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Introduction to BIAS

There was widespread anxiety in Britain in the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties about the tendency of comprehensive urban development to obliterate significant features of obsolete industries and transport systems. This concern was strongly represented in the Bristol Region, where it helped to promote an adult class in Industrial Archaeology, organised by the University of Bristol Extramural Board and held at the Bristol Folk House in Park Street. The tutors were Angus Buchanan and Neil Cossons, and the class was such a success that after having run for three years from 1964 to 1967, it transformed itself into a permanent association as the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society.

BIAS received strong institutional support from Bristol City Museum and the Centre for the History of Technology at the new University of Bath. It continued the pattern of the original class by providing a regular series of lectures and discussions, together with visits and field parties, and developed this pattern by undertaking surveys of mills, roads, docks and other industrial monuments, and encouraging the conservation of such artefacts when practicable. The Society was formally inaugurated in the autumn of 1967, and the first issue of BIAS Journal appeared at the end of the following year. The Society now has some 300 individual and corporate members and continues to organise a full programme of events and maintains an involvement in local matters of concern. It is affiliated to the Association for Industrial Archaeology and is represented on the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust and on local Conservation Advisory Panels.

The programme of events is varied. Talks are usually held on the second and fourth Thursday every month September to April at Keynsham British Legion. Visits in the Summer also normally take place on the second and fourth Thursday.

In addition to the annual Journal, BIAS publishes the Bulletin three times a year. This contains the programme of talks, visits and other events of interest, and brings news of local IA societies and activities.