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Bristol City Council Says Statue Of Edward Colston Will Be Put In A Museum

Bristol City Council Says Statue Of Edward Colston Will Be Put In A Museum

Bristol City Council has announced that the statue of slave trader Edward Colston will be placed in a museum.

The council confirmed on its website that the statue would be retrieved from the harbour and displayed in a museum alongside Black Lives Matter placards 'so the 300 year story of slavery through to today's fight for racial equality can be learnt about'.

The city's Mayor Marvin Rees also confirmed a commission of 'historians and city placemakers' would be launched dedicated to 'researching and sharing Bristol's rich and varied areas and stories'.

He said: "The events over the last few days have really highlighted that as a city we all have very different understandings of our past.

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"The only way we can work together on our future is by learning the truth of our beginnings, embracing the facts, and sharing those stories with others. This is why this commission is so important.

The statue of Colston was torn down over the weekend. Credit: PA
The statue of Colston was torn down over the weekend. Credit: PA

"Bristol's journey to become the modern city it is today includes a history of huge disparities of class, race and gender and the struggles for equality.

"Our history includes the growth of education, the struggles of workers for pay and working conditions, and Chartists and suffragettes campaigning for emancipation.

"Our story includes the impacts that wars, protests, slavery and freedom have had on our citizens. Crucial to our heritage has been the harbour and the docks, manufacturing and industry, research and innovation, transport, slum clearances, housing, modern gentrification and faith.

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"Education of our history has often been flawed. More accuracy of our city's history which is accessible to all will help us understand each other, our differences, our contradictions and our complexities."

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Black Lives Matter Statue On Edward Colston Plinth Removed By Bristol Council
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Black Lives Matter Statue On Edward Colston Plinth Removed By Bristol Council

It comes just a few days after the sculpture of the 17th century merchant was torn down by protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration over the weekend.

The empty plinth where the Edward Colston statue once stood is now covered in Black Lives Matter placards. Credit: PA
The empty plinth where the Edward Colston statue once stood is now covered in Black Lives Matter placards. Credit: PA

During the protest, the 125-year-old statue of Colston, who is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of around 30,000 slaves shipped from Africa to the Americas, was pulled down and thrown into the harbour.

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Superintendent Andy Bennett of Avon and Somerset Police said officers decided not to intervene as they were concerned it may have caused more violence and disorder.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We know that it has been an historical figure that has caused the black community quite a lot of angst over the last couple of years.

"So whilst I'm disappointed people would damage one of our statues, I do understand why it has happened, it is very symbolic."

The removal of Colston's monument in the city centre has now sparked fresh debate around Britain's relationship with it colonial past, with other councils being urged to look at statues in their towns and cities.

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Yesterday (9 June), the monument of another slave owner Robert Milligan was removed from West India Quay in London following protests.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]