Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Flog It and the AA

One of the daytime television programmes that I quite enjoy is ‘Flog it’ on BBC2. Can I explain, to those whose country doesn’t broadcast it or who are not so fortunate as I in terms of having television time, ‘Flog it’ is an antiques programme with people bringing their antiques in to be valued and then sold at auction.

One of the things I particularly enjoy is the interval between the programmes two sections. During this, the presenter, Paul Martin visits some local place of interest. In one of the most recent episodes he was shown some of the old AA vehicles restored lovingly by patrols in their own time.

This BSA motorbike was in exceptional condition and recently went from John o’ Groats to Land’s End on a charity run.

This is the classic AA patrol vehicle of the 60s and 70s – the mini-van.

What is not so well known is that the original purpose of the AA was to warn members of policemen with stop watches – hiding at the roadside waiting to catch motorists speeding. A group of motoring enthusiasts met at the Trocadero restaurant in London's West End on 29 June 1905 to form the Automobile Association (the AA) – a body initially intended to help motorists avoid police speed traps. As motoring became more popular, so did the AA's and its 100 members in 1905 grew to 83,000 by 1914. In 1906 it began erecting the country's first effective danger and warning signs and the AA has been committed to promoting road safety ever since. They continued to be responsible for all signposting until the early 1930s, when it became a local authority responsibility. AA Signs' distinctive yellow and black colouring for special events remains a familiar sight at the roadside. To cater for the increased popularity of touring by car, we appointed agents and repairers throughout the UK, listing them all in the AA Members' Special Handbook, which first appeared in 1908.

The introduction of two-way radio after the second world war saw the 1949 launch of a night-time breakdown service in the London area, which was gradually extended to cover most of Britain.

To revert to Flog it, some of the items that appear on the show are bizarre like this ornament of a mouse nibbling a biscuit.

1 comment:

  1. I confess, I love Flog It. It's like a sexed up version of the antiques roadshow. Which I also love.


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