The fall of Colston – the true story

  Since the fall of the slave-trader Edward Colston's statue in June 2020 the government, institutions, local politicians and his defenders, the Society of Merchant Venturers, have all been forced to react in one way or another. What unites them is that they have all attempted to cover up years of active defence or inaction concerning the celebration, commemoration or memorialisation of slave-traders in the city. From the mouths of people directly involved in the campaigning and activism […]

The Fall of Colston – the Strategies of the Campaigns

The fall of the Colston statue on 7th June 2020 can be seen as the culmination of 100yrs of campaigning against his city centre presence, which had intensified in the last decade, and intersected on that famous day. Whilst many individuals & institutions suddenly rushed to disown him, and the impact of the toppling rippled much further away than just in Bristol, that wasn’t the end of it! Tory ministers, right-wing media, Labour politicians, the CPS and the police launched a campaign of […]

Congratulations Barbados

Ripples across the Pond

Slave ship Hannibal 1693-1695
On Tuesday 30 November 2021, marking the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, Barbados proudly became a Republic. In 2020 the then governor-general of Barbados, Sandra Mason, now president and head of state, stated that "the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state." The former Barbadian high commissioner to the United Kingdom Guy Hewitt, stated in an interview that many Barbadians believe that the country was due for "a […]

Deliberately Maintaining the Silence on Slavery History

Calls for ‘an international memorial to the victims of enslavement’[1] sound reasonable, but my own experience this year uncovered a strong tendency to keep slavery history hidden. I was ambivalent last year when Colston was toppled. Of course, black lives matter, but so does history. I was apprehensive about other groups damaging historical objects. The protest, however, set me thinking, recognising my limited understanding, and eventually investigating slavery issues. Last year, I began to […]

We Toppled Colston Fundraiser – Solidarity With The Colston 4 Defendants

As the Trial of just four of the many hundreds of Colston Statue Topplers draws near, Bristolians are mobilising in their support. This Fundraiser at Trinity Center on 11th November is in support of the defendants and their Topplers Defence Fund, has been organised by Countering Colston and Glad Colston's Gone, and has the full backing of BRHG - we, Countering Colston and others will have stalls at the event. As the organisers state in their FB event: Let's show our support for those who have […]

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 […]

History Walk: Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol

A thousand year history of abolition

Meet at 2.00pm outside M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN Walk ends at Bristol Cathedral at 4.00pm (approx.) This history walk in Bristol City centre uncovers a 1,000 year history of resistance to slavery. Starting with Bristol's first abolitionist Saint Wulfstan and the Bristol 'mob' in the eleventh century this walk charts the networks of religious and political activists who led popular campaigns against slavery. From the non-conformists and radical currents in the English […]

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 – 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 […]

Lydney: Black Lives Matter and the Bathursts

1754 – 1831 Lydney Town Council has attempted to ban a Black Lives Matter event arranged to take place in Bathurst Park, Lydney at 2 pm – 4 pm Saturday 20 June. Forest of Dean Black Lives Matter has issued a statement on their Facebook Page which includes the following: We cannot continue to allow this oppression in our society; the primary purpose of this event to begin with was to challenge this and to encourage change, it is sad that you have prevented from us doing so. We do not wish to, and […]