Bristol slavery museum could open in famous red-brick bonded warehouse

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The building has been earmarked for the new cultural, educational and visitor experience

A museum on Bristol’s role in slavery could open within one of the city’s famous red-brick bonded warehouses, the council have revealed.          

The museum could open in the B Bond warehouse at the Cumberland Basin, as part of the work of the Bristol Legacy Foundation (BLF).

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The BLF have announced their vision to home a cultural, educational and visitor experience in the building, which currently houses Bristol Archives and the Create Centre.  

The group hopes the museum or ‘Story House’ will chronicle the history, lives, and futures of those affected by enslavement.   

The 1908 warehouse is currently earmarked for 192 new homes under the council’s housing company, Goram Homes. 

Outgoing Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said the council will work with BLF to identify an appropriate site for the museum.  

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“Although detailed proposals are still to be worked up and it remains reliant on securing significant funding, we have agreed to explore the feasibility of homing such a museum at B Bond,” he said.  

“Its former use as a tobacco bonded warehouse and pivotal location at the entrance to Bristol’s Harbour provides a space with significant connections to the legacy of the Transatlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans. 

“These are very early days and there’s a huge amount of work to be done before we’ll be in a position to consider and consult on proposals for how this could be achieved.” 

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BLF, formerly known as the Legacy Steering Group, was established in 2019 to provide guidance and strategic direction to Bristol City Council around commemoration and reparations. 

Last month, plans were approved to turn the former Seaman’s Mission building on Prince Street into a slavery museum - but the building has already been sold to pub chain Bloomsbury Leisure Group who are in the process of turning it into a music venue.  

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