Britain’s new passports celebrate cultural icons with the most secure design yet

To the delight of Shakespeare fans everywhere, the British government has unveiled a new passport design. The 37-page document features the UK’s most famous playwright on every page.

The new passport’s theme is “Creative United Kingdom.” It also includes images of cultural icons such as Charles Babbage and Anish Kapoor, as well as a number of historic structures like Edinburgh Castle and the Titanic Belfast.

(UK Home Office)

While celebrating 500 years of British culture, the new passports also incorporate the latest in printing technology. To prevent it from being tampered with, the new passport includes UV and infrared light, inks and watermarks. The government has described it as the most secure passport ever to be released in the UK.

James Brokenshire, the minister for immigration, unveiled the new designs today (Nov 3) at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. But as he made the big reveal, Brokenshire found himself embroiled in a row over sexism.

Several onlookers, including Labour MP Emily Thornberry, questioned why the new designs featured seven famous men, but highlighted the achievements of only two women—mathematician Ada Lovelace and the architect Elisabeth Scott.

Mark Thomson, director general of the Passport Office, said: “It wasn’t something where we set out to only have two women. In trying to celebrate UK creativity over the last 500 years we tried to get a range of locations, a range of things around the country and to celebrate our triumphs and icons over the year. So there we are.”

The new passports will be rolled out from December 2015.

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