Chris Salmon, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier (whose signature appears on the new note), visited Watt’s Cottage in the estate and saw a display on the inventor in Kinneil Museum. He also handed over a larger version of the new £50 note to put on display in the museum.
The new Bank of England note portrays the Scottish engineer alongside business associate Matthew Boulton. Watt went into partnership with Boulton in the late 18th century – after an earlier partnership with local industrialist Dr John Roebuck hit financial problems.
Dr. Roebuck, who lived at Kinneil House, had invested in Watt to improve the steam engine to help pump water out of local coal mines. Sadly, Roebuck’s leased pits continued to flood, he went bankrupt and had to pass his share of Watt’s patent to Boulton, in lieu of a debt he couldn’t pay. And so the partnership of Watt and Boulton was born.
Representatives from The Friends of Kinneil charity told Mr Salmon the story when he visited the estate today (November 11).
The Boulton and Watt £50 banknote has a number of notable firsts. The new note is the first time two portraits have appeared together on the back of a Bank of England banknote. It is also the first note to be signed by Mr Salmon (pictured above), who was appointed as the Bank’s Executive Director for Banking Services and Chief Cashier in April 2011.
He said: “The Boulton and Watt £50 banknote has new and enhanced security features which demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to its role of maintaining public confidence in the currency. The motion thread security feature is one of the new measures which should help members of the public to identify genuine £50 banknotes.”
Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, said: “The Bank is delighted to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that Boulton and Watt made to the advancement of engineering by featuring them on the new £50 banknote. Boulton and Watt’s steam engines and their many other innovations were essential factors in the nation’s Industrial Revolution. The partnership of an innovator and an entrepreneur created exactly the kind of commercial success that we will need in this country as we rebalance our economy over the years ahead.”
Find out more
** Background on the new banknote
** James Watt at Kinneil
** Watt’s it all about – more about James Watt
** James Watt on Wikipedia
** The James Watt story (flash presentation) on the Science Museum website
Chris Salmon (left) with Cllr Adrian Mahoney and the new note in front of the James Watt display at Kinneil Museum.
From left, Madelene Hunt, the chair of Bo’ness Community Council; Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil; Chris Salmon, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier; Cllr Adrian Mahoney, vice-chair of Falkirk Community Trust; and Geoff Bailey, the Trust’s keeper of archaeology and local history – with the new Bank of England £50 note, portraying inventor James Watt, outside James Watt’s Cottage in Kinneil Estate.
(Pictures courtesy Lisa Evans, Falkirk Council.)