Emergency Notes

Treasury Note for 10 shillings, 14 August 1914.

Treasury Note for 10 shillings, 14th August 1914.

The government moved swiftly to regulate banking in wartime. On 6th August, the Currency and Banknotes Act came into force.

This authorised the Treasury to produce emergency notes in denominations of ten shillings (50p) and £1. The smallest Bank of England note at this time was £5. The new paper money would be given out in place of sovereigns and half sovereigns, to discourage hoarding of gold.

Scottish banknotes were also made legal tender, for the same reason. They were already issued in values as low as £1.

Treasury notes were initially printed on paper used for postage stamps, and were very simple in design. The signature of the Secretary to the Treasury (bottom right) is very prominent – hence their acquired nickname, ‘Bradburys’.

View the next item in this section, or return to the Outbreak page.