19th March 1980

Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals

Guernsey rolled out new bank notes in mid-March 1980, and one of them was more significant than most.

Not only did the £5 note carry the image of one of Guernsey’s most famous sons, Thomas de la Rue – it was also printed by the company he set up upon leaving the island for London.

Bust of Thomas de la Rue

De La Rue security printers

De La Rue is one of the best known and widest-used security printing firms in the world. It produces stamps, passports and banknotes for many governments and banks, including the Bank of England. It has printing facilities in Loughton (Essex), Gateshead and Bathford (Somerset). Outside of the UK, it operates in the US, UAE, China, India, Kenya, Malta, Angola and Nigeria.

The Loughton site was previously the Bank of England’s own banknote printing facility.

The brown £5 note issued in 1980 was the first Guernsey currency to carry De La Rue’s likeness, but not the last. He featured on a £1 note issued in 2013 to mark the bicentenary of the De La Rue printing works.

Guernsey has used the pound Sterling since 1921.

Where are the women?

All countries update their currency from time to time, often to combat fraud, so Guernsey actually issued a whole new set of banknotes in 1980. Each of them featured a famous man from Guernsey’s past. Sadly, there were no women on any of them, aside from the queen on the front.

Guernsey banknoteThe new green £1 note bore Daniel de Lisle Brock, Bailiff of Guernsey between 1762 and 1842. The blue £10 note carried a picture of Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who was born in Guernsey in 1769, went to Canada. He is credited with saving the country for the empire and shown in front of a sketch of the Battle of Queenston Heights. The red £20 note showed Admiral Lord de Saumarez at the Battle of Gibraltar Bay.

Guernsey banknote image released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license by Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st