Alexander Graham Bell commemorative £1 note, 1997

This note celebrated the birth in Edinburgh of Alexander Graham Bell, pioneer of the telephone.

It was the first banknote in the EU to carry a hologram. Other features included:

  • Alexander Graham Bell's portrait, name and dates
  • images of his famous work with telephones, including telephone users, a wave signal for 'telephone' and a schematic drawing of a receiver
  • representations of other scientific pursuits that occupied Bell, including birds, which he studied to understand flight; sheep, which helped him to understand genetics; and geometric shapes, with which he experimented to develop engineering structures
  • above all else, Bell saw himself as a teacher of the deaf. It is not surprising that this was so important to him, because his own wife was deaf. In honour of this work, the note shows Mrs Bell, as well as representations of sign language and the phonetic alphabet that Bell's father had developed.