AROUND 63 million £50 banknotes bearing the portrait of the first governor of the Bank of England Sir John Houblon are to be withdrawn from circulation.

From April 30, only the £50 note which celebrates the business partnership of entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt, who helped forge the Industrial Revolution, will hold legal tender status, the Bank of England said.

Around 224 million £50 notes worth £11.2 billion are in circulation, of which the Bank estimates 63 million with a total value of £3.2bn are Houblon notes.

Loading article content

From May onwards, retailers are unlikely to accept the Houblon notes, but most banks and building societies will still allow customers to deposit them into their accounts. However, after April 30 it will be at the discretion of individual institutions.

Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and the Post Office will exchange the older-style £50 notes up to the value of £200 until October 30.

All notes issued by the Bank of England are covered by its "promise to pay". It means that people can, at any time, obtain the face value of a note by exchanging it at the Bank in London.

There is no fee and notes can be exchanged by post or in person.