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

Latest Newsletter and Update

The end of 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.

Richard Smith: Bristol Surgeon
and Medical Collector 1772-1843

Richard Smith was a contemporary and colleague of the great Thomas Beddoes. Robert Southey was his neighbour, and Humphry Davy and Samuel Coleridge lectured in his time. Smith himself was a very successful practising surgeon, a lecturer, a notable collector of medical records and statistics, a figure in civic affairs, a voice in the City Council and the press, a poet even. Here Michal Whitfield (author of Dr Goodeve, of The Bristol Microscopists and Homoeopathy in Bristol) tells the story of a lively, extrovert, but representative figure.

This new ALHA publication will be launched at the Local History Day April 18 at the full price of £3.50 (add 65p for posted copies). But before that you have the opportunity to order it at the special price of £2.85, for collection on that day; or plus 65p posted to you. Click here for an order form, which must be sent to arrive before April 15 2018.

Science, Scandal and Society in Georgian Bath

The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution has organised a programme of talks on Saturday 24 March. Speakers are Dr Andrew Swift on Catherine Macaulay, Stuart Burroughs on Edmund Rack and the Origins of the Bath & West and Mike Rendell on Bath in the 1780s; Quakers Quacks and Celebrities. Details are available here.

The event accompanies the launch of a new book The Journal of Edmund Rack – an Enlightenment Gentleman’s Observations of Georgian Bath. Further details of the book can be found here.

Trinity - Heart & Soul

Holy Trinity church in St Philips closed in 1977 after 150 years and has since been recreated as a multi-purpose venue now used for a variety of arts and community events. A celebratory programme of events is being organised for 2018, and details can be found here. In particular, a series of walks revealing the history of Trinity and Old Market and led by historian and writer Edson Burton will take place on 24 May and 12 June from 6 to 8, on 31 July from 2 to 4 and on 16 September from 12 to 2.

Keynsham Great Flood of 1968

Yhe year 2018 sees the fiftieth 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 Monday, March 19, 2018. If you spot any errors or omissions, please advise the webmaster.

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