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Less than four months to spend paper £10 notes

If you have a stash of paper tenners, it’s time to dig them out – the Bank of England has announced these notes will cease being legal tender on 1 March. The paper-based ?10 note will be withdrawn, to be replaced by the polymer design featuring Jane Austen which was launched earlier this year. Find out what the changeover means for your notes and what will happen to old tenners.

Paper ?10 note withdrawn

As of 1 March 2018, you’ll no longer be able to spend the old ?10 note in shops or businesses. The paper-design, which features evolution theorist Charles Darwin, will cease to be legal tender – meaning you can no longer use it to pay for goods or services. But don’t go on a spending spree just yet.

After the cut-off, it’s likely banks and post offices may still accept the out-dated notes for a limited time. Indeed, after the paper-based fiver was withdrawn[1] in May, most banks allowed their customers to deposit old notes directly into their accounts or swap them for new ones. The Bank of England will also continue to exchange withdrawn notes for legal tender free of charge, no matter how old the note, under their currency guarantee.

As of October 2017, around 55% of the ?10 notes in circulation were polymer. Over coming months, the 359 million paper-based tenners still in the market will be gradually rolled back, the Bank of England confirmed.

New Jane Austen design for ?10 note

The paper-style note, which was first launched in November 2000, is being replaced by a hard-wearing plastic version featuring beloved author Jane Austen. The polymer note was released to the public on 14 September.

Among other counterfeiting measures, it features[2] micro-lettering, colour-changing designs, a see-through window and a hologram which changes from ‘ten’ to ‘pounds’. Like other polymer designs, it is impossible to rip and water-resistant. Over recent years, the Bank of England has been rolling out polymer notes to replace the less secure, easily-damaged paper versions.

The paper ?5 note[3] featuring Elizabeth Fry ceased being legal tender on 5 May 2017, and a new ?20 polymer note is due to be released in 2020. At this stage, the Bank of England has not confirmed whether the ?50 will also be updated.

Are my paper-based tenners valuable?

It’s quite rare to find a banknote that is considered a collector’s item – but in some cases, a note may fetch a premium price. Many collectors seek out rare serial numbers which indicate that a note is among the first of its print run – for example, AA000200 or lower.

Unusual serial numbers featuring patterns can also be sought-after, for example, 123456 or 888888, especially if the numbers are considered ‘lucky.’

But generally collectors will expect notes to be in mint condition.

So unless your note is incredibly rare, it’s unlikely to attract much interest if it’s torn, stained or creased.


  1. ^ paper-based fiver was withdrawn (
  2. ^ it features (
  3. ^ paper ?5 note (

Is it worth spending more on your iron?

Ironing is Britain’s least favourite household chore, according to a YouGov poll released earlier in the year.* 50% of us dislike it – more than any other housework – and only 16% of us claim to actually enjoy it. Unless you fall into this minority of happy ironers, the temptation might be to spend as little as possible on an iron – but would parting with a little more cash make this chore easier and cut the time spent at the ironing board? In our most recent round of iron tests, we pitted some models costing as little as ?20 against some that will set you back ?85.

Interestingly, the cheapest ones didn’t always perform worst. If you choose carefully, you could find a cheap iron that does a faster job than a more expensive counterpart and saves you time as well as money. For our round-up of the best cheap irons that perform well, take a look at our top five cheap steam irons[1].

How to pick the best steam iron

So how do you choose an iron that will keep your time at the ironing board to a minimum?

You can’t tell how good an iron is just by looking at it, which is where our reviews – based on exhaustive tests – are invaluable. For something that’s quick and easy to use, start by looking at each model’s ironing performance star rating. This reflects the time and effort required to use each one, so opt for a five-star model for minimum hassle.

The steamier an iron the better, as the hot moisture relaxes fibres and makes them easier to iron. But irons that start off well can lose their touch as they clog up with limescale. To get our limescale-resistance star rating, we simulate three months of use and track the drop-off in steaminess – a high-scoring model will remain as quick and easy to use as it was when brand new.

Hard water contains minerals that form limescale, so if you live in a hard-water area look for an iron with a built-in anti-calc system or self-clean function. The cheapest iron we tested this time around is the John Lewis Steam Iron[2] (?20), which has a self-clean button to help keep the vents clear. If you’re willing to spend more, the Tefal FV5640G0 Turbo Pro[3] (?70) has a removable scale collector in its heel.

Our tests have found that not all of these measures work as well as they should, so we rate them for how well their descaling instructions work. Check our steam iron reviews[4] to find one that lasts.

Make ironing easier

If you’re not keen on ironing, it’s worth making sure it’s as simple as possible. Choose a handle that feels good in your hand – try it for size in the shop if you can.

A soleplate with a thin, tapered tip that fits under buttons will make life easier if you regularly tackle piles of shirts, while a water tank with clear sides means you’ll know when to top up. If you have a lot of laundry to get through, consider a steam generator. These can pump out more steam than an iron and don’t have to be topped up as frequently.

We’ve just tested the Morphy Richards Jet Steam 333021 generator[5] (?60), which costs less than some irons, and steams for well over an hour on a full tank. Soft rubber inserts in the handle make it comfortable to use for long periods.

Latest steam generator and steam iron reviews

Follow the links below to read full reviews for the 15 irons and steam generators we’ve just tested and reviewed: Steam irons

Steam generators

Prices are correct as of November 2017.

* Survey in Oct 2016, published Feb 2017.


  1. ^ top five cheap steam irons (
  2. ^ John Lewis Steam Iron (
  3. ^ Tefal FV5640G0 Turbo Pro (
  4. ^ steam iron reviews (
  5. ^ Morphy Richards Jet Steam 333021 generator (