Exploring the new £5 notes

With the new £5 note going into circulation last week, we decided to have a closer look. One exciting feature of the new Fiver is that it is made from polymer – a type of thin, clear plastic film with the design printed on special layers of ink. It is 15% smaller than the previous £5 note.


The note features Winston Churchill and a view of the palace of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower (better knows as Big Ben). The time on the clock face is set at 3 o’clock, the time he made his well known “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ speech in the House of Commons, quoted on note itself. The tower is printed in gold on the front of the note and silver on the back.

new £5 note

There is also see through window, of which the border changes from purple to green when the note is tilted and a hologram contains the word ‘Five’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when tilted. A green foil hologram of the maze at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s birthplace, also features on the note. Further interesting features include lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait which is only visible with a microscope and the lettering ‘Bank of England’ is printed in raised ink along the top of the note.


There have been 440 million £5 notes printed and it is expected that they will last 2.5 times longer than paper notes. The nature of polymer means that it is waterproof and more resistant to dirt so the new notes will stay cleaner for longer. They are also more durable.


When the new notes reach the end of their life they will be recycled into new plastic products, making them more environmentally friendly than the existing ones.


Image credit: Huffington Post