|The MGA With An Attitude
The AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION - HS-109
The "Motorists Mutual Association" (MMA) was formed on On 19 June 1905, and a week later the name was changed to The "Automobile Association" (AA). Original purpose of the organization was to resist/avoid oppressive fines and penalties resulting from speed traps (when speed limit for automobiles was 20-mph). Member were issued an "AA" badge to place on the front of their vehicle. AA patrolmen rode bicycles, or the occasional motorcycle, and promenently displayed the "AA" badge. There was a salute to greet the member motorist, or lack of salute to indicate a "traffic problem" (upcoming speed trap).
A legal defense fund was establiched in 1906, and AA Insurance was launched in 1907 (arranged with Lloyds). AA Members' Special Handbook was issued in 1908, the first hotels were listed in 1909, and AA Route Planners were started in 1912. As early as 1906 AA was negotiating touring facilities and shipping arrangements for members cars. They were erecting road signs from 1909 to 1929 (when it became the responsibility of local authority).
Phone boxes were first installed in 1912 By 1920 AA member had a special key to open them, and could make the phone call free of charge. There were nearly 1000 phone boxes in use when installation of the boxes ceased in the early 1960's. In 2002 AA phones were decommissioned as mobile phones made them redundant. At last report there were only 19 of the phone boxes still in existence.
More complete history of The Automobile Association can be found at:
AA Badges - Serial Numbering System: