It was three years ago that the Colston Hall announced it would be changing its names as part of its multi-million pound redevelopment programme.
And yet on Sunday, as the statue of Edward Colston was torn down only a few hundred yards away from the venue, the name of the slave trader remained of its walls – despite the venue being built 150 years after Colston died and not founded with any of his money.
“The current name does not reflect our values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation,” said a statement released on Monday from Bristol Music Trust (BMT), the charity that manages the operations of the Colston Hall.
“We want it to be representative of the city, a beacon of its values of hope, diversity and inclusion.”
BMT said that a new name was originally planned to be announced in spring 2020 “following a thorough and in-depth consultation process carried out with over 4,000 people from communities all across the city”.
But the coronavirus pandemic scuppered the timing of these plans as it prevented BMT from being able to carry out the final round of community engagement.
With the majority of staff now furloughed, their statement said that their “focus has temporarily switched to protecting the future of our organisation, as well as supporting our partners, Bristol’s music community, artists, music teachers and others”.
The statement added: “We understand that the pace of change is important and we are working hard to adapt our plans through the pandemic.
“We aim to announce a new name that is right for both the Hall and the city in autumn 2020.
“There are a number of steps we need to take between now and then, but as a demonstration of our commitment, one of these will be removing the external signage from the building.
“We will provide further updates on this as soon as we are able to. In the meantime, we will continue to listen and learn and reflect on what more we can do as an organisation to make positive change in our city.”
Main photo by Martin Booth
Read more: Have your say on the Colston Hall’s new name