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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”.

News and Forthcoming Events

End of July Update now available

The end of July update is now available, and can be downloaded here.

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

Diary of Events

The ALHA Diary of Events now appears in a different format. The three website pages showing the diary by date, society and speaker have been replaced by three downloadable pdf files. The files can be easily downloaded and printed, but unfortunately no longer include a clickable hyperlink to the website of the organising society. The three new files are:

Events arranged by date

Events arranged by name of society

Events arranged by name of speaker

Click on the file you want.

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

ALHA Summer Walks 2019

The programme of Summer Walks is now available and can be downloaded here. You pay on the day, and booking is not required. One walk remains in the programme:

Sunday 11 August - Thornbury
Meet at the Museum in Chapel Street, between the Cossham Hall and the Wheatsheaf pub. The walk will be led by Jane Marks. Cost of this walk is £3.

Thanks to Mike Hooper for organising these walks.

The Butlers and the Coal-Tar Distillery at Advance 2958605.pdf

Crew’s Hole

by Brian Vincent and Raymond Holland

The Crew’s Hole coal-tar distillery was set up by Brunel in 1843 with young William Butler as manager. It became a family firm and remained so to 1970, while the Butlers became an important Bristol family. Here is their story.

Brian Vincent, PhD, Dsc, FRSC is emeritus professor and senior research fellow in chemistry at the University of Bristol. To date he has published more than 300 original research papers, review articles and books including ALHA titles (no.18) The Herapaths of Bristol and (no.21) Chemistry in Bristol into the Early Twentieth Century.

Raymond Holland, B.Sc., Vincent’s long-time colleague, was himself chief chemist and later production manager and deputy works manager at the Butler firm. Sadly, Raymond died in January 2018; this book is dedicated to his memory.

This latest ALHA publication will be published on 15 September 2019 and will cost £3.50 (plus 65p for p & p). The price for copies ordered before 15 September is £2.85 (plus 65p postage and packing.

Click on the cover to order at the reduced pre-publication price.

ALHA Publications

Because our print runs are short, ALHA publications can become unavailable quite quickly. Some of our publications are already out of print, while stocks of others are very limited. If you wish to order copies, please bear this in mind. Full details of availability can be seen on our Publications page and on the order form.

Getting About - 2019 Local History Day

If you were unable to get to the Local History Day, were unable to hear or see some of the talks, or just want to refresh your memory, the text of four of the five talks can be downloaded here.

Know Your Place - West of England - now includes Devon

Know Your Place has now been extended to include Devon in addition to the whole of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath & North-east Somerset, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire Council areas. The site has historic and current maps together with illustrations and much other local history information. New maps are continually being added, so it is worth checking back. The website is at www.kypwest.org.uk.

Festival of Archaeology 2019

Organised by the Council for British Archaeology, the Festival runs throughout the summer with some permanent attractions and some one-day events. To see the full list of what is going on, click on the picture above

Meet the Experts at Radstock Musuem

n Saturday afternoons during July and August, Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum are running a series of events where you can “Meet the Experts” on a variety of subjects. The topics include spinning, printing, leatherwork, family history, milestones, old tools and trades and the lives of guards on Royal Mail coaches.

Events run from 2 to 4 p.m. and full details are available here.

Bath Historical Directories

Members of the History of Bath Research Group have digitised Bath historical directories from the 1840s to the 1930s, and the data is now available on a website at http://bathhistoricaldirectories.org.uk/. This useful research tool for those who wish to explore Bath's people, places, organisations and occupations has been done in association with Bath Record Office, the University of Leicester, and Archive CD Books.

Pensford and the Great Flood of 1968

A new book published by Pensford Local History Society is called "We remember it well: stories of the Great Flood of 1968 from Pensford, Publow and Woollard". The title says it all, and the contents are structured around the 30 or so stories of people who were affected and/or involved in the devastating flood. Alongside these stories are photographs, letters and poems. The editors have tried to honour the memories of the contributors, and this has influenced the whole publishing process.

The A4 book, priced £5.00, was launched at Pensford Christmas Fair. It can be bought at at Pensford Post Office and at the Miners' Coffee Shop. Anyone who would like to make an enquiry or might be interested in buying a copy but is unable to get to Pensford please email: ppw.publishing@gmail.com

Whitchurch Village Memories

Whitchurch Local History Society has just published an illustrated 56-page A4 size book which is the 3rd volume of ‘memories of Whitchurch life’ contributed by residents.

It costs £5.00 and copies are available by contacting Keith Stenner (01275 541512), Sue Subow (01275 834677) or Geoff Gardiner ( 01275 830869)

Redcliffe Quarter Archaeology

Oxford and Cotswold Archaeology (OCA), with developer Redcliff MCC LLP, are currently working on a site at Redcliff and St Thomas Street, Bristol. The excavations form part of the Redcliff Quarter Development, a major regeneration scheme in this area.

To learn more about the excavations, you can attend the Redcliff Quarter Lecture Series, or come along to the Site Open Days or Pop-Up Exhibition. Further details can be found here.

Recent Work in Welsh Landscape History

A one-day conference organised by the Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Society for Landscape Studies will be held at the University of Cardiff (note change of venue) on Saturday 19 October. Click for further details and a booking form.


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.

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. Congratulations to Bristol Archives for meeting national standards on maintenance and access and receiving accreditation from the Archives Services Accreditation panel. Congratulations too to Allie Dillon on her appointment as City Archivist.

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.

Kingsweston House, Summer 2018

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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.

The photo of Kingsweston House is by the webmaster.

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

This website was last updated on Sunday, August 4, 2019. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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