Colston Hall to be renamed because of its ‘offensive’ slave trade links

Bristol Music Trust want to rid the venue of ‘toxic’ branding

It has been announced that Colston Hall will be renamed in 2020 following the venue’s refurbishment because of its links to a business built on slavery.

The venue has previously maintained it is named after its address, which is on Colston Street, but the name also alludes to Edward Colston, a Bristol businessman who profited from Bristol’s slave trade. Green city councillor Cleo Lake recently deemed the name “offensive”.

Trustees of the Bristol Music Trust voted unanimously to change the name. Louise Mitchell, the Trust’s chief executive, told the BBC that it was ‘an entirely moral decision’ and ‘the right thing to do’ for the public, artists and diversity of staff. Mitchell also said that the new name ‘could include recognition of a commercial partner.’ Tickets will still be printed with ‘Colston Hall’ until the venue closes for refurbishment.

However, the decision has not been popular with everyone; the venue is already facing backlash on social media from those who feel a name-change will be attempting to ‘re-write history’ or will simply be an unnecessary expense.

Colston Hall is not the only building in Bristol that is linked to the city’s slave trade – earlier this year over 500 Bristol University students signed a petition to have Wills Memorial Building renamed as its benefactor sponsored the university with ‘slave-profited money’.