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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 February 2021 e-update now available

The e-update published on 28 February, is now available, and is packed with interesting news 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.

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 also have details of talks later in the year.

1 - 22 March 2021 Archaeology study sessions: early prehistoric art in the British Isles 

Discover the history and archaeology of early prehistoric art in the British Isles in 4 online sessions with Dr George Nash. Tickets cost £30/£35

Bristol Museums

4 March 2021 Romans in the southwest

Stephen Rippon, Professor of Landscape Archaeology, Exeter University

Somerset Archives and Local Studies

8 March 2021 Bristol Medico-Historical Society digital talks featuring

Charlatan - or what do Goat glands, short wave radio, soap operas and Hitler have in common  [‘Dr’ Brinkley of the USA]  Dr Stefan Cembrowicz

Dr Charles Langworthy of Bath and his curing Metallic Tractors  Dr Peter Carpenter

Contact bristolmedhist@gmail.com for further details

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

11 March 2021 Colston Road and other questions: a virtual roundtable discussion with the We Are Bristol History Commission and local residents. Using Colston Road in BS5 as starting point, the panel will explore some of the broad questions being looked at by the We Are Bristol History Commission. They will discuss how Bristol’s past has been reflected in the city’s public spaces; why some histories have been remembered whilst others are forgotten (and if, and why, that matters); and much more.

Dr Edson Burton

We are Bristol History Commission

18 March 2021  A Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain

Dr Ian Mortimer

Somerset Archives and Local Studies

24 March 2021  South Gloucestershire Heritage Partnership digital talks featuring

Dyrham Park Reworked Tim Cambourne

William Champion’s Brassworks Garden Kay Ross

Best Practice in Metal-detaecting & Treasure Gail Boyle

South Gloucestershire Heritage Partnership

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

Bristol Courses

15 April 2021 Reading the ‘book of skin’: The life and death of John Horwood 

Dr Rose Wallis

UWE Regional History Centre and “M” Shed

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.

Ian Bishop Books

Many people will know of the range of books written and published by local author Ian Bishop, particularly the volumes of old photographs of various  Bristol suburbs, some of the villages on the fringes of the City and further out in South Glos., North Somerset and Bath & North-East Somerset.

Bristol & Avon Family History Society has sold these books for many years and following contact with his family about the remaining stock, are delighted to continue to be the main outlet for his many titles, some of which are now in short supply.  

The picture books cover Pucklechurch;  Marshfield; Warmley; Mangotsfield; Bitton; Saltford;  Keynsham;  Kingswood;  Oldland;  Staple Hill;  Downend; Frenchay; Hambrook;   Hanham;  Harptree;  Pensford;  Yate & the Sodburys; Nailsea;   Yatton; Winterbourne;  Iron Acton;  Frampton Cotterell;  Timsbury; High Littleton;  Hallatrow; Farrington Gurney;  Clandown, Radstock & Kilmersdon;  most include nearby settlements as well.  There is also a volume on Trains - Bath to Mangotsfield line.

His narrative books are more detailed, the histories of Longwell Green and Oldland Common with their surrounding parishes and ‘Stories from St Philip’s’.  Finally there is the story of the Cock Road Gang (Caines family of Bitton and Oldland).

More details of these and how to buy copies – while limited stocks last – can be found in the shop section at www.bafhs.org.uk.

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 Wednesday, March 3, 2021. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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