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

End of May 2021 Monthly Update now available

The Update published on 30 May, is now available, and is packed with interesting news and opinion, including details of the reopening of archives and libraries in our area. 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.

Welcome to Bath Centre National Trust

We’re pleased to share news of our very latest member group. Founded in 1977, it now has over 200 members drawn from Bath and the surrounding areas. Activities include talks and outings which raise funds for National Trust projects. Lots more information can be found on their website here.

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.

Sandy Tebbutt

We are sorry to report the sudden death of Sandy Tebbutt. Sandy was a leading member of The Gordano Society, and she had been a member of the ALHA Executive Committee for many years. Her main responsibility within ALHA had been the compilation and publication of the list of speakers, and she was working on the next edition at the time of her death. We will all miss her, as will the people of Portishead.

Could you be the new ALHA webmaster?

A short while ago we advertised for help on our website team. We had no offers so this is a massive plea for someone to step up to help us out.  The current team of three have been tasked to come up with ideas to replace our site that is dangerously close to falling off the edge of the technology cliff as it’s using unsupported software. We’d really like someone younger and/or fitter to take part in this exciting development to bring a fresh view.

Maybe you saw the ad and decided there would be others who’d jump at the chance or be better at it than you? Perhaps today you’d be prepared to rethink and offer us some help.  If you have some basic website awareness, a flare for communicating and are prepared to learn alongside us as we build a new website, we’d love to hear from you. You might expect to spend 6-7 hours a month at times to suit you. We use email to share the design ideas with an occasional Zoom meeting….. and of course, the task is shared with team members so we can even cope with more than one volunteer. So if you think you can help, don’t be put off, the team can share the load and where ideas are concerned, we learn so much more from having a diverse team.

Get in touch before 21 June by e-mail if you're happy to help. For a chat with no obligation, contact us at ALHAwebmaster@gmail.com leaving a phone number and preferred time to receive a call.

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.

10 June 2021 The GWR Badminton line

Alan Freke

Yate Heritage Centre

12 June 2021 BALH Digital Webinar : Local History Day 2021 AGM and Talk

Prof. Nick Barratt

British Association for Local History

17 June 2021 Evening Talk : Stories via Sleeve Art: Bristol sound from a visual perspective

Jamie Hombré and Tom Friend

Bristol Museums

21 June 2021 Late Lunch Talk : Bristol docks and cholera

Rosemary Caldicott

Bristol Museums

22 June 2021 Late Lunch Talk : Bristol dockers strike of 1949 in support of Canadian Seaman

Di Parkin

Bristol Museums

23 June 2021 Evening Talk : Class war in 1892: Bristol dockers and Black Friday

Roger Ball

Bristol Museums

30 June 2021 BALH Digital Workshop : Community Created and Curated Collections

Jane Golding, Kim Kenny, Donna Maughan and Sally Middleton

British Association for Local History

14 July 2021 BALH Digital Webinar : Getting Your Local History Research Out There!

Claire Kennan

British Association for Local History

17 July to 1 August 2021 CBA Festival of Archaeology
Click for details of events taking place, and to add details of your own.

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

A Night out in Yate

Yate Heritage Centre will reopen from Tuesday 2 June, and from 8 June to 20 July will have an exhibition “A night out in Yate”. Click for details. The Centre will be open from Tuesday to Thursday until 21 June, and on Saturdays thereafter.

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.

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 & Genealogy is always looking for volunteers to help with its activities and decision making. If you would likje 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.

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.

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

This website was last updated on Thursday, June 10, 2021. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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