Tag Archives: Edward Colston

Colston Hall Name Change – Hally McHallface?

From our history correspondent…

It’s official, last week the board of the Bristol Music Trust (BMT) announced the Colston Hall will be changing its name. The Hall which has been in public hands since 1919 will be renamed in 2020 as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment.

Some history…

Before we start, we should get the history straight, as the fake-history from the Bishop of Bristol to the Merchant Venturers’ spin, plenty of porkies have been told about Edward ‘The Enslaver’ Colston.

From 1680-92 Edward Colston was an investor, official and eventually deputy governor of the Royal African Company (RAC), the premier Atlantic slave trading organisation in the British Empire. Under Edward Colston’s management and leadership of the RAC, approximately 84,500 enslaved Africans were branded and forced onto the company’s ships. Only 65,200 Africans survived the trip, a death toll in the region of 19,300 over the twelve year period. Of the 9,000 or so enslaved children under the age of 10 on Colston’s company slave-ships, more than 2,000 died, their bodies along with the adults were thrown overboard. The survivors, who were sold to plantation owners in the Caribbean, faced a short and brutal life of hard labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it wasn’t just Africans that businessmen like Colston and the Merchant Venturers forced into labour. They were quite willing to coerce thousands of vulnerable Bristolians and others into working in their plantations through poverty (indentured servants) and legal (POW’s, ‘criminals’, orphans) and illegal (spiriting) bondage.

The profits of this ‘vile trade’ and the labour of hundreds of thousands in the plantations flowed back to wealthy investors like Colston and other Merchant Venturers. Colston wanted to be remembered as a ‘moral saint’ (sic) so he bequeathed some of his fabulous wealth made off the backs of Africans and others, to selected groups in the city that conformed to his religious and political bias. And the rest was history…until now. Finally, we can start to get Edward ‘The Enslaver’ off our backs.

Havin’ a laugh…

We have been chuckling in The Bristolian office over the last few days reading some of the reactions from right-wing nobs who are in love with ‘Eddy the Enslaver’

Bunter Eddy showing his class

Apparently Tory Councillor Richard ‘Bunter’ Eddy will now be boycotting the Hall because it is not named after Colston! Is this because he will only go to venues that are named after slave-traders? Message from The Bristolian to Richard Eddy…Bristol is not named after a slave trader, so please try and boycott the whole city….in fact why don’t you fuck off altogether.

City Council Conservative group leader Mark Weston claimed it was a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction…tell that to the Reverend H. J. Wilkins of Westbury-on-Trym who began the campaign against the ‘cult of Colston’ nearly a century ago with his scathing biography of Edward Colston in 1920!

Obsessive Nazi Post letter writer R. L. Smith (the ‘know all’ from Knowle) ranted on about Counter-Colston campaigners ‘erasing history’ and ‘burning books’ until it was pointed out he had been campaigning to shut Bristol’s libraries for years! Twat.

Some have said that Bristol Music Trust are ‘pandering to a tiny minority’; it was actually a tiny minority of powerful merchants and politicians that put Colston on the pedestal that he sits on today. The majority of Bristolians never had a say in the naming of buildings, statues or streets. The tiny minority that the city should stop pandering to are the Society of Merchant Venturers who, since their Royal Charter of 1552, have been dictating who should or should not be memorialised – it’s for the people of Bristol to decide who is remembered and why – and there are plenty of great candidates.

Changing names and places… what about our history?

So what’s next for a Colston name change?…Colston Boys and Girls Schools? How awful darling… and how ironic considering the Merchant Venturers and their education buddies have been changing the names of our schools like confetti over the last few years. What ever happened to Whitefield, Withywood, Speedwell and St George schools let alone Hartcliffe and Monks Park? Seems like when it comes to our schools the names can be changed without debate by posh wankers from Clifton. And none of these schools were named after mass-murdering slave traders!

The same goes for buildings of historic interest. It has been pointed out to many of the opponents of the name change that, for fucks sake, it is only the name of the Colston Hall that is changing; the building is not being demolished. Unlike half of Temple Way and the historic Methodist Ebenezer Chapel and Avonvale School in East Bristol which were flattened without any debate by rich property speculators. It seems Bristolian working class history is worth shit compared to the history of murdering profiteers like Colston and the Merchant Venturers.

Of course, the next battle will be over the new name for the Ex-Colston Hall. A sensible solution would be to open it up to the people of Bristol to choose a name (what like Hally McHallface? ed). More likely is that some wealthy scumbag or a Corporation will buy the brand off the cash-strapped Council and it will end up as ‘Sir Rich Bastard Hall‘ or ‘Carphone Warehouse Hall’. Just like in the olden days when wealthy scum like Edward Colston and the Merchant Venturers had the run of the city and named everything after themselves…

FAKE HISTORY BISHOP QUITS

Bishop Mike the Mercenary

Bristol’s slave trade apologist Church of England chief vicar is finally throwing in the towel. Cambridge educated Bishop Mike “THE MERCENARY” Hill will finally retire in September.

Mike the Mercenary became engulfed in controversy in 2014 when he was recorded LYING to a congregation of schoolchildren. During a private ‘Charter Day’ celebration of EDWARD COLSTON at Bristol Cathedral, Hill told the children that Colston had “lived a life of significance” and there “may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots”.

This is, of course, a load of bollocks and FAKE HISTORY. There is no speculation about Colston’s role as a major 18TH CENTURY SLAVE TRADER nor in his role running the Royal Africa Company, which had a monopoly on the Atlantic slave trade during much of his tenure.

Between 1672 and 1689, Colston’s company transported around 100,000 enslaved Africans to the West Indies and America. This included children as young as six. Each slave BRANDED with the company’s initials, RAC, on their chest.

To maximise profit, Colston’s ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy KILLED MORE THAN 20,000 enslaved Africans during the crossings. Their bodies were thrown overboard. None of this is speculation.

Hill attempted to brush Colston’s slave trading under the carpet during a private ceremony at Bristol Cathedral. The venue – along with a useful idiot senior Church of England Vicar – is hired by the city’s super-rich Society of Merchant Venturers every year to promote their FAKE NEWS version of their hero Edward Colston to school children attending Venturer funded schools.

Anyone wishing to throw a bucket of piss or rotten tomatoes over this old establishment racist, liar and fraud should note his last service will take place at Bristol Cathedral on 23 September at 3.30pm.

SLAVERY PROTEST SPUN BY COLSTON’S SCHOOL AND MEDIA

Headteacher Alistair “Snooty” Perry from COLSTON GIRLS SCHOOL recently created a media storm after sending a letter to parents suggesting that pupils had been “approached by strangers in a forthright manner.

He went on to say that his school would be “reviewing our policies for student movement around the local area, including Year 11 leaving the school at lunchtime” after a protest at the annual ‘celebrations’ for slave-trader EDWARD COLSTON on 7 November at BRISTOL CATHEDRAL.

Since then the national and local media – led by the idle Guardian scribbler STEVEN MORRIS who appeared to phone in some South West News Service copy to head office – have spun the story with claims that:

  • ‘Protesters target girls’ and ‘accost’ them in the street (The Times)
  • ‘Schoolgirls are being warned about wearing their uniforms in public’ (The Daily Mail, The Sun)
  • ‘Campaigners have also mounted demonstrations outside the school’ (Nazi Post)

All are far from the truth and there’s been no response from Colston School who began the whole affair with a ridiculous scaremongering letter to parents suggesting that their children were in danger.

The protestors have pointed out in a statement that the leafleting outside the Cathedral was in response to last year’s ‘celebrations’ of slave-trader Colston. When the  BISHOP OF BRISTOL claimed that Colston had ‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some SPECULATION on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’.

Speculation? The educational leaflets given out by protestors simply told the history of Colston after BISHOP BONKERS had failed to tell the whole truth to school children forced to attend the ‘celebration’ the previous year.

Here is the statement from the protestors:

PROTEST OUTSIDE BRISTOL CATHEDRAL AT COLSTON COMMEMORATIONS INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL

Several newspapers published articles on 17 November about children from a Colston school in Bristol, being accosted. This may relate to events 10 days earlier, where there was a public protest outside Bristol Cathedral on 7 November, aimed at the Colston commemorations going on inside the cathedral.

We refute strongly that children were accosted on 7 November. We believe the school have overreacted to events of 7 November 2015 by unduly alarming parents and children and being economical with the truth. Inside the Cathedral, whilst preparations were being undertaken to mark Colston’s Founder’s Day attended by Colston girls school, we were protesting outside.

At the time of my arrival there were 6 of us. Our protest entailed distributing leaflets headed:  ‘WHY WE ARE PROTESTING OUTSIDE TODAY’ that explained our presence, one of us holding a lighted candle. Our presence and activities were always in a visible public space with staff present.

Shortly, another 6 joined us. Among us: a retired teacher, a security guard, a historian, a grandparent who had dropped off a child to the ceremony, a teacher, three artists, a mother with a toddler in a buggy and a former student of Colston Girls. We are representative of the Bristol population whom the children live among.

We believe the teachers only panicked because they did not have a risk assessment in place that anticipated protest. Had the staff that were present with the children read the leaflets (here), that they were so quick to take off the children, they would have realised, it was the Merchant Venturer’s commemoration of Charter day and the Bishop’s comments in the Cathedral in 2014 that brought us as individuals to protest outside the Cathedral.

We found students bright, attentive and curious. Many were entering the Cathedral with little understanding of who Colston was or indeed why they were there. Others were keen to learn more and asked for leaflets.

Education takes place everywhere. We were not outside any school or in the street harassing children. Our aim was to protest at a ceremony in a significant religious and spiritual place of worship, ‘celebrating’ a controversial historical figure without acknowledging his direct involvement in the propagation of slavery and his amassed wealth from slave trading activities.

Neither did the ceremony seek to honour the memory and suffering of Africans and others exploited by the slave trade, creating memorialisation dissent in the Bristol community. This is what we are seeking to publicly highlight and change.

Why is this controversial?

The spreading of panic and fear in children and parents through the media glosses over public dissent and smothers the truth.

We are open to meeting with the Colston’s School, the Bishop and the Cathedral for discussion on a way forward.

COLSTON AND SLAVERY STILL OBSCURED?

On Friday 7 November a group of Bristolian activists leafleted people and children entering the Colston Schools Commemoration Day at Bristol Cathedral.

This protest came about because of a discussion at a Black History month event in St Pauls a few days before. The two leaflets below were handed out. The first for pupils and the second one for adults.

They have proved more controversial and provoked more of a reaction than the protestors could possibly have imagined:

WHY WE ARE PROTESTING OUTSIDE TODAY

We are Bristol residents concerned about the Colston founder day/charter day ceremonies about to take place in the city’s cathedral today and next week, following the public of words spoken by the Bishop in last year’s ceremony. In 2014 he stated that Edward Colston had: ‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’

It is not speculation but fact that the bulk of the money Colston gave away ‘for charitable purposes’, which built two of your schools, was generated off the backs of African slaves working in sugar plantations. Is this charity?

The memory of Africans (mere commodities under slavery) forcibly removed from their West African homelands, branded, their names taken from them, working under the sun, the slave driver lash at their backs, should be remembered, whenever the name Colston is mentioned.

Colston used his money to court influence and power in the city andParliament. He lends money to the Bristol City Corporation (city council) one year and becomes a member of the society of the Merchant Venturers the next…..

Ceremonies held in a cathedral, private or otherwise, presided over by the Bishop of Bristol, with hundreds of Bristol children in attendance, where the Bishop chooses to speculate over this fact and not give dignity to the memory of African ancestors who were dehumanised, are perverse.

We are using our presence to provide balance in education. Use the central library next door and the internet to find out the truth about:

 Edward Colston and other Bristol slave traders

 The Merchant Venturers

 The slave and sugar trade in Bristol

 Slave rebellions in America and the Caribbean

 The movement for the abolition of slavery

 Talk to your parents and teachers at school

 

COLSTON AND SLAVERY STILL OBSCURED?

At last year’s Merchant Venturers Charter Day service at the cathedral the Bishop of Bristol, stated that Edward Colston had:

‘lived a life of significance’ [and there] ‘may be still some speculation on some of the circumstances around his business roots right here’

The Bishop of Bristol’s clumsy attempt to rewrite history, effectively claiming that Colston’s involvement in the business of the slave trade was ‘speculation’ is unsurprising. A similar kind of air brushing occurred during a BBC televised debate in 2007 (the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade) when a spokesperson for the Merchant Venturers, claimed that his organisation had not traded in slave-produced commodities! This produced a mixture of laughter and howls of derision from the assembled historians in the studio audience.

This is nothing new. Colston’s extensive political and financial involvement in promoting slavery and the trade in human cargo has been obscured by the Merchant Venturers and their devotees for centuries. It took until the 1920s before his dealings in the ‘vile trade’ first began to be exposed. The problem for the Merchant Venturers and their ilk is simply this: if you set up one of your beneficent members as the ‘father of Bristol’, bang up statues1 and name streets and buildings after him; then the truth becomes politically inconvenient.

So what are the myths and what is the truth about Edward Colston?

 Colston was held up in the Victorian period as an example of ‘a self-made man’. This was far from true. Privately educated Colston was born into a wealthy merchant family in Bristol who were already embedded in the Merchant Venturers by the time he was born in 1636.

 In 1680 the profit-chasing Colston followed a number of his family into the Royal African Company (RAC), the premier slaving organisation in the British Empire. During the heyday of the RAC from 1672 to 1698 the organisation had a complete monopoly over the trade in human cargo from West Africa. Colston rose rapidly to the board of the company in this period becoming its deputy governor in 1689.

 Between 1672 and 1689, Colston’s company transported around 100,000 enslaved Africans to plantations in the West Indies and America. This included women and children as young as six – each slave was branded with company’s initials, RAC, on their chest. To maximise profit, Colston’s ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom, so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy killed more than 20,000 slaves during the crossings. Their bodies were thrown overboard.

 During this period Colston secretly accrued immense wealth which he then multiplied again by acting as a money lender. The bulk of this fortune, originally obtained from the exploitation of forced labour, became his passport to civic and political power in Bristol.

 Colston is often portrayed as a Christ-like figure giving without prejudice to the ‘poor’ of Bristol. In fact he was a Christian fundamentalist who hated Catholics and non-conformists; in fact anyone who wasn’t part of the High Anglican church. For Colston, only the ‘right-kind’ of poor and orphans were due his charity and even then they had to be physically and ideologically disciplined into strict religious observance before they would be allowed to ‘kiss the benefactors hand’.

 Colston was an old-school Tory loyalist who believed in the divine right of kings, despised Whigs and fought tooth and nail against ‘dangerous’ ideas such as ‘democracy’ and ‘enfranchisement’.
History is full of profiteers, gangsters and exploiters who toss ill-gotten wealth from the high table downwards in order to appease their own egos or to gain civic pride and status. Colston fits neatly into a long line of British slavers, colonial warlords and drug dealers that profited from the misery of colonisation and forced labour, whilst building respectable identities through philanthropy in the ‘mother country’.

The question is: For how much longer are school children expected to commemorate Colston in the city’s cathedral whilst conveniently disregarding the memory of enslaved Africans whose lives were brutalised and cheapened by the trade in human cargo? The Bishop of Bristol needs to inform school children of the truth, to restore humanity dignity to the memory of those whose lives were commodified. After all it is he that presides over these commemorations. The ball is in his court…….

(BRHG, 05-11-2015)

PDFs:

colston leaflet_adults

colston leaflet_pupils

LADY GAGA PORTRAIT JOY

lady Gaga portrait

The BRISTOLIAN can EXCLUSIVELY unveil Bristol City Council’s new official portrait of City Director Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates, created by local artist and Twitter enthusiast @guriben.

The portrait of the city’s wealthy first lady of local government will accompany all official Bristol City Council announcements and publications by Lady Gaga from Monday and it will also appear on a range of Conservative general election material from next year.

MAYOR FERGO told The BRISTOLIAN, “The portrait is magnificent. It perfectly encapsulates Nicola, her character, intellect and not insubstantial beauty. Well done to Guriben and I look forward to an interpretation of me.”

“Nicola Yates will be responsible for the delivery of the Mayor and council's vision”

“Nicola Yates will be responsible for the delivery of the Mayor and council’s vision,” says £160k Nicola Yates with tongue firmly in cheek

Lady Gaga has been described as “satisfied” with her official portrait and is said to be keen to see the painting displayed in the City Museum and Art Gallery where she may fit in nicely alongside some of  Bristol’s  other famous Conservative political figures like the slave trader EDWARD COLSTON and that old reactionary EDMUND BURKE.

The BRISTOLIAN will be commissioning further portraits from Guriben soon for some of our favourite local government officers such as country boy solicitor LIAM ‘MALFOY’ NEVIN, the less than magical new chief legal officer; ANGIE ‘PAIDWELL’ RIDGWELL, the generously remunerated chief bean counter and a farewell portrait of PR man for himself, PETER ‘CLAUDIA-JEAN’ HOLT.

Have you painted a portrait of your favourite local government officer or councillor? Why not send it in?

The best artistic rendering of GARY HOPKINS will win a prize…