A petition to put an image of gay computer pioneer and Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing on the next £10 note has been launched, securing over a thousand signatures in its first day.
The petition, published on the government’s e-petitions website, reads: “Alan Turing is a national hero. His contribution to computer science, and hence to the life of the nation and the world, is incalculable. The ripple-effect of his theories on modern life continues to grow, and may never stop.
“The current Bank of England £10 notes are Series E, but Series F notes are already in circulation for some denominations. We therefore call upon the Treasury to request the Bank of England to consider depicting Alan Turing when Series F £10 banknotes are designed.”
Historical figures have featured on the reverse of banknotes since the 1970s and the final choice for whom to represent lies with the Governor of the Bank of England.
The Bank of England’s website says: “It is usual practice to consider a number of probable candidates all of whom have been selected because of their indisputable contribution to their particular field of work and about whom there exists sufficient material on which to base a banknote design.”
The Bank of England publishes a list of public figures whose names have been suggested for inclusion on bank notes, which already features Alan Turing.
Turing died in 1954, ingesting cyanide two years after being prosecuted and chemically castrated for homosexuality.
In 2009, after a campaign led by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry, Peter Tatchell and supported by PinkNews.co.uk, 30,805 people demanded that the then prime minister Gordon Brown issue an apology for Turing’s treatment on behalf of the British government. Mr Brown agreed to do so.
A recent petition calling for him to be pardoned was rejected however, as the World War Two codebreaker had been “properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence”, Justice Minister Lord McNally said, though it “now seems both cruel and absurd”.