The story so far…

Since the campaign started in 2015, a large number of businesses and schools have decided to ‘drop Colston’ and the statue was finally removed by Black Lives Matter protestors in June 2020. There is a desciption of these changes below. We have also started pages on the topics of the Colston statue, Colston Hall, religious commemorations.

Colston Statue – BS1

On 7th June 2020 the statue was topppled, defaced and pushed into Bristol Harbour during a Black Lives Matter demonstration attended by over 10,000 people. 10 people were charged with criminal damage and four were tried in front of a jury and pleaded guilty but argued there actions were justified. On the 5th January 2022 a Bristol Jury found them not guility by a majority of 11-1. The statue was displayed in the M-Shed and is now stored there. Further information here.

Colston Hall – Colston Street, BS1

The city’s major music venue changed its name in 2020 to Bristol Beacon after pressure from campaigners, rallies and a petition by Countering Colston. Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust, told the press that the decision was an affirmation of the music venues’ values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity. Further information here.

Colston Tower – Colston Aveneue, BS1

The owner of the Colston Tower removed the building’s name from the front of the prominent office block in central Bristol shortly after the Colston Statue was toppled in June 2020. The new name “Bristol Beacon” was chosen by the tenants later in 2020.

Colston’s Girls’ School – Cheltenham Road, BS6

The school formerly known as Colston’s Girls’ School was renamed to Montpelier High School in September 2021. The school continues to be run by the Venturer’s Trust (Society of Merchant Venturers) and it is understood that a number of internal consultations about the school’s name was blocked. A meaningful consultation finally took place following a succesful campaign by current and former pupils and external pressure from campaigners.

The School also removed the statue of Colston which stood in a corridor and made significant changes to the annual ceremonies to celebrate Colston’s life (Colston Day, Commemoration Day, Charter Day), which all pupils are required to attend. More information here.

Colston’s Primary School – Redland, BS6

The school formerly known as Colston’s Primary School held an exemplary three-month consultation with students and the school community.  They voted to change the school’s name. Coinciding with its 70th anniversary, in 2018 the students and teachers of Colston’s Primary chose a new name: Cotham Gardens Primary School.

Colston’s School  – Stapleton, BS16

Colston School announced in December 2021 that it would change its name. Present and former puplis, parents and staff at the private school will help choose a name to be announced in summer 2022.

‘Edward Colston’ painting by Jonathan Richardson, 1702.

The painting was on display in the Lord Mayor‘s Parlour at City Hall until it was removed by incoming Lord Mayor Cleo Lake in 2018.

Colston Arms Pub – St Micahel’s Hill, BS2.

The pub announced its new name at the start of 2022; it’s now called the “Open Arms”.

Colston Yard Pub – Colston Street, BS1

Bristol’s oldest craft beer pub, formerly known as the Smiles Brewery Tap and later as Colston Yard Pub, announced that it was dropping ‘Colston’ in 2017.  It is now the Bristol Yard Pub.

Bristol Cathedral – College Green, BS1

In 2017 the Bristol Cathedral added a prayer for those harmed by the injustices of transatlantic slavery, beneath the stained-glass window of Edward Colston. In 2020, following Black Lives Matter demonstration in June, the Bishop of Bristol announced the window had been removed.

University of Bristol

In the Foyer of the Wills Memorial Building, the University of Bristol has placed an informational panel acknowledging that 85% of its founding endowments came from donor families who made their money through enslaved labour or post-slavery exploitation of former enslaved people.

If you have any memories or historical evidence regarding the campaigns we have covered so far, or about others that we have not, please contact us so that we can share them here.  Our email is counteringcolston@gmail.com