(Customers of the branch got the red-carpet treatment on Tuesday. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)
Five decades after it heralded a transformation in the way people obtained and used cash, the site of the world’s first cash machine was turned into gold to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The brainchild of a Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron, the first ATM was opened on 27 June 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank. Reg Varney, who starred in the British TV comedy series On the Buses, was the first person to withdraw cash from the machine.
Now there are an estimated 3m cash machines across the globe, with about 70,000 in the UK alone, which dispensed £175bn in 2016. The world’s most northerly machine is at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, and the most southerly is at the McMurdo station at the south pole.
To commemorate the anniversary, Barclays transformed the ATM at its Enfield branch into gold, added a commemorative plaque and placed a red carpet in front for its users.
“Even though recent years have seen a huge uptake of digital banking and card payments, cash remains a crucial part of most people’s day-to-day lives,” said Raheel Ahmed, head of customer experience and channels at Barclays.
Source: The Guardian