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The Bank of England has unveiled the design for the new £10 note at Winchester Cathedral, featuring one of the greatest English writers of all time, Jane Austen.

The launch took place on 18 July 2017, marking the 200-year anniversary of Austen’s death in the cathedral where she is buried. Jane Austen replaces Charles Darwin on the £10 note and is currently the only woman to be featured on a circulating English bank note beside Queen Elizabeth II. This will be the 6th edition of the £10 note and the second to feature a woman, the first being Florence Nightingale.

During her life Jane Austen had four published books. Despite not being widely acknowledged during her lifetime, her books gained huge popularity after 1869 and again during the 20th century. Since her death, two further novels have been published and she remains firmly on the curriculum for English Literature programmes even today, with her novels translated into over 40 languages.

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There will be an array of differences to the old £10 note, the first of which is the substrate itself. The new note is smaller than the current banknote and will be the second Bank of England note to be printed on polymer instead of paper. The Bank is in the process of upgrading the £5, £10 and £20 notes to polymer with the £5 note released in 2016. The new banknotes will be ‘cleaner, safer and stronger, and resistant to curry’, joked Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, as he introduced the note to a full crowd at Winchester.

The Governor also explained that the note is being made to be as inclusive as possible. Alongside updated security features, the note features braille for the visually impaired, with two clusters of raised dots added to the left corner of the note. The £10 note will be the first Bank of England note to have this feature.

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As a celebration of Jane Austen’s achievements the aesthetics of the note have been drawn from aspects of her life and work. A quote from one of her most famous books, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, is placed on the back of the note.

‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading’ – Jane Austen

The portrait of Jane Austen is based on an engraving by Willian Home Lizars, created using a sketch by her sister Cassandra. The note also shows an image of Godmersham Park, the home of her brother Edward Austen Knight, recognised as the inspiration for many of her works.

The note will also has a number of security features to deter would-be counterfeiters. These include an image of Winchester Cathedral which is gold on the front and silver on the back of the note, mirroring the effect on the polymer £5 which depicts the Elizabeth Tower. The note also incorporates a copper foil patch in the shape of a book and a colour-shifting quill is also added beside the transparent window containing a portrait of the Queen and micro lettering.

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Speaking at the cathedral, the Governor reminded attendees that JMW Turner will appear on the new polymer £20 note that is due to be released by 2020, while no decision has yet been made on the substrate and subject for the £50 note.

The new £10 note is due to enter circulation on 14 September 2017.

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