AA Dumbarton History

1How Did AA Come to Dumbarton?

Good question. Well it started with two people meeting, does that sound familiar! The two people in question were Eddie F and the other was the County Psychiatrist, Dr. Gilmour.

Eddie was in hospital when he first encountered AA and he had the idea that he would stand a better chance of staying sober if AA meetings were in the area where he lived. He knew from his own experience that AA works and that others in the Dumbarton area could benefit too, Dr. Gilmour heard about this and approached Eddie, he said that if Eddie could arrange for other AA members to come to meetings in the Dumbarton area, then he would arrange a venue for them.

They both kept to their word and AA was introduced to Dumbarton…

This happened in June, 1960 and the first meeting took place in the Community Centre in Church Street. Further meetings were held in the Burgh Hall and the C.E. Centre. AA finally established a permanent venue in the C.E. Centre.

Some two years later a second venue was established in the Lomond Tea Rooms in Balloch. The meetings moved on a few occasion until the day came when they moved to the Bank Street Clinic, Alexandria where AA became firmly established.

By 1965 some 15-20 people were very much attracted to what AA had to offer and as time progressed meetings were opened in Helensburgh, Old Kilpatrick, Alexandria, Renton and other venues in Dumbarton.By 1970 AA had it’s own West of Scotland Inter Group which covered the areas of Kilmarnock to Ayr, Greenock, Bearsden, Clydebank, Dumbarton, Alexandria, Helensburgh and Renton.

There were in 1970 – 32 Groups in the West of Scotland and we got together in Gourock and Inter Group was started at that point.


As it stands today [2005] Dumbarton has it’s own Intergroup. We now have 32 well established groups… At a guess there is something like 800 people, very much involved in all these groups.

AA has never looked back since those early days in 1960 and AA has much to be thankful for, especially to those two gentlemen – Eddie F and Dr Gilmour.

No names have been involved in the writing of this brief history, with the exception of Eddie F and Dr. Gilmour. The early members have been of wonderful assistance, in gathering this information and we thank them all.

The above Intergroups own anwerphone service was started by Concrete Bob and wee Robbie in the mid to late seventies in the wee hoose in castle street Dumbarton.

In the early eighties Concrete Bob asked David W to take over the running of it which was Agreed to by Intergroup. It stayed in the wee hoose for several years when we had to find new premises which were duly found in the Baptist church premise until, I believe, there was a fire in these premises. Until other premises could be found it was run from David Ws house until it was eventually moved to the old Academy buildings where it was run by, if I remember Tommy B until Intergroup decided to join the national help line.

This service ran very successfully and was a credit to all who took part as either contacts or twelvesteppers in carrying the message of hope to the still suffering alcoholics, who many of came to and stayed in the fellowship and they themselves now carry the same message to others.

If anyone can add to or correct this we would be grateful as it is an important part of the history of the fellowship in this area.