AA History in Scotland

General discussions related to A.A. History.
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AA History in Scotland

Postby Toast » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:36 pm


AA came to Scotland in the 1940's via a retired army captain who went to the states in search of this wonder cure he'd read about for alcoholism. When he came home he started the 1st meeting in the city of Perth. It’s a strange coincidence that Perth was also where the Calvinists, on their return from 17th century Switzerland, kicked off the bloody period of religious reformation in Scotland. From there AA spread to the town of Larbert and Cockburn Street in the city of Edinburgh.

A workable explanation of the AA programme arrived much later via the old-fashioned tape recorder reels farmers from Northern Ireland passed onto Scottish farmers they met at markets. These tapes were dynamite for the folks who had stayed dry through regular attendance at meetings. Then came Bill W's famous tour of Scotland back in the 1950's visiting each and every one of the 4 or 5 meetings that were in existence back then. At least 2 of these meetings, Larbert and Cockburn Street in Edinburgh are still functioning today. Sadly many of the current members have no idea the importance these particular meetings had in the development of AA in this country.

During this trip Bill made a lot of friends a few eventually went over to the states to meet up with him again at conventions. Heard one old timer share this at the Highland convention up in Inverness a few years back. The guy was still in awe of meeting Bill in the flesh at a convention in New York.

In the county where i live back in the 1950’s one old timer, Bill the Butcher (that was his trade not his reputation) wrote to the general service office in New York for more information. They sent him a speech Bill made on an old 78-vinyl record. This recording was also a revelation to many of our founding members. Just before Bill the Butcher passed away he gave the 78 to Mike, one of the guys who 12 stepped me, for safekeeping. The only stipulation being that the 78 never left the county. We do have an archive office in one of our larger cities but being run by alcoholics it has a terrible reputation for 'losing' things. But now Mike’s 30 plus years sober and in a bad way due to old age and ill health. So a few months back i was honoured that my dear friend decided to pass the very same 78 onto me for safekeeping, with the very same stipulation. And i have it here; it's still in the cardboard wrapper with the New York postage stamps on it.

Some of my dates may be out a tad but that's the general gist of how it all came about.

So now you've kindled my interest in AA history i think its something i should read more of.

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Re: AA History in Scotland

Postby Dallas » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:55 pm

Wow. That's awesome Toast! Can you take a picture of it so that we can display it here in the forum and/or somewhere else on the site -- with a little (or big) write up about it and we can then share it with the rest of the world of AA's?

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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:50 pm

Re: AA History in Scotland

Postby Toast » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:51 pm

Hi Dallas,

Will get onto it at the weekend.

God Bless

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