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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”.

Wilkins of Westbury & Redland

The latest ALHA publication was launched on Saturday 22 April at our Local History Day at UWE. Written by Professor Richard Coates, it is a study of Rev. Henry John Wilkins who was a progressive force in local politics before entering the great tradition of English parsons who have been active local historians.

Full details of all ALHA books and an order form are on our Publications page.

You can also now buy ALHA publications online, and pay by card, through GENfair.

Latest Newsletter

The End of July Newsletter update is available for download here. The End of June Newsletter is also still available and can be downloaded here.

Summer Walks

The final walk in our series of four will be at Clevedon on Sunday 13 August, when local resident and historian Jane Lilly will be our guide.

In view of the powerboat racing which is also taking place in Clevedon on Sunday 13 August, Historian Jane Lilly, the leader of the walk has now altered her proposed route slightly to avoid Beach Road which is being closed. She feels that the walk will be even more interesting and away from the noise so please do not be deterred.

The car park at Salthouse Fields from where the walk starts is likely to be very busy so alternative parking may have to be found. We suggest that walkers aim to arrive earlier than anticipated in order to find parking spaces.

The meeting point for the start of the walk will remain the same: near the hotel gates on Old Church Road by 1.45pm at the Salthouse Car Park.

Many thanks to Peter Brown who posted the information to us about the powerboat event on ALHA’s facebook page.

For full details, click for a copy of the programme.

ALHA Subscriptions now due

Subscriptions for 2017/8 are due on 1 April each year. Rates remain unchanged, and to renew your membership please download the separate forms for either group or individual membership. For further details, or if you are not already a member, please go to About Us.

ALHA AGM and Joseph Bettey Lecture

ALHA's 2017 annual general meeting and Joe Bettey lecture will be at the Friends' Meeting House, Beckspool Road, Frenchay on Wednesday 18 October 2017, starting at 7pm. The lecturer will be Professor Helen Meller, formerly professor of history at Nottingham University and author of Leisure and the changing city, 1870-1914, which in spite of its general title is about the Bristol area. Her lecture is titled How to live in the modern city: women's contribution in Bristol 1860s-1930s. ALHA is grateful to ALHA member Frenchay Tuckett Society for agreeing to host the event. Refreshments will be available from 6.30.

ALHA Local History Day 2018 – Call for papers

The theme for next year’s local history day, probably again at UWE’s Frenchay campus, and probably on Saturday 14 or 21 April, will be around religion and change, broadly interpreted. We hope to look at how religious beliefs changed, how religious organisations changed within themselves, and how those changes affected local people at large. Our area is rich in religions and their impact: two abbeys of historical importance; a battleground of the reformation and of the religious ferments on the 17th century, which both had political consequences; a hotbed of nonconformity in the 18th century, with Moravians, Unitarians, Baptists, Quakers, Independents and Methodists prominent, and driving political and social reforms in the following century. Sects (Lady Huntingdon’s in Bath?) have come and gone. Religion declined in Victorian times, yet it was then that it was prominent in public life. Church buildings have dominated our towns and villages for centuries, but not all are still in use and the uses of some have changed. Wesley’s new room has been revamped, but Whitfield’s tabernacle is at risk. In the 20th century we have seen gurdwaras, mosques and other buildings to meet the needs of immigrant communities, while St Werburgh’s is used for climbing, St Paul’s for circus training, and St George’s for concerts. Highbury chapel, originally Congregationalist, became Anglican. Some chapels, in villages as well as towns, are now flats or houses. Topics could include the importance of religious beliefs and practices at various times; how they changed; and how they changed the lives of people, places, and politics.

ALHA invites proposals for talks, presentations and displays: max 500 words please to Bob Lawrence, Flat 1 Chartley, 22 The Avenue, Bristol BS9 1PE, lawrence@hazels.u-net.com or William Evans, 5 Parrys Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT, 0117 968 4979, wm.evans@btopenworld.com


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.

Coach trip to The National Archives at Kew, Thursday 12 October

Organised by Bristol & Avon Family History Society, the trip is open to all. Pick ups are in Chipping Sodbury and at BAWA, Southmead Road, Bristol. Cost is £25. Full details are available here.

Exploring Banwell’s Past - a weekend of village local history

A three  day event organised by Banwell Society of Archaeology and Local History will be held from 11 to 13 August. On Friday 11 August, Vince Russet will talk on public involvement in the heritage of our countryside. On Saturday 12 August, there will be finds identification, village walks, old photos, displays and other activities. On Sunday 13 August, there will be visits to the Banwell Bone Caves (pre-booking essential). Full details can be found here.

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.

Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Full details of the varied programme of events at Winterbourne Medieval Barn during 2017 can be found at www.winterbournebarn.org.uk. Events include apple-grafting, jazz, basket-weaving, opera, and plays, and singing and are suitable for both adults and children.

Bristol & Avon Family History Society - Family History Fair

The 2017 Family History Fair will be held at BAWA, 589 Southmead Road, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7RG on Saturday 9 September from 10 to 4. Further details are available here.

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 Thursday, August 10, 2017. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

News and Forthcoming Events

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