North Ireland’s (NI) new 50-pound banknote, which celebrates some of its accomplished women, was put into circulation by Ulster Bank on 15 June 2022.

The £50 banknote depicts Northern Ireland’s industries including aerospace, ship building, linen mills, and the film industry. It specifically features NI women—some famous, others not—whose work has been critical to advancing science and the trades.  

Substrate and security features

The new note measures 139 x 73mm and is printed by De La Rue, on DLR’s SAFEGUARD® polymer substrate. Both sides of the note are printed in a vertical orientation.

All security features are provided by De La Rue and include:

  • UV images (on both sides)
  • Two windows
  • A holographic stripe that secures both sides of the banknote with advanced DEPTH™ and PUREIMAGE™ effects
  • Enhanced GEMINI™ print feature
  • A tactile embossing feature, to help the visually impaired identify the note.

Front side of banknote

Face of banknote, shown under reflected and UV light

The face of the note features Dame Jocelyn Bell, considered one of the world’s foremost astrophysicists. The image represents her iconic 1967 discovery of pulsars–spherical, compact objects that are about the size of a large city but contain more mass than the sun. In 1974 the discovery earned the Nobel prize for physics–which went not to Dame Bell, but to her male PhD supervisor. She has since been a trailblazing advocate for women and the marginalised in science. She was also the first woman to serve as president of the Institute of Physics.

The face of the note also portrays “Millies,” women working at a loom, as a nod to the unsung heroes of NI’s world renowned linen industry.

Back side of banknote

Reverse side of banknote, shown under reflected and UV light

On the back side of the note are images of flora and fauna found in NI, including a pine martin, a cryptic wood butterfly, and gorse. There are also images of NI’s ship building and aviation industries, the creative sector, and NI’s reputation for excellence in cybersecurity.


Banknote Industry News

Banknote News

NatWest Group (Press Release)

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