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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”.

Welcome to the ALHA website

The new Archive section of the ALHA website contains local history newsletters published by ALHA and its predecessors It currently includes issues of Quest and Avon Past. Quest was published from 1976 to 1979, and Avon Past from 1979 to 1993.

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

ALHA Publications

At our AGM at Marshfield on Tuesday 18 October, we launched two new booklets. The publication price of each is £3.50, including postage. Click for an order form.

Local History Day - Saturday 22 April 2017

ALHA’s local history day 2017 will be held at UWE Frenchay on Saturday 22 April.

The topic will be The Street, broadly interpreted. How did streets evolve from being a means of moving goods and people to becoming sites of markets and locations for businesses, meeting places, sources of news and gossip, sites of celebration, parties, children’s play or protest. Why did some become focal points of communities, others back streets? Why are some villages clustered, others along a street? How did public control of streets become necessary: draining, nuisances, public health, traffic control, paving, lighting, amenity? How did traffic change and grow, and drive markets and other activities off streets into other premises? Use of streets by public utilities: water, electricity, gas, telecoms. Encroachments: street furniture, advertising, café tables, use of streets for parking, trading, rough sleeping, begging, chugging. The street as site of architecture; urban design fashions: freedom or control, repetition or jumble? Conservation or redevelopment? What streets have we lost? The high street, its rise and fall, its competitors and other problems.

ALHA invites proposals for talks, presentations and displays around the theme of the street. Maximum 500 words at this stage, please, to William Evans,

5 Parrys Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT, fax 0117 968 4979, wm.evans@btopenworld.com

Know Your Place - West of England - Latest News

The next phase of the expansion of Know Your Place - Bristol has now taken place, and maps of the Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath & North-east Somerset and South Gloucestershire Council areas are available online. The website is at www.kypwest.org.uk.

This fantastic resource will be expanded further over the coming months to cover the whole of Somerset, including North Somerset.

Bristol Museum

Archaeology Day Schools 2016-7

Booking is now open for:


Bristol’s Medieval Religious Architecture - Saturday 5 November 2016


Treasure and Hoards - Saturday 28 January 2017

An introduction to human remains - Saturday 6 May 2017

To book, click on the title of the day school you wish to attend, or phone the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery Shop between 10.30 and 4.30 on 0117 9223650. There is a discount of £10 for those who book all 4 sessions if you quote “Archaeology 2016”.

UWE Regional History Centre seminars at M Shed - Autumn 2016

The programme for this popular series of free seminars is now available here.

Winterbourne Medieval Barn

Full details of the varied programme of events at Winterbourne Medieval Barn during 2016 can be found at www.winterbournebarn.org.uk. Events include basket-weaving, opera, plays, bell-ringing and singing and are suitable for both adults and children.

Silent Film of the Battle of the Somme, with musical accompaniment

We have been notified of two showings of this film, both with musical accompaniment. One at the Curzon Cinema, Clevedon, with piano accompaniment, on Sunday 13th November and the other at Clifton Cathedral on 18th November, which features the Bristol Symphony Orchestra. Click on the placename for details.

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

This website was last updated on Saturday, October 22, 2016.

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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 Marshfield is by Arthur Lees, and that of Pensford by the webmaster.

News and Forthcoming Events

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Change and continuity east of Tudor Bristol

Barton Hill, Bromley Heath, Downend, Eastville, Easton, Fishponds, Greenbank, Hillfields, Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Redfield, St George, Speedwell, Soundwell, Stapleton and Whitehall: all today thriving districts of Bristol. But all that area east of old Bristol Castle was countryside in the sixteenth century.

Here Kathleen Hapgood (author of ALHA No.7 The Friends to Literature: the Bristol Library Society 1772-1894) surveys the terrain, its occupants and their occupations, and the consequences of the Reformation in Tudor times.

The Kalendars: Bristol’s oldest Guild and earliest public library

The Guild of Kalendars was Bristol’s most ancient religious guild, existing for at least four hundred years from the twelfth century until the Reformation. It gathered together the clergy and leading citizens for monthly celebrations of the dead in the church of All Saints. From 1464 it operated Bristol’s first public library. This study examines its history and functions, and legends.

Nicholas Orme is emeritus professor of history, Exeter University, and (among many other works) co-author of Westbury-on-Trym: Monastery, Minster and College (Bristol Record Society, 2010).