Bristol music venue named after slave trader Edward Colston removes his name in wake of BLM protests

A Bristol music venue named after Edward Colston has removed its signage from the building after the slave trader became a target of the Black Lives Matter protests. 

A sign company began the removal of stainless steel lettering from the Colston Hall Building, ahead of the total rebrand this autumn to distance themselves from the ‘divisive’ figure.

Bosses today insisted they will not expunge Colston’s namesake from the hall’s history, but said: ‘We cannot continue to be a monument to his memory.’  

Colston Hall, which has been played by legends including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, announced the intention to change name in 2017 as part of a £49million revamp. 

But fierce pressure from anti-racism campaigners to wipe out visible monuments of the 17th Century merchant from the city appears to have accelerated the process.  

A bronze statue to Colston, a trader with the Royal African Company who shipped thousands of enslaved Africans to the Americas, was toppled by BLM activists and thrown in the river earlier.

But his philanthropy to projects in Bristol continues to memorialise him in street names, monuments and buildings – some of which are on a hit-list drawn up by anti-racism campaigners.

Colston Hall is one of the sites listed on website Topple The Racists, along with Colston Tower and Colston Girls School, which have also bowed to the backlash and promised a renaming and removal of a statue, respectively. 

While Colston Hall’s removal of the lettering was welcomed by some, others asked why the company was waiting until the autumn to officially change the name –  after originally announcing the switch in 2017. 

The Hall replied it had been forced to pause the name change action while it concentrated on a shake-up to mitigate the economic fallout coronavirus.

Colston Hall has not yet decided on a new name and is consulting with communities across Bristol.

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