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”.

News and Forthcoming Events

End of November Update Now Available

The e-update, published at the end of November, is now available, and is packed with news and opinion. It can be downloaded here.

Please accept my apologies for the late appearance of the e-update on the website. I have been in Southmead Hospital.

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

ALHA Annual General Meeting - 18 January 2021 by Zoom

The 2020 ALHA Annual General Meeting, delayed by Covid, will now take place as a Zoom meeting on Monday 18th January 2021. It wil be hosted by Frampton Cotterell & District Local History Society and we are very grateful to them for their help. The agenda for the AGM can be downloaded here. Please advise Catherine Dixon the ALHA Secretary at blackrockcfd@hotmail.com if you wish to attend.

As part of the AGM, we invite groups and societies to tell us about their activities and programmes during antivirus the restrictions. These reports should be limited to 5 minutes. Please advise Catherine Dixon, the ALHA Secretary at blackrockcfd@hotmail.com if you wish to make a contribution.

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.

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.

New Publication from ALHA

Our next publication will be Surgeons in Eighteenth Century Bristol  by 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.

It will be published shortly, and the price for copies ordered before 25 December will be £2.85 + 70p p&p. Click here for more details and an order form.

Further information about other ALHA titles can be found at Publications.

Publications from Member Societies

Marshfield Shops & Busineses & Aspects of Local  History

(With emphasis on 1920 to 1940)

Rita Lees of Marshfield History has sent us the following.

For those who do not know Marshfield, it is a small country town, historically situated in Gloucestershire and now under the local authority of South Gloucestershire. Despite its rural location, it was a stop on the former stage coach from Bristol to London. As a result, coaching inns appeared, together with a growth of shops and businesses from the 18th Century.  The development of the railways from the 1840’s ended the stage coach industry but local shops and businesses continued to expand during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  The local community had to be self sufficient  and every person was known by their name and business, if they had one. After World War II , there was a decline in local shops and businesses, although many remained.

During the 1980’s, a local man,  Charles Chivers, decided it was important to record the former shops and businesses.  His recollections were transcribed by Mrs C. Humphreys, former  Clerk to Marshfield Almshouses Trust and this document was only discovered when the Almshouses Trustees were clearing their superfluous hand written papers and the contents given to our Society. Charles Chivers son, Terry, was unaware of the document and the identity of the transcriber only recently confirmed. We then became aware that another Marshfield man, Desmond Hope,  had also compiled a similar document, thanks to information from his son, Trevor.  Both Charles Chivers and Desmond Hope were apparently unaware of each other’s work. Terry and Audrey Chivers, plus Trevor & Wendy Hope, then began co-editing extra information to add to the original document.  They were assisted in their work by Jackie White, whose detailed local knowledge added to what was already known.

The document grew into a mini social history of the period, with descriptions of well known people and their occupations. The resulting 41 page booklet, now published under the aegis of the Marshfield & District History Society, is a fascinating and valuable glimpse into Marshfield’s past.  The former shops and businesses are tabulated in numerical sequence, with most being centred upon the mile long High Street but also in the adjoining Hay Street and Market Place.  Notes upon the owners accompany the text, together with photographs, shop receipts, plus biographies of the authors of the original documents and items concerning education and local personalities, such as the District Nurse.  The booklet is available for sale at £2.50 per copy, from Country Stores, High Street, Marshfield, or by post from Trevor & Wendy Hope, 10, Fairfield Close, Marshfield SN14 8NH, at  a cost of £3.60, to include postage and packing.  Proceeds are being generously donated to our Society by Terry Chivers.

Whitchurch Local History Society

Whitchurch LHS have republished two books about the history of the village.They are Village Memories (1980) and More Memories (1997). Each book costs £5, and details on how to obtain copies can be found here.

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.

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 Thursday, December 3, 2020. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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