A £15,000-a-year private school founded by Edward Colston has been renamed ‘Collegiate’ as the purge of the slave trader’s name in Bristol continues after his statue was toppled.
Colston, a 17th-century merchant who founded Colston’s School in Bristol, made a fortune trading slaves and went on to donate so much money to philanthropic works in Bristol that his name appeared throughout the city on streets, schools and a concert hall.
In a bid to be more ‘welcoming’ to an ‘increasingly diverse’ community the governors of £15,000-a-year Colston’s School have said it will be renamed ‘Collegiate’ from September. Its governors denied the move was an attempt to change or deny history.
The move by the private school for three to 18-year-olds comes as organisations around the country have continued attempts to distance themselves from British history in the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Colston’s name has been removed from dozens of schools, concert venues and pubs in Bristol following a Black Lives Matter protest that saw his statue toppled in 2020.
Woke bosses at Colston’s School in Bristol, which charges £15,000 a year, have decided to change the school’s name. It claims it is not to escape associations with the school’s founder, notorious slave trader Edward Colston
The Board’s chairman Nick Baker said: ‘We believe it is important that students attending the school continue to be taught about the school’s history. Specifically, Edward Colston’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
One of the first to take action in 2018 was Colston Primary School, which renamed itself Cotham Gardens primary school after the majority of parents, pupils and former students agreed to the change.
These campaigns then came to a head during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests which saw his statue torn down and thrown into the docks.
The events led to growing pressure on any Bristol businesses or institutions still honouring Colston in their title.
The former Colston Hall was re-named ‘Bristol Beacon’ in September 2020 after more than 4,000 people participated in a public consultation.
The management of the charitable music venue said in a post on their website that its former name had ‘acted as a memorial to the slave trader Edward Colston’.
The post said their long-awaited re-brand was ‘an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to play our part in creating a fairer and more equal society’.
In November 2020, Colston’s Girls’ School became known as Montpelier High School, after a vote by staff and students.
Principal Kerry McCullagh said the new name would ‘allow the school to forge a new identity that represents its diverse and inclusive community’.
A pub formerly known as The Colston Arms was also re-named after temporarily adopting the name ‘Ye olde Pubby Mcdrunkface’.
It is now known as the Open Arms, according to a post on the pub’s Facebook page on December 20.
Several other bars have made similar moves in recent months – with others likely to follow.
A University of Bristol student housing block once known as Colston Street is now Accommodation at Thirty-Three.
But Colston Street in central Bristol, and Colston Road in Easton, remain as yet unchanged.
Colston became the Tory MP for Bristol in 1710, the same year he founded Colston’s School
He used a lot of his wealth, accrued from his extensive slave trading, to build schools and almshouses in his home city
Street names across the UK are under review for potential links to slavery figures, while just days ago it was revealed Arts Council England has pumped millions of taxpayers’ cash into Museum Development England’s attempts to decolonise English museums, which allegedly depict a history written by ‘white, wealthy, able-bodied men’
Woke social justice warriors have spent years clamouring for a new world order that sees history whitewashed of potentially offensive names, statues and ideas.
Some have denounced it as a bid to stop reminding people about unpleasant parts of history, such as the slave trade, which saw tens of millions of people taken from their homes and sold as a commodity around the world.
Just last year three of Britain’s best-known museums backed a report criticising the ‘altering of history’ though tearing down of statues, renaming of streets and the changing of school curriculum without a ‘rigorous and non-partisan approach’.
Victoria and Albert Museum chairman Nicholas Coleridge, Sir Ian Blatchford, the director of the Science Museum, and Dr Samir Shah, chairman of the Museum of the Home supported the paper written by broadcaster Trevor Phillips.
Meanwhile, figures have indicated the hard-left elements of BLM are at odds with much of wider black British society in how to tackle systemic injustice as just one in six black British people believe tearing down statues is a legitimate form of protest, a study revealed last year.
In 2020, BLM protesters toppled a statue of Colston into Bristol harbour following the killing of George Floyd in America by white police officer Derek Chauvin.
However, Colston’s School Governing Board claimed the change to the school’s name was not an attempt to change or deny the school’s history, which he said works for the ‘collective good’.
The Board’s chairman Nick Baker said: ‘We believe it is important that students attending the school continue to be taught about the school’s history.
London’s streets and areas are under review or have been changed already due to their names being linked to slavery
‘Specifically, Edward Colston’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
‘In order to assist with this, some historical aspects of the school, for example the crest and motto, will be retained and explained, rather than removed.’
Mr Baker said the name Collegiate represents both the school’s inclusivity and highlights the collaboration between different parts of the school and its community and was chosen from hundreds of suggestions given by parents, students, staff and former students.
Meanwhile, Headmaster Jeremy McCullough welcomed the change.
He said: ‘Increasingly our student and parental body reflect the diverse nature of Bristol and we want to continue to work with our local communities in order to widen access to our school as much as possible.
‘We believe moving forwards with this new name will help us to become an ever more inclusive and welcoming community.’
The toppling of the Colston statue (pictured) on June 7 came amid a wider context of Black Lives Matter protests which spread across the world following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by white police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020
The statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston falls into the water after protesters pulled it down and pushed into the docks, during a protest against racial inequality
It’s not the first time the school has been renamed. It was founded by slave trader Edward Colston in 1710 as the Colston Hospital, a boarding school for boys.
In 1991 it merged with the all-girls Collegiate School in Winterbourne and became Colston’s Collegiate School.
In 2005, school bosses decided to change it to Colston’s School but now the 312-year-old school will part ways with an obvious association to one of Britain’s most-notorious slave traders.
Edward Colston: Merchant and slave trader who trafficked 80,000 across the Atlantic and was once considered Bristol’s greatest son
Edward Colston was integral in the Royal African Company, which had complete control of Britain’s slave trade
Edward Colston was born to a wealthy merchant family in Bristol, 1636.
After working as an apprentice at a livery company he began to explore the shipping industry and started up his own business.
He later joined the Royal African Company and rose up the ranks to Deputy Governor.
The Company had complete control of Britain’s slave trade, as well as its gold and Ivory business, with Africa and the forts on the coast of west Africa.
During his tenure at the Company his ships transported around 80,000 slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and America.
Around 20,000 of them, including around 3,000 or more children, died during the journeys.
Colston’s brother Thomas supplied the glass beads that were used to buy the slaves.
Colston became the Tory MP for Bristol in 1710 but stood only for one term, due to old age and ill health.
He used a lot of his wealth, accrued from his extensive slave trading, to build schools and almshouses in his home city.
A statue was erected in his honour as well as other buildings named after him, including Colston Hall.
However, after years of protests by campaigners and boycotts by artists the venue recently agreed to remove all reference of the trader.
On a statue commemorating Colston in Bristol, a plaque read: ‘Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city.’
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US, the statue of Colston overlooking the harbour was torn down.