Friday 11 July 2014

History Is Made, In Enfield

This blog cannot let the birth date of Reg Varney go unmarked. Reg - born on this day in 1916 - was a cheeky cockney entertainer of the kind best employed singing at a pub piano. However, he rose fast in the TV sitcom world, starring in two successive hits, The Rag Trade and Beggar My Neighbour, before plumbing the deepest depths with On the Buses (seven series, three - count them - spin-off films). For his long participation in that crime against comedy (in which he starred with Christine Lagarde lookalike Bob Grant) Varney's name shall live long in the annals of infamy. However, his name might live rather longer as a footnote in social history, for it was he, in person, who made the first cash withdrawal from the world's first hole-in-the-wall cash machine - and there he is in the picture above, explaining the finer points of withdrawal to a couple of young ladies.
 This momentous event took place at a branch of Barclay's Bank in Enfield, on June 27th, 1967 (a plaque on the bank wall commemorates the event, though oddly it makes no mention of Varney). The cash machine didn't really take off until the Seventies - and no wonder: in the absence of plastic cards, early machines like the one initiated by Reg issued cash in return for a special cheque, impregnated with radioactive Carbon-14, that you had to get from, er, the bank cashier. I'm not sure they'd quite thought it through...


  1. Vieed from a distance and with the wisdom bestowd by the passing of time On The Buses seems archaic, neanderthal and yet, it entertained the masses, quality being in short supply, were they, we, so easily anaesthetised?

    Yes, apparently.

  2. 'explaining the finer points of withdrawal to a couple of young ladies' You're doing it again Nige!