The Brixton Pound, a bespoke currency valid only in Brixton, celebrates its fifth birthday with a new design created by none other than the Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller. This is the capital’s only local currency and the B£5 note has been revealed as psychedelic in style and political by nature!
Only a few local currencies have been issued in the UK they include: in Totnes, Lewes, Stroud and, from 2012, Bristol. The currency can only be used in independent local shops and businesses. “
Deller’s extraordinary 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 future.
Jeremy Deller won the Turner Prize in 2004 and was selected to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2013. This special edition B£5 is produced in collaboration with Fraser Muggeridge Studios.
As our own designer, Charlie Waterhouse says: “These are the most amazing currency notes ever produced. No exaggeration. They’re beautiful and mysterious; spiritual and politicising. In two small sides of paper it provides the most compelling response to the rot that emanates from the Square Mile that I’ve seen since we were all told we had to live under the yoke of Austerity”.
“They’re living proof that while the Establishment can try all they might to take our money, they can’t take our spirit. The pounds Sterling in our pockets are monochrome, dull and in thrall to history and hierarchy – designed to remind us that ‘our’ money isn’t really ours at all. Brixton Pounds are the exact opposite. Joyous and empowering, they remind us that we can all make positive decisions about our spending, and make a real difference to the community around us. They’re wonderful invites to us all to step into a better future.”
The Brixton Pound (B£) is money that sticks to Brixton. It’s designed to support Brixton businesses and encourage local trade and production. It’s a complementary currency, working alongside (not replacing) pounds sterling, for use by independent local shops and traders. The B£ gives local traders and customers the chance to get together to support each other and maintain the diversity of the high street and strengthen pride in Brixton. It was launched in September 2009 as a physical paper-based currency and was followed in September 2011 by the launch of the electronic B£ pay-by-text platform. Around 250 businesses currently accept paper B£ and around 200 have pay-by-text accounts.
The B£ makes money work for Brixton by supporting smaller shops and traders who are under threat from the recession and larger chains. It stays in Brixton and circulates, increasing local trade and community connections. Money spent with independent businesses circulates within the local economy up to three times longer than when it’s spent with national chains, research by the New Economics Foundation has shown.
The B£ encourages people to think about where their money is going and commit to spending a proportion of it locally. On the environmental front, the B£ supports local businesses in sourcing more goods and services locally, reducing their carbon footprint.