Bristol

School considers dropping slave trader Colston from name

Colston's Primary School Image copyright Google
Image caption Colston's Primary School aims to announce the decision over its name during its 70th birthday year

A Bristol school is asking pupils and parents whether it should drop the 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston from its name.

Colston's Primary School said it was launching the consultation to "confirm our school's identity".

The move comes after one of the city's music venues, Colston Hall, announced it would drop the "toxic" name in 2020.

The school aims to announce its decision during its 70th birthday celebrations next year.

In a letter sent to parents, the school asks whether it should "keep its name or has the time come for a change".

"Having undertaken a vision and values project this year and received a formal request for consultation over the school name in May 2017, governors are delighted to be in a position to roll this out now," the school says.

"This is a very important decision for our school, so please do have a careful think about it."

Parents will be able to have their say via on online survey from 3 July to 21 October, while pupils will also be quizzed for their views on 13 July.

Edward Colston (1636-1721)

Image copyright Phillip Halling
Image caption A grand bronze statue of Edward Colston has stood in Bristol city centre since 1895
  • Colston was born into a prosperous Bristol merchant's family and, although he lived in London for many years, was always closely associated with the city
  • By 1672, he had his own business in the capital trading in slaves, cloth, wine and sugar. A significant proportion of Colston's wealth came directly or indirectly from the slave trade
  • In 1680, he became an official of the Royal African Company, which at the time held the monopoly in Britain on slave trading
  • He donated to churches and hospitals in Bristol, also founding two almshouses and a school
  • Colston also lent money to the Bristol corporation and was a city MP for a short time
  • The bronze statue commemorating Colston in the city of his birth has an inscription on it which reads: "Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city". There is no mention of his role in the slave trade

Source: BBC History/Nigel Pocock

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