On November 12, 1984, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson called time on the pound note after 187 years.
Lawson said the note, first issued in 1797 in response to shortages of gold coins during the French Revolutionary wars, would be phased out following the introduction of the £1 coin in April 1983.
Although the pound note was expected to be withdrawn soon after the coins became legal tender, the £1 coins and notes had existed side-by-side for 18 months after Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had told MPs in the Commons that the new coin was not very popular.
Lawson, giving his Autumn Budget Statement to the House, pointed out that while the coins were slightly more expensive to produce, they did last more than 50 times longer than their paper equivalents – some 40 years for coins as opposed to just nine months for the paper banknotes.
The Chancellor said that the last pound notes would be issued at the end of 1984, and that the notes would cease to be legal tender at the end of 1985. That date was later amended and the last pound note – featuring Sir Isaac Newton – wasn’t withdrawn from circulation until March 1988.