Edward Colston: The places in Bristol which have erased the name of the slave trader
Schools, concert venues and pubs have dropped links with the man once seen as one of Bristol’s greatest sons
Schools, concert venues and pubs have removed links with slave trader Edward Colston by changing their names over the past three years.
The movement to erase Colston’s name from the city climaxed on June 7 in 2020 when his statue was toppled during a Black Lives Matter protest.
But the dropping of connections with the deputy governor of the Royal African Company started before that day, and continues now.
Colston’s name appeared across the city due to the reputation he developed as a philanthropist, making several charitable donations in his later life.
However, campaigners have long argued that his involvement in the slave trade outweighed his charitable work.
One of the first to take action in 2018 was Colston Primary School which renamed itself Cotham Gardens primary school after the majority of parents, pupils and former students agreed to the change.
The pulling down of Colston’s statue in 2020 appeared to accelerate change with pressure then growing on organisations still honouring Colston in business and building titles.
The former Colston Hall was re-named Bristol Beacon in September 2020 after more than 4,000 people participated in a public consultation.
The management of the charitable music venue said in a post on their website that its former name had “acted as a memorial to the slave trader Edward Colston”.
The post said their long-awaited re-brand was “an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to play our part in creating a fairer and more equal society.”
In November 2020, Colston’s Girls’ School became known as Montpelier High School, after a vote by staff and students.
Principal Kerry McCullagh said the new name would “allow the school to forge a new identity that represents its diverse and inclusive community”.
In the same month Colston Tower was renamed Beacon Tower after a vote by 20 businesses based at the site.
Colston’s School, in Stapleton, is the last to bear his name and is yet to change its name but have announced plans to do so.
A post on the school’s site said feedback from current pupils, recent former pupils and staff showed that they were “inclined to see a change in the name of the school as a positive step” - and the new name will be announced in 2022.
Nick Baker, chair of the school’s governors, said: “After a lengthy period of consultation, consideration and reflection, it became clear that those with a closer connection to the school would prefer to have a name that was more relevant for the pupils and staff of today and tomorrow.
“It is hoped that a new identity will do more to reflect the values and ethos that the school stands for today and to make it even more welcoming to the local community it serves.”
The Kingsdown pub formerly known as The Colston Arms was also re-named this month after temporarily adopting the name ‘Ye olde Pubby Mcdrunkface’.
It is now known as the Open Arms, according to a post on the pub’s Facebook page on December 20.
Several other bars have made similar moves in recent months - with others likely to follow.
Other places, including a University of Bristol accommodation once known as Colston Street is now Accommodation at Thirty-Three.
But Colston Street in central Bristol, and Colston Road in Easton, remain as yet unchanged - despite petitions to rename all streets that contain Colston’s name.