Winston Churchill meets Lady Godiva

Two famous British people were brought together in an unusual manner today: Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Godiva.

Lady Godiva’s fame dates back over 900 years. She lived in the 11th century, was the first woman to be mentioned in the Domesday Book and was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry. She was highly regarded in her time for her generosity and has since probably been most famous (or infamous) for a naked horse ride (an adventure of which there is no solid proof) around the streets of Coventry. More recently, her name was adopted by Cockney rhyming slang, to mean fiver, a casual name for a five pound note.

Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister twice and is most remembered for leading the country to victory in World War 2. He was deemed an inspirational statesman, writer and orator, is remembered for some great quotes and is named by many people as the most famous Brit.

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Today, Churchill has made a stately appearance on a new Lady Godiva. The five pound note has been reissued in a slighter smaller size in tough polymer material: the new notes have extra security on board and should be longer lasting than the old notes. Five pound notes are very popular with consumers and experience a life of very heavy usage so we may well be delighted by these new tougher and younger-looking notes.

I got my first bundle of the new notes this morning and headed off to spend them and see what reaction I got.   Most retailers knew it was on its way and were delighted to see the new design.  I used it to buy a tasty coffee at one of my favourite coffee shops in Manchester: Grindsmith on Deansgate.

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If you’re travelling in Britain from a non sterling country, don’t worry if you still get given old notes.  Both types of note will be accepted for the next year, and even if you end up with with some old notes tucked away in drawers after that date, you’ll still be able to exchange them for new ones at a bank.

This change means goodbye to Elizabeth Fry, but we will see another woman feature on our notes next year, when Jane Austen makes her appearance on the new polymer £10 note.


aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 13 September 2016




14 thoughts on “Winston Churchill meets Lady Godiva

  1. Whatever happened to the Wilson dollar, as Aussies called the octogonal 50p coin? Is it still in use?


    1. Tut tut! We are getting a woman on our next new note – but I don’t think it will get you very excited!

      On Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 10:49 PM, Travel with Intent wrote:



      1. So are we. The new $20 will feature Harriet Tubman. The outright racist and sexist remarks make me ashamed to be an American and a man.


      2. Embarrasingly, I had never heard of her. Just read her bio – an amazing character, but always sad to read about that period in history.

        On Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 11:54 PM, Travel with Intent wrote:



    1. It looks pleasant but the challenge will be getting used to the feel. It is not terribly plastic in feel, but there is a transparent area but feels slightly “sticky”

      On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 11:08 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie, I read this and thought ‘I don’t remember hearing Lady Godiva was on the new note’… I scoured the image trying to see her, and couldn’t… I even thought she may have been a statue on the watermark. Then it struck me. She was the fiver. I did read it. I just didn’t read it properly… ! 😀
    Long days…


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