ALHA Avon Local History & Archaeology map18.jpg

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

September Newsletter is now available

The popular ALHA Newsletter is now available, packed with news, reviews and opinion. It can be downloaded here.

Previous Newsletters, and monthly updates, and other ALHA publications over the past 44 years, are all available for download in the Archive section of the website.

ALHA AGM - Wednesday 17th November

This year’s AGM will again be held by zoom. It will be on Wednesday 17 November at 7.30 and the formal business will be followed by a talk by Dr Richard Stone, University of Bristol. His title is

‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Holding a Laptop: Researching Bristol’s History in the Twenty-First Century’. 

Dr. Richard Stone is a Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Bristol.  His research focuses on the Atlantic Slave Economy and its economic legacies, and his first book, Bristol and the Birth of the Atlantic Economy, 1500-1700 is under contract with Boydell and Brewer.  He has been examining the links between the University of Bristol and Slavery since 2017, and this research has both helped to shape institutional policy, and been cited widely in the international press. 

Diary of Events

Our diary of events is growing with the easing of restrictions, and can be found on the Events page. Both actual and virtual events are included.

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

Forthcoming Public Online History Events

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

20 October Black History Month: Black History masterclass in family history

Paul Crooks

Bristol Libraries

20 October Thirty Years of Writing Black British History Books. A Celebration

Stephen Bourne

Bristol Historical Association

21 October The West Country’s Black History

Louisa Adjoa Parker

South West Heritage

21 October Black Poppies in south-west England? Black and Asian experiences during World War One

Dr Kent Fedorovich

Bristol Museums

3 November BALH Digital Webinar : How to Use Legal Records for Local History

Dr Daniel Gosling

British Association for Local History

4 November The Last Royal Rebel: The Life and Death of James, Duke of Monmouth

Anna Keay

South West Heritage

10 November ‘I shall speak not so much as a Member of Parliament but as a housewife: Labour Women, Welfare Feminism and Parliamentary Politics, 1945-1959

Dr Lyndsey Jenkins

Bristol Historical Association

18 November Housing the people in Victorian Bristol

Professor Peter Malpass

Bristol Museums

18 November “Beloved friends”: Researching LGBTQ history at Bristol Archives

Mark Small from Bristol Archives

Bristol Museums

24 November The Story of China. Voices from the Chinese Past

Professor Michael Wood

Bristol Historical Association

An Introduction to Genealogy - Online course from University of Bristol

This 8-week course will introduce you to family history and genealogy, and the many resources available. Discover how to start your family tree, how to analyse birth, marriage, death certificates and censuses, incorporating oral and social history. This course will also explore DNA testing options, fragmentations from biological family (for example through adoption), ethnicity and identity, heritage, diaspora, homelands and oral histories, including the black British experience. At the end of the course, there will be a chance for participants to share their genealogy journey with the group.

Location: Online

Dates: Tuesdays 5 October – 30 November (no class 26 October) 

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

Course fee: £140

Tutor: Dr Penny Walters

Click here to book your place:


BALH Photo Competition

Could you be the BALH Local History Photographer of the Year?

Submissions are open from the start of January 2022, so there's plenty of time to take images through the changing seasons, of your favourite local history views and places. The competition is open to all. You do not need to be a member of BALH to take part. The winners will be part of Local History Day in June 2022, and awarded the prestigious title Local History Photographer of the Year 2022.  

Further details can be found on their website

New publication from ALHA

The Trade of Bristol in the later Seventeenth Century

by Jonathan Harlow

After the Civil War, Bristol really began to trade with he Americas as well as expanding its

traditional trade with Europe. As trade grew, so the merchant community and the city prospered. This booklet looks at the nature of the trade, at the port and shipping, at customs and smuggling, at seamen and, in some detail, at the merchants and their dealings.

Jonathan Harlow is a retired teacher still working on the history of the Bristol region. This booklet draws on his PhD thesis The life and times of Thomas Speed (University of the West of England, 2008) and The Ledger of Thomas Speed 1681-1690 (Bristol Record Society vol 63 1911). He has edited ALHA booklets since their inception in 2009, but this is the first he has written.

The full price will be £3.50 (plus 65p for p&p) but only £2.85 plus 65p p&p for orders received before 15 October 2021. Please click here for an order form to buy at the pre-publication price.

Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Winterbourne Medieval Barn has an extensive programme of events for Autumn 2021. These are listed in the ALHA calendar, but fuller details can be found on the Barn’s own website

Free Downloads of ALHA publications

As ALHA publications go out of print, we are making them available as pdf files which can be downloaded free of charge. The first two titles are The Bristol Dock Company 1803-1848 by Peter Malpas and The Victorian model farm in south Gloucestershire and North Somerset by William Evans. To download copies, go to the Publications page.

Helping with ALHA

Avon Local History & Archaeology is always looking for volunteers to help with its activities and decision making. If you would like to become a Trustee and join the executive committee, please contact the secretary.

ALHA - digitisation

As part of the ALHA Grants Programme, a sum of money has been allocated for the digitisation of local history books and other material, in support of the Bristol Record Society programme detailed below. We are therefore inviting suggestions of suitable items, which should be out of print and out of copyright. Ideas from ALHA groups and members should be sent to the Treasurer.

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.


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.

  The ALHA Summer Walk at Thornbury, August 2019

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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.

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

This website was last updated on Saturday, October 9, 2021. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

Chipping Sodbury Market Day 2.jpg Stanton Drew.jpg Netham Lock.jpg