News / Edward Colston

Colston’s statue to be retrieved from docks and put in museum

By martin booth, Monday Jun 8, 2020

The next chapter of Edward Colston’s story could soon be written.

His statue, which on Sunday was pulled down and then rolled into the Floating Harbour, will be retrieved from underwater and put in a museum.

Marvin Rees revealed the news during an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Bristol’s mayor also confirmed that the placards that had been left by Black Lives Matters protesters around the plinth will be put on display in the M Shed.

Colston’s statue was erected on November 13 1895, more than 150 years after the death of the slave trader in 1721.

The Grade II-listed bronze statue was made by John Cassidy of Manchester and until Sunday afternoon stood on a pedestal of Portland stone.

Historic England call it “a handsome statue, erected in the late C19 to commemorate a late C17 figure; the resulting contrast of styles is handled with confidence”.

Colston’s statue in July 2018 – photo by Martin Booth

The statue is currently lying on the bottom of the docks on the former course of the River Frome (diverted from its original course in the 13th century) where Colston’s own slave ships might once have sailed up.

It seems most likely that the statue – once salvaged from the riverbed – will end up in the M Shed just a few hundred yards away.

The above animation by Candice Pepperall was made in 2007 after Bristol production company Firstborn Creatives supported first-time filmmakers to make short films exploring the legacy and impact of slavery in Bristol.

Candice’s animation is still screened at the M Shed, where Colston might soon be arriving on his next chapter.

Main photo: Bristol Archives

Read more: Toppling of Colston statue provokes reaction across the world

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