Back in 2009 we reported on the launching of the Brixton Pound, a new local currency in south London. This article describes a newly
issued design. -Editor
To celebrate five years of the Brixton Pound, the capital's only local currency, the organisation commissioned artist Jeremy Deller to
design a new B£5 note. The result is both psychedelic and political and continues to challenge more traditional approaches to banknote design...
A handful of other local currencies currently exist in the UK – in Totnes, Lewes, Stroud and, from 2012, Bristol. "It's a
simple premise – [it's a] local currency that can only be used in independent local businesses," explains Charlie Waterhouse,
creative director of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, the studio that designed the second series of the Brixton Pound notes in 2011 and
oversaw the new Deller note.
"You buy a coffee in an independent café and the money probably goes to the people who are serving you," Waterhouse adds.
"You buy a coffee in a chain, and the money probably goes to City shareholders. It's a more virtuous circulation of
The Brixton Pound initiative was started by volunteers from the Transition Town Brixton community-led organisation. In TARR's
redesign of the currency in 2011 – see our story here – the studio incorporated images of some of the areas most respected sons and
daughters: David Bowie features on the B£10 note (above); Chicago Bulls basketball player, Luol Deng, on the regular B£5; and WWII spy,
Violette Szabo, on the B£20. Len Garrison, the co-founder of the Black Cultural Archives appears on the B£1 note.
According to the Brixton£, Deller's new design "adds a significant and provocative message that reflects our intention to raise
the conversation of how we understand, use and value money in this time of economic instability and what we could aspire to in the
"On two small sides of paper it provides an utterly compelling response to Austerity Kool-Aid," adds Waterhouse. "It
simultaneously challenges and inspires, perfectly enunciating the positivity inherent in much of the grassroots response and resistance to
the current economic situation." The new design also reflects some of the innovations that the Brixton Pound has brought in over the
last few years, such as pay-by-text and contactless payment across the 300-odd independent businesses that take the currency.
"The new Brixton Pound fiver drives home the simple fact that we can all make positive choices around our spending," adds
To read the complete article, see:
Jeremy Deller designs new banknote for the Brixton
For more information on the Brixton Pound, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BRIXTON POUND LAUNCHED (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n38a29.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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