Coventry councillors call for face of world-renowned novelist George Eliot on £50 note - The Coventry Observer

13th Aug, 2022

Coventry councillors call for face of world-renowned novelist George Eliot on £50 note

Editorial Correspondent 24th Oct, 2018 Updated: 24th Oct, 2018

TWO Conservative councillors are calling for the face of world-renowned novelist George Eliot – who spent her formative years in Coventry – to be on the new £50 note.

The Bank of England has announced it will be issuing the new note following speculation the denomination might be discontinued.

The public has been asked to nominate famous and inspirational figures to feature on the note.

Coventry Conservatives leader Gary Ridley and shadow cabinet member for culture Roger Bailey are calling for the Nuneaton-born novelist to appear on the new note.

The call comes amid the Observer’s continuing Bring George Eliot Home campaign which has drawn international attention.

In association with the George Eliot Fellowship, we are calling on Coventry to do more to celebrate the great novelist, her former Coventry home and formative years in the city.

Next year will be 200 years since the birth of the novelist, whose real name is Mary Anne Evans.

The author rose to fame in the nineteenth century with a number of classic novels including titles such as Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss.

Her experiences in Coventry, where she became an associate of philanthropist Charles Bray in her twenties, featured in and influenced her later works – including the enduring classic Middlemarch.

She is widely regarded as one of the greatest novelists in UK history.

The councillors say the move would mark the author’s contribution to society and celebrate Coventry’s status as the City of Culture 2021.

They also believe it’s right the accolade goes to a woman as this year marks 100 years since the granting of women’s suffrage.

Coun Gary Ridley said: “George Eliot was one of the most important writers the country has ever produced.

“She should be honoured on the new £50 note because of the important contribution she made to our national story.

“Next year will be 200 years since the birth of the author who assumed a male sounding name to help her succeed in a male dominated environment.”

Coun Roger Bailey said: “George Eliot is one of our nation’s finest literary figures and we should be really proud of this dazzling writer.

“She has very strong links to our city and produced some of her most valuable work at her Bird Grove house in the city.

“I’d urge the Bank of England to give her serious consideration.”

The councillors have set up a petition on website change.org which they hope will demonstrate strong support from across the UK and not just in Coventry.

They’re also hoping to recruit the support of other organisations and individuals to raise the profile of the campaign.

To sign the petition visit: www.change.org/p/hm-treasury-put-george-eliot-on-the-new-50-note

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