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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

Latest Newsletter and Update

The February update is now available for download.

You can still download the January Newsletter, which covers the period January to April 2018.

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

Diary of Events

Following a software problem, our Diary of Events now appears in a different format. The three website pages showing the diary by date, society and speaker have been replaced with three downloadable pdf files with the same information. 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 Local History Day 21 April 2018 -

Religion and Community, Conflict and Change

Religious beliefs and practices have influenced many aspects of our area’s past and present: the coming of Christianity; the reformation; the fierce conflicts of the seventeenth century; the rise of nonconformity; churches’ struggles to cope with the rising population in the nineteenth century; the subsequent decline of religious observances; the advent of other religions from abroad: Mormons from America, Sikhs and Muslims from the east. Religion has shaped government and politics, individual morality, defined and altered social status, altered the landscape and the streetscape.

We hope to look - selectively, because the topic is vast -at the origins and early years of a church in medieval Bristol; the local shattering of the Church of England in the seventeenth century; how Wesley’s ideas influenced later moral values including human rights; the Catholic emancipation of the 1820s and 1830s; local mission churches in the nineteenth century; how religious observances and building affected a Bristol Victorian suburb; and how the Mormons came to Bristol and grew.

The Local History Day will be held at the University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus. Tickets cost £15 (£10 concessions and members of ALHA member societies) and further information can be found on the booking form.

You can also book online and pay by card at Eventbrite.

The Victorian model farm in

south Gloucestershire and north Somerset

From 1850 to 1880, British agriculturists responded to the repeal of the Corn Laws by enlisting the modern advances in chemistry and industrial organisation and steam power.  Prince Albert may have led the way, but several in the Avon region were also setting an example. The new approach had little time to settle before British agriculture was hit by imports steamed in across the oceans, but it left its mark, as much perhaps as had the enclosures of an earlier age. Here William Evans tells how the story played out in these parts.

This latest book in the ALHA series will be launched in the spring at the usual price of £3.50. But before that you have the opportunity to order it at the special price of £2.95  including p&p, using this order form. Orders must be placed before February 15 2018.

Recent Large Scale Ordnance Survey Maps for Disposal

Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre has surplus OS maps, scale 1:1250 (approx 48” to the mile) and 1:2500 (approx 25” to the mile) available for many areas.  Dating from 1950’s to mid 1990’s  these vary in condition and can be collected from central Bristol.  If you are interested please check which grid reference squares your society covers  e.g. Kingswood is centred on ST6473, ST6573, ST6573,ST6574 and email Daisy Bickley, daisy@thebickleys.plus.com subject heading ‘OS maps’.

Medieval Street Life - Bristol

This public seminar and walking tour on Sunday 18 February is organised in collaboration with the Historic Towns Atlas/Historic Towns Trust and sponsored by the British Academy. The Speakers are James Davis of Queens University, Belfast and Peter Fleming of the University of the West of England. The afternoon starts at St Peter’s Church at 2.45 and concludes at the Watershed at 7 p.m. Further details are available here.

Professor Peter Fleming - University of the West of England

Peter Fleming, one of the founders of the Regional History Centre, is leaving UWE in the Summer. Peter is delivering a free valedictory lecture at Watershed next week as one of several parting shots. The time  is 6 p.m. And the date is Wednresday 21 February. Peter Fleming is well-known in local history circles. He is a member of the ALHA Executive, and is involved with the organisation of events such as the Local History Day and the Joseph Bettey Lecture.

Richard III - the King in the Car Park

Professor Turi King and Carl Vivian of Leicester University talk about the discovery of the skeleton of Richard III in Leicester at a charity dinner on Friday 16 March at The Bristol Hotel. Tickets cost £35. Further detaiks can be found here.

Keynsham Great Flood of 1968

Yhe year 2018 sees the 50th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1968.   This event is etched indelibly on the memories of everyone who lived in the Chew Valley and much of the Bristol area at the time.  It brought tragedy and misery, but also many examples of heroism and selflessness.  Much has been written about the Flood and at previous anniversaries exhibitions and dramatic productions have been staged to commemorate it.  

Yet, apart from one flood level marker, Keynsham has no physical reminder of that night, and no memorial to those who died when their car was swept off the Chew Bridge in the town centre.

Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society hopes to re-erect the County Stone which once stood on the bridge. Click here to read about their plans, and learn how you can help.


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.

UWE Regional History Centre - Programme of Seminars at M Shed

The programme for 2017-8 is now available and can be found here. Seminars are held on Thursday evenings at M Shed, Princes Road, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 4RN. Admission is free. The range of subjects is wide, and this series includes women’s lives in Tudor England, Brunel’s first steamship and popular music in nineteenth century Bristol.

Know Your Place - West of England - Now Complete

The final phase of the expansion of Know Your Place has now been completed and coverage has been extended to the whole of the historic County of Somerset. Historic maps of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath & North-east Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Council areas are all now available online, together with illustrations and much other local history information.  The website is at www.kypwest.org.uk.

Mick Aston Photographic Competition 2018

The late Mick Aston was a skilled photographer and a talented draughtsman. Mick’s camera was never from his side and he took every opportunity to record archaeological sites whenever the opportunity arose. Over a career spanning more than 40 years he built up a unique collection of images which charted the development of medieval archaeology throughout Britain. In honour of his contribution to the discipline and his role in public engagement, the Society for Medieval Archaeology announces an annual photographic competition for Society members in Mick’s honour. This year’s theme is The past meets the future and full details of the competition are available on the Society’s website.

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.

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.

Crossing the river at Pensford. The ALHA Summer Walk, July 4 2016

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 Pensford is by the webmaster.

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

This website was last updated on Friday, February 16, 2018. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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