The votes are in. These are the Greatest Britons of all time…

A BBC poll in 2002 crowned Sir Winston Churchill the greatest Briton of all time. More than 20 years later, we asked 50,000 collectors the same thing. Let’s see who took the top spot in 2024…

DN 2024 Greatest Britons survey results email imagecropped - The votes are in. These are the Greatest Britons of all time…

10. Queen Victoria

Taking the throne at just 18 years old, Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 64 years – the second longest reign of any British monarch. Her devotion to her husband, Albert, is well documented, along with her decision to wear black for the rest of her life following his death.

Reigning through the age of great industrial expansion, Queen Victoria is associated with economic growth, empire, trade and industry. She is best known for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

9. Horatio Nelson

Regarded the greatest officer in the history of the Royal Navy, Nelson’s passion for taking risks lost him his sight in one eye, an arm, and ultimately his life at the Battle of Trafalgar, for which he is best known.

8. Diana, Princess of Wales

Once married to the now King Charles III, Princess Diana was patron or president of over 100 charities. Her most notable causes include working to reduce homelessness, spreading awareness of HIV/Aids and campaigning to ban the manufacturing and use of land mines.

Diana was also closely associated with the fashion world, renowned for her style and grace.

7. Alan Turing

‘The father of modern computing’, Turing is best known for his work for the British Intelligence Service at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, including breaking the German Enigma machine.

As a gay man, Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952. In 2013 he was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II, and in recent years was chosen to be the face of the official British £50 note.

6. William Shakespeare

Generally accepted to be the greatest writer and dramatist of all time, Shakespeare’s plays have been immortalised through the ages, originating hundreds of words and phrases that we use in the English language today.

His most notable works include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, the Merchant of Venice and Sonnets.

5. Charles Darwin

Darwin’s theory of natural selection forms the foundations of all modern evolutionary studies. Shocking for religious Victorian Britain, Darwin kept many of his studies private until the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 which has had an enormous impact on Western society and thought.

4. Isaac Newton

The inventor of calculus, Newton’s mark on the scientific world is monumental. However, his greatest contribution is the development of a universal law of gravitation and his laws of motion.

A popular myth tells of an apple falling from a tree in Newton’s garden, which brought Newton to an understanding of forces, particularly gravity.

3. Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Brunel’s lasting legacy has transformed that way we approach engineering, transport and construction. Many of Brunel’s constructions are widely recognisable – e.g. The Great Western Railway, The Clifton Suspension Bridge, and Paddington Station.

2. Queen Elizabeth II

Celebrated for her stability and continuity in an ever-changing world, Queen Elizabeth II symbolised the endurance of the British monarchy through dedication to public service and charity.

She is the longest reigning monarch in British history, and the only one to reach her Platinum Jubilee.

1. Sir Winston Churchill – the greatest Briton of all time.

Churchill is remembered as one of the great wartime leaders of the 20th century, pivotal to the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany. He also won the Nobel Prize in literature and earned great renown for his stirring speeches.

In the year that marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, we’re reminded why Churchill’s indelible mark on British history reigns supreme and why, more than 20 years later, British devotion to Sir Winston Churchill remains steadfast, with 63% of the vote.

So, it seems Sir Winston Churchill is still considered the greatest Briton of all time. Do you agree? In your opinion is anyone missing from this list? Let us know in the comments what you think.

Learn more about these (and other) fascinating figures who’ve made a lasting impact on our great nation with the NEW Greatest Britons Collection.

MicrosoftTeams image 26 1 - The votes are in. These are the Greatest Britons of all time…

Start your no-obligation trial today and own the Sir Winston Churchill Commemorative for FREE – you’ll just pay £2.99 p&p.

The story behind the Winston Churchill £5 Coin

mg 2598 - The story behind the Winston Churchill £5 Coin

Plaster engraving of the new Churchill effigy

This year a brand new £5 coin has been issued to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill, and it features a never-seen-before effigy of the great man.

Designed by renowned sculptor and artist David Cornell FRSA, the new portrait shows a defiant Churchill in military uniform.

I’ve been given a behind the scenes look at the creation of the portrait, and had a quick chat with the artist himself.

David Cornell is perhaps more famous for sculpting members of the Royal family, (he was even commissioned to paint a birthday portrait of the Queen) so I thought I’d ask him about his inspiration behind the new design:

img 0598west2 - The story behind the Winston Churchill £5 Coin

David Cornell FRSA working on the new effigy of Sir Winston Churchill

“Winston Churchill was a major part of my childhood growing up in London during the War, hearing his speeches and seeing photos on posters, which left an indelible impression on me.

“I realised later what a great man he was and his contribution to the War effort, inspiring the people of Great Britain.

“As a portrait artist, it has been a great honour for me to be able to portray him in this tribute to honour his legacy.”

First of all Cornell worked on a plaster engraving of the portrait, making sure it fits the very particular dimensions of a coin.  You can see the fine detail in the picture above, and also the large size of the plaster, which has to be reduced when the die is created to strike the coin.

winston churchill jersey c2a35 coin - The story behind the Winston Churchill £5 Coin

The finished Winston Churchill Jersey £5 Coin

The finished £5 coin also features an inscription of one of Churchill’s famous speeches: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’  Although spoken in reference to the heroes of the Battle of Britain, the quotation was chosen as it represents Churchill’s indomitable spirit during the war.

The coin has been issued on behalf of the Bailiwick of Jersey, and is available now in a range of metals – from an impressive 5oz 22 carat gold version measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, to a highly collectable cupro-nickel version available to all.  I’m sure you’ll agree, it will make a fitting tribute in any collection to our greatest ever Prime Minister.

If you are interested…

the winston churchill c2a35 proof coin boxed - The story behind the Winston Churchill £5 Coin

The new Winston Churchill £5 Coin is available now in a special limited edition Proof version.  Complete with Presentation Case and Certificate of Authenticity.

NOW SOLD OUT – For other Churchill coins please click here

Royal Mint announces new coin themes for 2015

2015 is set to be something of a momentous year for coin collectors, with five significant anniversaries to be commemorated next year. They are:

£2 – The 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta

2015 magna carta - Royal Mint announces new coin themes for 2015marks 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta – an agreement which forced King John to abide by the ancient laws and customs by which England had previously been governed. Literally translated as “Great Charter” it laid the foundations for modern democracy and the rights of English citizens. In fact, it is still cited in many legal cases to this day.

50p – 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britainbattle of britain - Royal Mint announces new coin themes for 2015

Perhaps surprisingly, this will be the first time that the Battle of Britain is commemorated on a United Kingdom coin. In the summer of 1940, Nazi Germany was advancing through Europe, but their failure to gain air superiority over the RAF in Britain was ultimately one of the turning points of the war.

£2 – 100th Anniversary of the First World War – Royal Navy

The second design in the series of First World War £2 coins pays tribute to the role of the Royal Navy. At the time, it was by far the most powerful navy in the world and was a major asset to Britain in defending coastal waters against the Germans.

waterloo - Royal Mint announces new coin themes for 2015 £5 – 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

Also making its debut on United Kingdom coinage for 2015 is the Battle of Waterloo. Fought by the Duke of Wellington and his allied armies against Napoleon Bonaparte of France in 1815, it was a defining moment in European history – ending 20 years of conflict in the continent.

£5 – 50th Anniversary of the Death of Winston Churchill

churchill - Royal Mint announces new coin themes for 2015There are few Britons more worthy of commemoration than the wartime Prime Minister himself, Sir Winston Churchill. Following his death in 1965 he became the first person outside of the Royal family to be commemorated on a coin, and now, fifty years on, he is being honoured again on a new £5 coin.

Next year the Queen is due to become the longest reigning monarch in British history, and there will soon be a new portrait on our coins to honour her. With the final appearance of the long-standing effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and five very noteworthy anniversaries, it already looks like 2015 will be a truly landmark year for coin collectors.