This year, the theme of our Britannia 2021 collection is ‘A Nation of Innovation’. While on the surface this title may seem like poetic wordplay, in reality, there has arguably never been a more fitting tagline for a coin that embodies the great British nation. The United Kingdom has long been home to some of the greatest innovations the world has ever seen – from Sir Isaac Newton’s telescope in 1668 to Thomas Newcomen’s evolution of the steam engine in 1712. In the ceaseless pursuit of innovation, each passing generation of Brits brings with it more creative revolutionaries that continue to push the boundaries of human capabilities beyond its own self-appointed limits.
The great minds of the British people continue to forge ahead with new discoveries to this very day. In recent times, this has never been more notable than Oxford University’s groundbreaking COVID-19 vaccine. Developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, news of the revolutionary vaccine first emerged in November 2020 and, as the first of its kind, it was a welcome dose of good news in an otherwise turbulent year. As a country, the UK has always prided itself on notably contributing to global technology, medicine and science. Consequently, Britain’s historic stockpile of ingenious inventors and avant-garde creatives amounts to an impressive list of names. Better yet, it also amounts to an even more impressive list of innovations that quite literally changed the way we live our lives.
Many of the UK’s most celebrated inventions have gifted their creators with near-iconic status, providing timeless fame and reverence as a result. Such names include Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Alexander Fleming, the mastermind behind penicillin. Meanwhile, other inventors have gone on to transcend their chosen fields and seen their names become an accepted part of the British lexicon, from Russell Hobbs’ automatic kettle to James Dyson’s pioneering vacuum cleaner, the Bowler brothers’ namesake hat, and Alfred Bird’s famous custard – and who can deny the unbridled fame of the Earl of Sandwich’s trademark snack?
British ingenuity is all around us in our daily lives, making our day-to-day routines more efficient, more enjoyable, and far easier than ever before. As the world continues to change around us, there is no doubt that this creative trend will continue and who knows what great British invention may surface by the time we release our Britannia collection in 2022.