Bank of England unveils new plastic Churchill £5 note

 An employee holding up the new polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Britain, on June 2, 2016.
An employee holding up the new polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Britain, on June 2, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, addresses a press conference to unveil the new design for the British 20-pound note on April 22, 2016.
Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, addresses a press conference to unveil the new design for the British 20-pound note on April 22, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The Bank of England on Thursday (June 2) unveiled the design of a new £5 (S$10) banknote bearing the image of wartime leader Winston Churchill at an event in his family's ancestral home of Blenheim Palace.

The note, to be rolled out from September, is the first to be printed on polymer - a thin, flexible plastic film that is seen as more durable and secure and is already used in Australia and Canada.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney paid tribute to Churchill's "bulldog spirit" and said currency was "memory for a country and its people".

The banknote carries a famous Churchill quote from a speech to parliament during World War II in 1940 in which he said: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat".

In the background is an image of the Houses of Parliament, its clock tower showing 3pm - the approximate time he pronounced his speech.

Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on Nov 30, 1874. He died aged 90 on Jan 24, 1965.

The new note will be 15 per cent smaller than the old one, can be wiped clean and is tear-resistant.

Current £5 notes feature prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and the announcement that they would be phased out sparked a public outcry over the lack of female figures on banknotes - except for Queen Elizabeth II.

Following a protest petition, the Bank of England announced the new £10 note, which will come out from 2017, will feature novelist Jane Austen.

The new £20 will have artist J. M. W. Turner.