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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

Newsletter 164 is now available.

Newsletter 164, published at the end of September, is now available, and is packed with news and opinion. It can be downloaded here.

Further news became available just as the Newsletter was published, and this can be seen here.

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

ALHA subscriptions now due

ALHA’s year starts 1 April. The government has not postponed it. We hope you will renew your membership. Subscription rates are as before; £3 for individuals by e-mail; £5 for individuals by post and for groups by e-mail; £7 for groups by post. Subscriptions forms can be downloaded here -

Subscription form for individuals

Subscription form for groups

If you can pay online to the bank, that saves you postage; saves the treasurer some work, as well as depriving him of the pleasure of queueing in (or outside) a bank; and may also help reduce virus contact. If you can pay by standing order – saves time, saves memory, saves work – that is even better: the treasurer can supply a form.

Diary of Events

In view of the current covid-19 crisis and consequent lockdown, the events diary is no longer available.

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

Reopening of Libraries, Archives and Museums

Current information and continuing restrictions are listed in Newsletter 164.

ALHA Website

The current website was designed in 2016 using Serif WebPlus X8, This software is obsolete and no longer supported. It also has limited functionality. Bob Lawrence is the current webmaster, but would like to stand down from that role. If you would like to take over the running of the website and oversee its transition to a new layout and different software, please contact Bob at roblawr1944@googlemail.com.

Recent Publications from ALHA

As you sit in isolation with time hanging heavily, why not order some of the titles from ALHA and keep your interest in local history alive?

Resident Hospital Apothecaries in Georgian Bristol

Michael Whitfield

The Butlers and the Coal-Tar Distillery at Crew’s Hole

Brian Vincent and Raymond Holland

The Surgeons and the Bristol School of Artists

Michael Whitfield

Taking the pledge: the Temperance Movement in Bristol, 1830 – 1914

Alan Clarke

Each title costs £3.50 (plus 65p for p & p). Click for an order form.  You can also order and pay online from GENfair.  Further information about each title can be found at Publications.

Out of Print 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. Others which were formerly unavailable have recently been reprinted. 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.

Coal Mining in Pensford (Broadoak) and Bromley Collieries

Following the recent success of the Pensford Local History Group’s (PLHG) flood book “We Remember It Well: Stories of the Great Flood of 1968 from Pensford, Publow and Woollard” which captured stories and memories of those impacted by the 1968 flood of Pensford and the surrounding areas, members of the same project group are now looking at producing a mining book, on similar lines, on Pensford (Broadoak) & Bromley Collieries.


To assist the project group in bringing this together, they need stories and memories from people who worked at the collieries, or even handed down stories from family or friends.  Together with these, any photographic images or written documents would be of assistance in the production of this book.  All material will be returned following its compilation.


If you have anything to contribute, this can be done via the email address at the end of this communication but, if you do not have email access, then you can post it or they can potentially come to you to capture your stories.  Though, in the short-term with the virus in our communities, this will not be possible at this time.  You can contact them on the telephone number below and they will log your details.


The project group needs your stories to make production of the book viable.  If you know anyone who you think would also be able to contribute, please pass on this communication.


Email: ppw.publishing@gmail.com

Telephone: 01761 490418


The flood book is available to purchase via the PLHG or at Pensford Post Office

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.

Scanning and e-publication of scholarly works is often cheap. The cost of professionally scanning a book can be as little as £20. However, if the work is rare, large or valuable it can cost much more. If you would like to support the BRS's digitisation initiative and are interested in sponsoring a particular book, pamphlet or image, please contact its Digitisation Officer, Dr Evan Jones.  For more information, including a downloadable donation form, visit the Bristol Record Society website.  Dr Evan Jones, Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, Department of History, School of Humanities, University of Bristol, 0117 928 8971, evan.jones@bristol.ac.uk

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.


Festival of Archaeology 2020

The theme of this year’s Festival of Archaeology is Climate and Environment. The Festival of Archaeology will run in two parts - a digital Festival from 11-19 July and the main Festival activities from 24 October - 1 November. Details are available here, and you can also go here to register an event that you are organising.

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.

Bristol Historical Association

Publications now available online

The local branch of the Historical Association was reformed in 2017, and has now joined ALHA. It offers an interesting and varied programme of talks and events. Details are in our Events calendar, and for more information you can access their website here. In its original formation, BHA published 120 pamphlets between 1960 and 2007 on various aspects of Bristol history. These have now been scanned and are available as downloads from the BHA website.


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.

Free Online Magazines at Local Public Libraries

A number of free online magazines are now available from  local public libraries. Available titles that may be of interest include BBC History, Discover Britain and Who do you think you are? among many others.




Full details can be found on the Libraries West website

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, October 1, 2020. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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