Major UK Rock Venue Will Be Renamed Over Links With the Slave Trade

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By Kieran Corcoran | 7:39 am, April 26, 2017

A major music venue in the UK will have its name scrapped because of its links to a local slave trader.

Colston Hall, a 150-year-old performing space in Bristol, will be given a new title to avoid any connection with 17th-century slaver Edward Colston.

The rebrand comes after a local campaign against Colston’s legacy, reported in February by Heat Street.

At the time, a spokesman for the Countering Colston campaign said: “Edward Colston’s crimes are well known, and many people believe that it is wrong that he should be honoured by having a prestigious cultural venue named after him.”

Colston was an MP and slave-trader in the late 1600s, more than 100 years before the practice was outlawed.

He became extremely wealthy and used part of his fortune to fund schools, almshouses and churches.

However, he did not fund Colston Hall – which is instead named after its address, Colston Street. The street got its name from a school (since closed), which he did help to fund.

In an announcement today, owners the Bristol Music Trust said they have not yet chosen a new name.

Instead they will seek commercial sponsors who might want to be associated with the venue, as well as consulting local people.

The new name will be announced in 2020.

They appear to have rejected Countering Colston’s suggestion that it be called “Freedom Hall” instead.

Colston Hall in Bristol hosted major artists like The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, David Bowie and Bob Dylan under its present name, but was later criticized by modern artists including hip hop group Massive Attack.

Local groups opposed the change, claiming that it would be “political correctness” and whitewashing history to try to cover up Colston’s legacy.

A spokesman for the Bristol Music Trust said the body wants to have “conversations across Bristol about how we address and acknowledge the city’s connections to the slave trade.”

Featured image via Flickr/Sam Saunders