The Automobile Association (From Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard)

It was in the summer of 1905 that a small group of motoring enthusiasts decided to get together to overcome the menace of speed traps. They called themselves the Motorists’ Mutual Association. We know them better now as the AA – the Automobile Association.

As more and more people took to the roads in the new ‘horseless carriages’ the organisation just grew and grew offering help to their driving customers. So, it was in 1907 that the AA offered their first motor insurance policies. In 1912, they began to inspect hotels across the country using what is now their famous star ratings.

It’s amazing to think that it was the AA that pioneered the first roadside petrol pumps back in 1920, something that is so synonymous with every day road travel now. Perhaps the most famous element of the AA is the patrolmen. They began in 1923, when there were 650 of them out and about on motorcycles. These were replaced with AA branded vehicles in 1968.

In 1934 membership exceeded 100,000 and in 1950 the membership hit the 1 million mark. Today there are other organisations that do a similar job, but the AA is still the largest breakdown cover outfit in the UK.

The 21st Century AA offer far more that warnings of speed traps. They have driving lessons, car maintenance, mileage calculators and route planners. Car reviews, buying guides, and their accommodation, pub and restaurant guides. As well as car insurance there is mortgages, savings accounts and pet insurance and breakdown cover to broken boilers. They have a lot covered.


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