Venue to ditch slave trader's name | All change at Bristol's Colston Hall © Sam Saunders/CC BY-SA 2.0

Venue to ditch slave trader's name

All change at Bristol's Colston Hall

A major venue for comedy tours is to change its name to sever associations with the slave trade.

Colston Hall in Bristol shares its name with merchant Edward Colston, who founded a school on the site in the early 18th century. But the name is controversial as much of his wealth came from the slave trade.

Venue bosses have always insisted the venue was named after the street it is on, rather than the trader (perhaps hoping no one would ask how the street got its name).

However, Bristol Music Trust, the organisation that runs Colston Hall, has today announced there will be a new name when the venue re-opens in 2020.

In a statement, they said: ’The name Colston, and its associations with the slave trade,  does not reflect our values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation.’

They have not yet announced a new name – but they are hoping to get a sponsor who would put their brand to it, similar to the O2 in London.

On their website, the trust said: ‘We are in no way trying to erase recognition of Bristol’s role in the slave trade, and we recognise the importance of remembering the part this city played in those events as a way of shaping our city for the better moving forward. 

‘We want to embrace our position at the centre of this naming discussion to work beyond the building and help lead conversations across Bristol about diversity and inclusivity.’

Reginald D Hunter plays the venue on Friday, with Omid Djalili, Russell Kane and Jimmy Carr among the other comedians lined up to appear in the coming weeks.

Published: 26 Apr 2017

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