Edward Colston: A century of dissent and protest

Introduction During the furore about the renaming of the Colston Hall in 2017 a number of angry letter-writers to the Bristol Post claimed that the recent protests over Edward Colston were merely a ‘flash in the pan’ and a product of ‘woke’, faddist politics propagated by people from outside Bristol. This attempt to reduce the actions of groups and movements like Countering Colston and Black Lives Matter to a particular historical moment whilst the great weight of a supposed ‘tradition’, such as […]

Book Launch: From Wulfstan to Colston

Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol

Note: this is an online event organised by M Shed. Registration and booking is required via their website. Published a few days before the fall of Edward Colston’s statue in June 2020, From Wulftsan to Colston traces a thousand-year history of the involvement in slavery of Bristol’s merchants, from Anglo-Saxon times through the era of exploration and colonisation to the transatlantic slave trade and the plantation system of the Americas. During this period, Bristol’s merchant elite seized […]

History Walk: Edward Colston – why was he toppled?

An amble through central Bristol uncovering the history of Edward Colston and a century of protest and dissent

Meet at 3.30pm outside M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN Walk ends at Bristol Cathedral at 5.30pm (approx.) With the imminent launch of a so-called 'consultative display' featuring Edward Colston's statue at M Shed it seems apt to expose his involvement with transatlantic slavery and reveal the myths that were created about him and his philanthropy. This two hour walk visits churches in the city centre where, until very recently, ‘the life and work’ of Edward Colston was […]

Support the Colston 4 – Repeat Film Screenings

Due to people reaching out and wanting to see the films we have added this screening of the short films and the recorded Q n A On January 25th, 2021 four defendants appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on charges arising from the toppling of the Colston statue at a huge Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 7th 2020. That toppling reflected the frustration of many about the continued memorialisation and honouring of the slave-trader Colston, despite years of campaigning to reveal the truth […]

Countering Colston comment on the first hearing of the Colston 4

Today, the 25 January 2021 four people, Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 32, and Sage Willoughby, 21, will appear at Bristol Magistrates Court charged with causing criminal damage to the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol City Centre during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest on 7 June 2020. The BLM demonstration attracted thousands of protestors. These four young people were selected out of a crowd of hundreds who cheered as the statue of Edward Colston, a leading organiser and […]

Support the Colston 4 – Film Screenings

Miscellaneous 2021
On the day of the first scheduled court appearance of the Colston 4, there will be a online film screening and conversations to provide a context for that event. January 25th, 2021 will see four defendants appearing at Bristol Magistrates Court on charges arising from the toppling of the Colston statue at a huge Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 7th 2020. That toppling reflected the frustration of many about the continued memorialisation and honouring of the slave-trader Edward Colston, […]

Benign Force? – The Society of Merchant Venturers

Shielded by their Royal Charter of 1552, the Society of Merchant Venturers (SMV) helped shape Bristol’s past and present, but will they shape the city’s future? Regarded today as the doyen of Bristol’s charities, this undemocratic, unelected club for wealthy business(men), is guardian to a goodly proportion of Bristol’s schools and university, presenting itself as an innocuous force for good. Others are convinced that the SMV are outdated and outmoded. The Charter was granted at the time of a […]

Bristol Festival of Literature: Colston, Fact And Fiction

This event is part of Bristol Festival of Literature and you can can register for the meeting here. In this two-part event authors Roger Ball and Mark Steeds of Bristol Radical History Group and Countering Colston discuss how facts, fictions and silences about the history of Edward Colston became part of the collective memory in the Victorian period and were subsequently challenged by historians, writers and artists. Ros Martin is a literary-based artist and activist of many years standing. She […]

Bristol History Commission – questions still not answered….

On 4th August Bristol Radical History Group sent a letter supported by the Remembering the Real World War One history group and Countering-Colston to the Mayor’s office concerning the Bristol History Commission (HC) which was set up by the elected Mayor Marvin Rees in response to the statue of Edward Colston being pulled down on 7th June. In the interests of transparency in the public domain and in the light of other recently failed projects the letter asked the Mayor for systematic answers to […]

Bristol History Commission – some questions….

In the aftermath of the pulling down of the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston on 7th June, elected Mayor Marvin Rees announced the formation of a 'History Commission' to "help us tell our full city history" and to "shape the future of Bristol". Since the announcement we have waited for some clarity about the Commission, its members, processes, timescales and remit but none have appeared. Several people have asked questions of the Mayor's Office but received no answers (as yet). As Bristol […]