Colston Hall becomes Bristol Beacon
Bristol’s leading music venue Colston Hall, which has borne the name of the slave trader Edward Colston for more than 150 years, has been renamed Bristol Beacon.
Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust that owns the hall, said 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".
The name of the hall, which stands near to where the statue of Colston stood until earlier this year, has been the subject of growing controversy, reaching a peak during the Black Lives Matter protests in June during which the statue was uprooted and thrown into the harbour.
Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, welcomed the announcement. “In this naming process we have the renewal of the soul of the building” he said. “It is such a powerful building at the centre of our city”.
Bristol Beacon, which opened as Colston Hall in 1867, is currently closed for a £50m renovation, its first make-over since 1951. Though the original naming of the hall did not reflect any funding from Colston’s fortune – it took its title from the street it was in – and was built almost 150 years after Colston, who was also a local philanthropist, had died in 1721, protests about the name began more than three years ago. When the hall closed for its refurbishment in 2018 Mitchell vowed it would not reopen under that name, which was removed from the building at the time of the statue’s removal.