the issue more pressing is that only the Queen, Fry and Florence Nightingale have ever appeared in the valued position. Public figures have appeared on English money since the 1970s.

Darwin currently occupies the 10-pound note, and there's no word on when he will relinquish his seat to Austen.

Mark Carney, who takes over from King on Monday from the Bank of Canada, will make that decision.

Reuters contributed to this report.