About Us

ALHA was founded in 1976 with the then new County of Avon. Avon County has long since been abolished, but ALHA still flourishes as an independent organisation owing nothing to local or national government.

ALHA exists because, whether politicians choose to incorporate it or not, the Avon region is an economic and social and historical entity, not so much separate from as special within the grand historic counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire.


There are some eighty societies in ALHA, with a collective membership of about 10,000. Some are region-wide but with special interests like the Bristol & Avon Family History Society; while many are parish- or district-based. (See Groups for lists and locations).

We also have links with local institutions, such as Record Offices, Libraries, Museums and Universities.

We are managed by an elected Executive Committee meeting once a quarter, and operate through a small number of voluntary officers.  

ALHA Membership

Membership of ALHA is open to both groups or other institutions, and to individuals. Group members receive a free copy of the Speakers List and all members receive a copy of the Newsletter.

Subscription rates are as follows:


£5 if newsletters are received by e-mail

£7 if newsletters are received by post


£3 if newsletters are received by e-mail

£5 if newsletters are received by post

Members also benefit from the concessionary rate for admission to the Local History Day, and are welcome to attend Executive Committee meetings. ALHA publishes details of the meetings of member groups on its website and in the newsletter.

Separate membership forms can be downloaded here for groups and individuals.

For further information, please contact the membership secretary whose details are on the right.

ALHA Activities


In 2009, we started a project to publish compact but authoritative books on aspects of Avon's history, and 33 titles have now been published.

A full list of available titles can be found at Publications.

Our scope is Avon-wide not just Bristol - see our Guidelines for Authors. Potential authors should get in touch with the Editor.


We offer grants to members to help them in local history research, publication or events projects. 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

Local History Day

Each year in the spring we hold a full day's conference on a local history topic, with presentations from both amateur and professional historians, and displays by local history societies and institutions.

The 2018 Local History Study Day was held on Saturday 21 April at the Frenchay campus of the University of the West of England. The topic was Religion and Community, Conflict and Change. You can download the texts of the papers given by the six speakers here.

The 2020 ALHA Local History Day was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis. We have not yet fixed a date when it will be held.

AGM and Annual Lecture

Our Annual General Meeting is accompanied by a lecture by a distinguished local historian from the area.


We produce a quarterly Newsletter, covering recent events, current issues, recent publications, ongoing projects and opportunities and forthcoming activities, including the Diary of all the events we know of for the following four months. The circulation is about 200 copies, but many of these reach multiple readership. In addition, there is a monthly update in months which do not havea full newsletter.

An increasing number of members take the e-mail version, which is cheaper for us (and them!) and enables easy redistribution within groups. This is now in a more screen friendly version. Click for the latest edition of the newsletter or update. Older issues can be found in the Archive section.

Please send notices or other copy to the Editor.

Deadlines are printed in each issue, but anything reaching him by the middle of March, June, September or December should make the issue for the succeeding quarter.

Starter Pack

A collection of suggestions for those thinking of starting a new local history group. There are some general ideas on what a local history society might do and how to form one; a draft constitution, a note on legal considerations, and a brief booklist.  

Summer Walks

Each month from May to August there is a guided walk in some part of the region, or a visit to some place of special interest not generally open to the public.

Directory of Presenters

A booklet with the names and contact details of some sixty people who are ready to lead walks or give talks (with a list of the topics they offer). The Programme Secretary's prop! Currently we aim to bring out an updated edition every year.

We only include Speakers who have been recommended to us; and we are prepared to delete speakers who have serially disappointed. Recommendations or reports please to the Mike Leigh, the list editor.



(Official invitations and acknowledgements)

Roger Angerson has now stepped down from the post of President after many years involvement with ALHA, and the post is currently vacant.


Bob Lawrence

Flat 1 Chartley, 22 The Avenue, Sneyd Park, Bristol, BS9 1PE


Treasurer, Membership Secretary

and Newsletter Editor

William Evans

5 Parrys Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT

0117 968 4979



Catherine Dixon

3 Black Rock Villas, Portishead

Bristol, BS20 8PN

01275 849200


Editor: ALHA Books

and Reviews for Newsletter

Jonathan Harlow

Hardings Cottage, Swan Lane, Winterbourne, BS36 1RJ  

01454 775731


Summer Walks Organiser

Mike Hooper

Birchwood Lodge,

59 Birchwood Road,

Bristol, BS4 4QL

0117 9775512


Directory of Presenters

Mike Leigh


Webmaster and Events Diary

Bob Lawrence

Flat 1 Chartley, 22 The Avenue, Sneyd Park, Bristol, BS9 1PE



Veronica Bowerman




Jane Bradley

Ian Chard

Mike Hooper

Jan Packer