They are some of the most important and “noteworthy” figures in British history. But according to a new survey, more than half of Brits (six in ten) cannot identify the famous faces who appear on our banknotes.
Researchers presented 2,000 adults with images of the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes.
However just one in three were able to name philanthropist and social reformer Elizabeth Fry who is the face of the £5, with 28 percent of those polled thinking it was “The Lady with the Lamp” Florence Nightingale.
A further 10 percent thought the face belonged to Queen Victoria, while 21 percent admitted that they had no idea who she was.
Almost 35 percent failed to identify naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin, the founding father of evolutionary theory, who features on the £10 note.
Eight percent thought Darwin was engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, while 5 percent thought he was German born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.
Three quarters were unaware economist Adam Smith’s face is on the £20, with 14 percent thinking it was civil engineer George Stevenson, while 13 percent thought the Duke of Wellington featured and 4 percent thought the £10 note featured German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Vix Leyton of cash back site Quidco, which carried out the study, said: “The research shows that Brits have an appetite for immortalising some more recent British Icons on our bank notes, and despite the worthiness of our current line up, it might be time for a refresh.
“This lack of knowledge could, in part, be explained by the rapid move towards a cashless society - exchanging bank notes is not quite so commonplace as it once was. Apple Pay and Contactless have made it so convenient to pay directly via your bank that making sure you always cash is no longer a necessity. Obviously this could mean that people don’t have so tight a grip on what they are spending.
“Considered spending, whether using cash or not, is absolutely vital to budgeting - and one way to ensure you get the best for your money is to utilise cashback, whether online or in-store, to make shopping pay.”
One in three knew manufacturers Matthew Boulton and James Watt featured on the £50 but 14 percent thought it was French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch the German founder of bacteriology.
1960s British comedy duo Michael Flanders and Donald Swan were also mentioned (3 percent), while one percent suggested 80s comedy duo Hale and Pace were the faces in question.
The study also revealed 34 percent of those questioned felt that more current figures should feature on the notes, while 77 percent felt that more women should be recognised on our currency.
The panel also revealed a list of names of people they would like to see honoured, including The Beatles, Cilla Black and JK Rowling.
Vix Leyton of cash back site Quidco, said; “It is absolutely fantastic to see some of Britain’s best authors and artists making the top of the list, alongside national treasures like Cilla, who have made Britain world famous for creative talent with work that will live on for generations to come.”
Who Brits would like to see on banknotes:
(in order of votes)
Roald Dahl 27%
The Beatles 26%
Jane Austen 26%
JK Rowling 14%
Cilla Black 13%
Jessica Ennis Hill 10%
David Beckham 10%
Joanna Lumley 8%
Tom Jones 8%
Ant and Dec 7%
Shirley Bassey 6%
Tony Benn 6%
Simon Cowell 4%
Benedict Cumberbatch 3%
Frank Bruno 3%