Bristol concert hall sheds name of slave trader Colston
LONDON (UK) – A concert hall in Bristol named in memory of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston has rechristened itself as the Bristol Beacon. Authorities said the move comes after a long debate seeking renaming to make everyone feel comfortable.
Colston has several places named after him in the port city as he donated generously towards charity after he made a fortune in the transatlantic slave trade.
In June, Black Lives Matter protesters tore down a statue of Colston and tipped it into the sea at the harbour.
The act was condemned as a criminal one by the government and critics said the protesters were attempting to erase history. Supporters said although the city had long debated the issue of removing Colston’s memorials nothing was done so far, adding that his name and image were insulting to many residents.
“It’s been quite a rough ride. Not everyone agreed with the decision to change,” said Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the trust which runs the concert hall, on Wednesday.
“We were accused of seeking to erase and censor history. We were told that we were wrong to use the morals of today to judge the actions of the past. It’s an issue that continues to provoke strong views on every side.
“The truth is the organisation and the city can’t continue to be held back by this historic association. The name has meant that the building is a place where some have felt unwelcome, or that they did not belong, be they artists or audiences, and very simply, if we can’t be for everyone, something has to change.”
The hall has hosted celebrities such as the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. However, many city residents refuse to go there because of its nomenclature.