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ALHA is the umbrella group for local history and archaeology societies in Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

We help member societies by compiling an annual list of recommended speakers, and by publicising societies’ activities through our newsletter and website. We organise a local history study day each year, and our AGM is accompanied by a lecture with a distinguished speaker.

Each year we publish 3-4 compact but authoritative books on aspects of Avon local history, and each summer we organise a series of walks.

We have strong links with the Regional History Centre at the University of the West of England, and with the libraries, archives, museums and other organisations in our area.

We offer both Society and individual membership, and further details can be found here..

Click on About Us for how to contact ALHA

Click on Publications for information about our publishing programme, and how you can contribute to the written history of our area.

Click on Events for details of the meetings, walks and other activities organised by our member societies.

Click on Groups for links to our member societies, and details of what they do and how you can contact them.

Click on Archive for back copies of ALHA publications “Quest” and “Avon Past”.

News and Forthcoming Events

Latest Newsletter and Update

The end of May Update is now available and can be downloaded here

Newsletter 154, covering the period April to July, is still available for download here.

Previous Newsletters, and monthly updates, are all available for download in the Archive section of the website.

Diary of Events

The ALHA Diary of Events now appears in a different format. The three website pages showing the diary by date, society and speaker have been replaced by three downloadable pdf files. The files can be easily downloaded and printed, but unfortunately no longer include a clickable hyperlink to the website of the organising society. The three new files are:

Events arranged by date

Events arranged by name of society

Events arranged by name of speaker

Click on the file you want.

If your group is a member of ALHA and you would like to see events listed, please send them to the webmaster.

ALHA Summer Walks 2018

Mike Hooper has again organised a series of walks to take advantage of those fine summer days, while offering an insight into the history of a specific area. The remaining dates are:

Sunday 8 July - afternoon visit to the Underfall Yard, Bristol Docks

Sunday 12 August - afternoon visit to Old Portishead

Full details can be downloaded here.

ALHA Local History Day, 21 April 2018

For the first time, we are making available the texts of the papers given by the six speakers. They can be downloaded here.

ALHA Publications

Because our print runs are short, ALHA publications can become unavailable quite quickly. Some of our publications are already out of print, while stocks of others are very limited. If you wish to order copies, please bear this in mind. Full details of availability can be seen on our Publications page and on the order form.

WEA Workshops

WEA are organising a  number of workshops which may be of interest. Click on the title for details

Thursday 28th June   -   Discover - a potpourri of historical textiles

Trinity - Heart & Soul

Holy Trinity church in St Philips closed in 1977 after 150 years and has since been recreated as a multi-purpose venue now used for a variety of arts and community events. A celebratory programme of events is being organised for 2018, and details can be found here. In particular, a series of walks revealing the history of Trinity and Old Market and led by historian and writer Edson Burton will take place on 24 May and 12 June from 6 to 8, on 31 July from 2 to 4 and on 16 September from 12 to 2.

Free Ordnance Survey Maps of the Avon Area

The Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) are disposing of their collection of Ordnance Survey maps They vary in years from the beginning of the twentieth century to around the late 50s or so. Most are either 1:2500 or 1:12500 scale and have field numbers. If you are interested in these, or the cabinets in which they are currently stored, please contact Tim Corner at BRERC.

Coach trips organised by Bristol & Avon Family History Society

BAFHS have organised the following coach trips, or have secured places on trips by Chauffeurhire. All are open to the general public. Click on each for details.

Tuesday 26 June - National Memorial Arboretum

Saturday 11 August - Bletchley Park

Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust

A project to help secure the future of Winterbourne’s Medieval Barn has taken a major step forward thanks to a £936,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

South Gloucestershire Council has been working with the Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust (WMBT) to develop a £1.76 million project that will conserve and refurbish the historic barn and its adjacent buildings.

Once the total is reached, the funding will be used to restore, refurbish and find new uses for the 14th Century Court Farm Barn and associated outbuildings, ensuring its long-term sustainability in the heart of the local community. A heritage education centre will also be created to demonstrate the history of the barn and its architecture as well as information about the local area. Overall, the complex would provide flexible spaces for a variety of community, educational and commercial uses.

The restoration and refurbishment will enable the Trust to offer many more events and activities throughout the year, including heritage and craft-themed events, craft workshops, guided tours, more musical and theatrical performances, and a brand new schools’ programme. There will be new rentable workshops for creating traditional crafts and more space will be available for public and commercial hire, income from which will enable the Barn to operate on a sustainable basis.

Further details on the Winterbourne Medieval Barn website.

Keynsham Great Flood of 1968

Yhe year 2018 sees the fiftieth anniversary of the Great Flood of 1968.   This event is etched indelibly on the memories of everyone who lived in the Chew Valley and much of the Bristol area at the time.  It brought tragedy and misery, but also many examples of heroism and selflessness.  Much has been written about the Flood and at previous anniversaries exhibitions and dramatic productions have been staged to commemorate it.  

Yet, apart from one flood level marker, Keynsham has no physical reminder of that night, and no memorial to those who died when their car was swept off the Chew Bridge in the town centre.

Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society hopes to re-erect the County Stone which once stood on the bridge. Click here to read about their plans, and learn how you can help.


ALHA offers grants to assist local history research, publications, events, conservation and other projects which accord with its charitable objectives. The Committee has wide discretion over the kind of work to be assisted and the terms of the assistance. Recent grants include one to support the publication of volumes of the Victoria County History to cover parts of Gloucestershire.

Details of the conditions and how to apply can be had from the Treasurer.

UWE Regional History Centre - Programme of Seminars at M Shed

The programme for 2017-8 is now available and can be found here. Seminars are held on Thursday evenings at M Shed, Princes Road, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 4RN. Admission is free. Note that the final talk of the series will now be on Thursday 5 July.

Know Your Place - West of England - Now Complete

The final phase of the expansion of Know Your Place has now been completed and coverage has been extended to the whole of the historic County of Somerset. Historic maps of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath & North-east Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Council areas are all now available online, together with illustrations and much other local history information.  The website is at www.kypwest.org.uk.

Bristol Archives

This is the new name for Bristol Record Office, and it now has a new logo. Click the logo for the Bristol Archives website.

What’s On at Bristol Museums & Archives

Click for details of the exhibitions, tours, walks and other activities taking place in Bristol in future weeks and months.

Heritage events in Bath

Click for details of the exhibitions, tours, and talks taking place in Bath.

Crossing the river at Pensford. The ALHA Summer Walk, July 4 2016

Follow ALHA on Facebook


The photo of Chipping Sodbury market was found on the Facebook page entitled Chipping Sodbury Photographs. The photo of Stanton Drew Stone Circle is by Michael Day and is taken from flickr. The photo of the Netham Lock in Bristol was taken by the webmaster. Click on each photo to see a full-screen image.

The photo of Pensford is by the webmaster.

Avon Local History and Archaeology is a Registered Charity. No. 270930

This website was last updated on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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