Colston Hall renamed to Bristol Beacon in wake of Black Lives Matter protests

Ellie Harrison
·1-min read
Announcement comes after a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was rolled into the harbour by protesters
Announcement comes after a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was rolled into the harbour by protesters

After decades of protests over its association with the slave trade, Colston Hall in Bristol has been given a new name.

The music venue, which was named after Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader, is now titled Bristol Beacon.

The name change comes after a statue of Colston was thrown into the river by Black Lives Matter protests in June, weeks after the death of George Floyd in the US, which renewed the fight against racism around the world.

The "Colston Hall" lettering on the building was physically removed eight days after the statue was toppled.

Moves to rename the hall, however, were initially made in 2017, following protests by civil rights campaigners, music fans and musicians, including the Bristol band Massive Attack, who refused to perform in the venue. At the time, venue bosses said they planned to change its “toxic” name.

Colston statue being thrown in the river in JunePA
Colston statue being thrown in the river in JunePA

At a renaming event on Wednesday (23 September), chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust Louise Mitchell said the process had been a “rough ride”, with some criticising the venue for trying to “erase and censor” history.

She added that the Bristol Beacon would be "a symbol of hope and community… a focal point for music in the city. A gathering space, illuminating the way ahead. A place of welcome, warmth and light”.