Studio 2: Bristol Radical History Group highlights

Lady Blackshirts, The Smoke Dragon, Bristol's Aircraft Industry, From Wulfstan to Colston

                  A series of 10 minute 'taster talks' covering recently or soon to be published Bristol Radical History Group texts. These include: Lady Blackshirts: The Perils of Perception – suffragettes who became fascists [Rosemary Caldicott] During the 1930’s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, who considered themselves feminists, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Surprisingly some of these women were former high ranking […]

History Walk 1: Edward Colston

Why is our city dominated by this man’s legacy?

Starting with St Mary Redcliffe church, this walk takes in other historic Diocese of Bristol churches in the city centre where 'the life and work' of Edward Colston is still provided religious legitimacy on an annual basis. Along the way we will share the most recent historical research regarding this man's involvement with the transatlantic slave trade and discover how the Victorian elite created a 'cult of Colston' that is now said to form part of our city's 'identity'. At our final stop, […]

Edward Colston Research Paper #2

The Royal African Company and Edward Colston (1680-92)

Introduction This research article is an examination of the Royal African Company (RAC) and the role of Edward Colston (b. 1636 d. 1721) within the organisation as both an investor and executive. It is unsurprising that this history has not been previously collated in this form as Colston still retains a popular status amongst sections of Bristol’s population as a philanthropist and ‘city father’, his memory protected by powerful civic organisations. Although the depiction of Colston as a […]

Edward Colston Research Paper #1

Calculating the number of enslaved Africans transported by the Royal African Company during Edward Colston’s involvement (1680-92)

Introduction Edward Colston was an investor, official and eventually deputy governor of the Royal African Company (RAC) from 1680-92. Over this period the RAC purchased and transported tens of thousands of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic into a life of hard labour. This article aims to answer number of questions about the RAC’s involvement in the slave trade in particular during Edward Colston’s tenure. These questions are: How many enslaved Africans were purchased by the RAC between 1680 […]

Colston Hall, the first domino goes down…

It's official, today the board of the Bristol Music Trust (BMT) have announced the Colston Hall will be changing its name. Congratulations to the Counter-Colston campaigners and their supporters for all the work they have done over the last few years to highlight this issue. We have been having a laugh today reading some of the reactions... Apparently Tory Councillor Richard Eddy will now be boycotting the hall....is this because he will only go to venues that are named after slave-traders? […]

Renaming the Colston Hall: An opportunity to rediscover the hidden history of Bristol

The following statement by BRHG historians was published in the Bristol Post last week in response to Councillor Richard Eddy's article the week before entitled: Prominent Tory: Renaming Bristol's Colston Hall 'panders to tiny minority'. Almost a century ago in 1920 the Reverend H. J. Wilkins of Westbury-on Trym penned a biography of Edward Colston which began to expose the troubling history surrounding Bristol’s so-called ‘moral saint’ and ‘great philanthropist’. Wilkins was astounded at the […]

The Slave Trader ‘Celebration Season’

The onset of autumn in Bristol sees several idiosyncratic ceremonies, rituals and traditions that remember the locally born slave trader Edward Colston. Whilst public display has in recent years retreated, commemoration and maintenance of a partial historical narrative focused only on philanthropic endeavours persists ‘behind closed doors’. These closed doors are, for the rest of the year, presented to the Bristolian public as some of the most ‘open’ and ‘welcoming’, they include some of the […]

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