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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”, and for issues of the Newsletter and monthly Update.

News and Forthcoming Events

End of December 2020 Newsletter now available

The Newsletter, published at the end of December, is now available, and is packed with interesting news and opinion. It can be downloaded here.

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

ALHA Annual General Meeting - 18 January 2021 by Zoom

The 2020 ALHA Annual General Meeting, delayed by Covid, will now take place as a Zoom meeting on Monday 18th January 2021 at 7.30 p.m.. It wil be hosted by Frampton Cotterell & District Local History Society and we are very grateful to them for their help. The agenda for the AGM, together with the minutes from the 2019 AGM and the Secretary’s report for 2019-20, can be downloaded here. The Treasurer’s Report for 2019-20 can be downloaded here.

Please advise Catherine Dixon the ALHA Secretary at blackrockcfd@hotmail.com if you wish to attend the AGM.

As part of the AGM, we invite groups and societies to tell us about their activities and programmes during antivirus the restrictions. These reports should be limited to 5 minutes. Please advise Catherine Dixon, the ALHA Secretary at blackrockcfd@hotmail.com if you wish to make a contribution.

Diary of Events

Some groups have started making arrangements for meetings after the end of the pandemic, and these can be found on the Events page.

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

Forthcoming Online History Events which are Publicly Available

Click on the link below for more detail and registration instructions. The website of the organisation may have details of tallks later in the year.

21 January 2021 Ruins, ruin lust, and risk
Dr Corinna Wagner, Associate Professor of Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter.
UWE Regional History Centre and “M” Shed

27 January 2021  The Vikings

Professor Katy Cubitt

Bristol Historical Association

28 January 2021 Murder on the Middle Passage: The trial of Captain Kimber

Professor Nicholas Rogers, Distinguished Professor in History at York University, Toronto
UWE Regional History Centre and “M” Shed

13 February 2021 BALH Digital Workshop : How to get your local history research out there!

Claire Kennan
British Association for Local History

24 February 2021  Henry VII: Treason and Trust
Dr Sean Cunningham
Bristol Historical Association

10 March 2021 Bristol’s First Slave Traders 1662-1698 – a local detective story

Dr Richard Stone

Bristol Historical Association

10 March 2021 BALH Digital Webinar : How to grow your local history social media presence

Daniella Gonzalez

British Association for Local History

30 March 2021 The Agricultural Revolution, the Working Classes, and the Landless Labourer
Rosemary Caldicott

Bristol Courses

Podcasts - 12 Communities 1 Bristol

A series of local oral history podcasts made by Marcus Smith with BCfm, in partnership with Bristol24/7, Bristol Museums, Bristol Archives, UWE Bristol and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Available on Bristol 24/7 and elsewhere

New Publication from ALHA

Surgery in Eighteenth- Century Bristol
Michael Whitfield.

This study sets sketches of half a dozen Bristol surgeons against the background of medical profession of the time. Technically surgeons ranked below physicians in status, but these men might enjoy great reputation as their apprentice lists and fees demonstrate. Nor was their work limited to surgical intervention; and the detailed and well-documented accounts of individual cases here enlarge our knowledge of the medical practice of the time.

To order a copy of this title, or any other ALHA publication, please go to Publications.

Publications from Member Societies

Keynsham & Saltford Local History Society

The Society has recently published Keynsham & Saltford 1945 - 2020. The first part includes accounts and pictures of key events from VE Day through to the closure and rebuilding of Somerdale. The second part describes local personalities, the history of sports clubs and themes of general interest such as the changes in shops and schools. The many illustrations make this a valuable record of local life and bring back memories for all those who have lived in Keynsham or Saltford.

Further details of this book, which is 176 pages and costs £15, can be found on the Society website.

Bristol Record Society - digitisation programme

Since 2015, Bristol Record Society has been working on a programme of digitisation, in line with its core mission to make available materials needed for studying the history of our extraordinary city. While the Society began this initiative with the electronic publication of its own volumes, it has now moved on to other primary sources and scholarly works.

In association with the Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, the BRS digitised and e-published the 120 pamphlets produced by the BHA (1960-2007). These were the direct precursors to the ALHA book series.


In the last year, the Society has also e-published electronic copies of a dozen out-of-print scholarly books that relate to the history of Bristol. Recently, the Society has undertaken the digitisation of some of the topographical prints of 17th-18th century Bristol, owned by the Society of Merchant Venturers. These have been photographed in the Special Collections Department of the University of Bristol and are now being made available under a Creative Commons license. So any one in the world can now view, download and use high resolution images of these important artworks for free.  Click here for a full list.

Details of the items recently digitised are in the Archive section of the ALHA website, together with information about other digitisation initiative concerned with the history of our area.


The Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society

The future BGAS programme can be found at www.bgas.org.uk. All meetings have now been postponed until further notice.


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.

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.

The ALHA Summer Walk at Thornbury, August 2019

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 the summer walk is by Jan Packer.

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

This website was last updated on Thursday, January 21, 2021. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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