Our History

Peter Drummond (1799-1877) came from a prosperous family in Stirling and did well in the family business, William Drummond & Sons, Seedsmen and Nurserymen. He was also a man of devout Christian faith and came to feel that he had a full-time calling to the work of evangelising. Starting by teaching children at a local Sabbath school he soon turned to the publication of tracts. He had found these to be an effective way of addressing what he saw as the scourge of public drunkenness and immoral behaviour in parts of Stirling.

But it is clear that at least an equal achievement was the system he established for distributing these tracts. Profiting from the moment at which the evangelical revival across the country met with the introduction of the book- post in 1848, he found himself able to meet a growing demand for evangelical material, without having to charge readers. The book post, introduced at the suggestion of Rowland Hill, had been intended as a way to encourage the circulating libraries of the period. It allowed for the distribution of very large amounts of printed material at a very low cost which is what Drummond proceeded to do. Setting up The Stirling Tract Enterprise (from 1848) he then branched out, producing the British Messenger, a novel, broad-sheet periodical for a largely rural community in which he appealed for more funds to support the Enterprise so that yet more readers could access material free of charge.

Belying what might seem a rigid and narrow approach to Christianity when it came to public entertainments, a different characteristic was his willingness to publish work from different Christian perspectives, so long as they represented ‘the faithful presentation of the truth’.