Elgar £20 notes withdrawn

The £20 English banknotes featuring Sir Edward Elgar have been withdrawn by the Bank of England and are no longer accepted in shops.

The Bank of England has been gradually phasing out the Elgar notes since 2007, replacing them with new notes featuring 18th-century economist Adam Smith.

The first Elgar notes, displaying the composer and Worcester Cathedral, where his Enigma Variations were premiered, were issued in June 1999.

Elgar’s removal from the £20 banknote has been called a ‘national disgrace’ by Jeremy Dibble, a music professor at Durham University, since the arts now no longer feature on Bank of England notes. "Dropping Elgar tells us much about the way in which the arts are now viewed in England. Bank notes should applaud the greatest aspects of England and English culture... Science and economics are important but so too are the arts."

Do you think we should have a musician or other arts representative on one of our banknotes? Who would you choose? Tell us your thoughts below...

Martin Miller says: 'I would love to see conductor Vernon Handley on a Bank of England note. He was a huge champion of British music and did so much for it. He has worked with many of our top orchestras and has provided us with some of the most wonderful music making of some of the most wonderful music from these shores.'

Michaela Cocolin says she's 'so sad to see Elgar going'.

Which countries around the world feature musicians on their banknotes?


Composer, conductor and violinist Carl Nielsen appears on the 100 Krone note.



The 50 Swedish Krona note features 19th-century opera singer Jenny Lind on one side and a silver harp on the other.



Another opera singer, Kirsten Flagstad, appears on the 100 Norwegian Krone note, along with Norwegian National Opera.



The 20 Swiss Franc note features composer Arthur Honegger.



Violinist and composer George Enescu is featured on the 5 Lei note.



Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian soprano of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, whose name is associated with four foods including Melba toast and the dessert Peach Melba, is on the $100 note.


Before their adoption of the Euro, several European countries featured national composers on their banknotes, including:

Austria – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Finland – Jean Sibelius

France – Claude Debussy

Germany – Clara Schumann