Colston statue to be displayed at M Shed next month


By Billy Stockwell, Investigations Editor

The statue of Edward Colston will be displayed at M Shed museum next month, almost one year to the day since it was toppled from its plinth in Bristol city centre.

The slave trader's statue, which was thrown into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020, will go on temporary display alongside placards from the day, at an exhibition at M Shed from 4 June 2021.

Alongside the temporary display, the We Are Bristol History Commission will be launching a survey for Bristol citizens to express their views about the statue's future.

The toppling of the statue led to a series of changes within Bristol, with the concert hall previously known as Colston Hall, renamed to Bristol Beacon in September, and Colston's Girls' School cutting the slave trader from their name.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: ‘7 June 2020 is undoubtedly a significant day in Bristol’s history and had a profound impact not just in our city but also across the country and around the world.

‘The future of the statue must be decided by the people of Bristol and so I urge everyone to take the opportunity to share their views and help inform future decisions by taking part in the survey.’

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The We Are Bristol History Commission has been working with the museum in preparation for the display and survey, according to Professor Tim Cole, the Chair of the We Are Bristol History Commission.

He said: ‘This is an opportunity for everyone to have your say on how we move forward together.

‘The display is not a comprehensive exhibition about Colston or transatlantic slavery in Bristol, but it is intended to be a departure point for continuing conversations about our shared history.’

There will also be an online version of the display for people who are unable to visit in person.

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Following its removal from Bristol Harbour, the statue was cleaned to prevent deterioration from water damage, but the spray paint graffiti was not removed.

Fran Coles, Conservation and Documentation Manager at M Shed said this process prepared the statue for ‘whatever its future may be’.

Coles stated: ‘M Shed’s role is to reflect the history and contemporary issues relating to Bristol, telling the stories that matter to the people of Bristol.’

Click HERE to visit M Shed's website and book a free visit.

Featured Image: Rufus Atkins

Will you be visiting the display at M Shed next month?