ATM fitted in Shillong hospital where inventor was born

ATM installed at Shillong hospital where inventor was born 96 years ago

The ATM was installed at Dr H Gordon Roberts Hospital, which will turn 100 next year

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

An Automated Teller Machine or ATM on hospital premises is common. But the same installed on Saturday in the compund of Gordon Robert Hospital in Meghalaya capital Shillong is inviting a lot of attention as John Adrian Shepherd-Barron, who invented ATMs was born there 96 years ago.

Inspired by a machine dispensing chocolates, Shepherd Barron invented an ATM in 1965 for dispensing cash for people's convenience. 

The ATM was installed by State Bank of India (SBI) following a request by authorities of the hospital, which will turn 100 next year. 

"Although an ATM is common in a hopsital, this ATM is special as inventor of the machine was born in this hopsital in 1925. We are thankful to SBI for keeping our request, just before our centenary celebrations," Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Roken Nongrum told reporters in Shillong.

According to records with the Meghalaya government, John Adrian Shepherd Barron was born in the Shillong hospital when his father, Wilfred Shepherd Barron was the chief engineer of the Chittagong Port Commissioners, which was then a part of the British Empire. Chittagong port, now in Bangladesh, was part of undivided India. 

There is no record about when the British innovator had left Shillong but an official in Meghalaya government believes the family had left after his Scottish father became the chief engineer of the Port of London Authority. The official, however, could not tell the year when the family had shifted from Shillong to London.

An ATM was first installed at a bank in London in 1967. Reg Varney, star of a popular TV show in Britain became the first person to withdraw cash using the ATM. 

Shepherd-Barron, India-born Scot, died in Scotland in 2010.