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A BIT OF A DO

01-06-2009

New £50 note

The Stirrer broke the news at the weekend that Matthew Boulton will become the first Brummie to appear on a banknote. Our correspondent James “You” Watt, saw the governor of the Bank of England make the shock announcement.

I had the ‘privilege’ of being invited to the auspicious surroundings of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for the launch of the Matthew Boulton Festival this last Friday… and anybody who was nobody was there.

Free wine,council taxpayers will be glad to know,was definitely house standard and there wasn’t a canapé in sight.However there were some excellent ingredients for an almighty punch up… free booze on an empty stomach with Mike Whitby and Martin Mullaney in the blue corner and Randall Brew and Ray Hassall in the even bluer corner.Amply qualified to referee was the rare appearance of Albert Bore who was taking a well earnt rest from the almost indigestible delights of the Brussels gravy train.

However perhaps the most bizaare aspect of the whole night was the appearance of the ‘Guvnor’ of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. A bizarre choice on the basis that Matthew Boulton,’a Brummie’ was the mastermind behind coinage as we know it today.

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter Mint was then the subsequent successor before London decided that the Royal Mint would take over the role of minting sterling coinage with the sort of tendering conjuring tricks which are currently ensuring that Birmingham firms are losing out on the much publicised 2012 London Olympic business opportunities.

The ‘Guvnor’s’ final speech ‘faux pas’ was to proudly inform the enraptured audience that he now saw more £50 notes than ever before – that’s nice to know when the rest of us are struggling and presumably this is also a byproduct of the reducing value of British currency thanks to Her Majesty’s Government and Her Bank….thanks Bank of England….Matthew Boulton would be turning in his grave!

He rounded off his presentation by announcing, to gasps from the audience,that the next £50 note would feature Matthew Boulton. There were even more gasps when he announced that all guests would be given one on the way out as a momento to the occasion! ( Okay..I made the last bit up although if it the event had been at the House of Parliament…who knows?).

To see our article about Matthew Boulton's appearance on the £50 note, click here

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