Shillong: At a time when when hospitals across Shillong in Meghalaya have been requesting banks for installing automated teller machines (ATMs) on their premises, Dr H Gordon Roberts Hospital has just got lucky.

Incidentally, John Adrian Shepherd-Barron, the inventor of ATM, was born in the hospital in 1925, about three years after the health facility came into existence, an official said.

Dr H Gordon Roberts Hospital will turn 100 next year, he added.

“The teller machine was installed on August 7 after a petition was submitted to State Bank of India for setting up an ATM on the premises before the centennial celebrations of our facility next year,” medical superintendent Dr Roken Nongrum told PTI.

The access to an ATM in the facility will help patient parties and staffers immensely, he said.

“We are grateful to the bank authorities for considering our request. The ATM is special as the inventor of automated teller machine was born in this hospital 96 years ago,” Nongrum said.

Shepherd-Barron came up with the concept of a self-service cash dispenser in 1965 and his “eureka” moment was inspired by a machine dispensing chocolate bars.

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The first ATM was installed at a bank in London in 1967. Reg Varney, one of the stars of a popular TV show became the first person to withdraw cash.

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

His father was Wilfred Shepherd Barron, the chief engineer of Chittagong Port Commissionerate and his mother was Dorothy, an Olympic tennis player and a Wimbledon Women’s Doubles champion.

Although there is no record of the British inventor leaving Shillong, it is apparent that the family left the city after his Scottish father took over as the Chief Engineer of the Port of London Authority.

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