Bristol school’s name change after the BLM protest raised concerns: “Where do you stop?” | United Kingdom | New
It’s been over a year since the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was shot down during a BLM protest and thrown into the River Avon. It came after the murder of George Floyd in the United States sparked protests around the world and then led to violent clashes with police. The disfigured statue – which to many was a symbol of Britain’s colonial history – is now on display in the city museum, alongside placards from the protest and a timeline of events.
But the former headmistress of Colston Girls School, Jane Ghosh, told the BBC’s “Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol” why she was upset by the events.
She said: “I have all the sympathy for everyone who has been trying to have this statue removed for years.
“But I found it a bit over the top. I was a little sad to see it tip over in the harbor.
“It was my childhood, it was my childhood. It’s a shame that way, but it’s just a sentimental attachment.”
The school was opened in 1891, 170 years after Colston’s death, and was funded through a financial endowment from the slave trader.
Ms. Ghosh recalled the role he played as a child.
She added: “I joined Colston’s Girls in 1959, there was no charge at the time. It was supported partly by the local authority and partly by the Merchant Venturers.
“It was a wonderful education because everyone was encouraged to feel that they could do whatever they wanted to do and be whatever they wanted to be.
“It was quite liberating, I guess.
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She continued, “I can see it had to happen because the political climate has changed. I support Black Lives Matter. But where do you stop?
“There are statues of all kinds of so called great and wonderful people – Nelson and Churchill – they did horrible things.
“It’s a shame people think everything has to be erased.
“What you need to get rid of is the racism behind all of this and not just focusing on an 18th century guy.”
Following the decision to change the branding in October, a list of possible new names was put together by the students, and three suggestions were shortlisted by the Venturers Trust Board which runs the school.
The school is located in the Montpellier area of Bristol and the new name received 62% of the vote.
The school’s own Colston statue was also removed from the premises in June.
It came before the former Colston Hall concert hall announced in September that it would change its name to Bristol Beacon.