Bristol’s Colston Hall is changing its name to end ‘toxic’ slave trade association

The venue will reopen in 2020 with a new name.

Historic Bristol music venue Colston Hall is changing its name to remove “toxic” associations with the slave trade.

The 2,000 capacity venue, which has hosted gigs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie over the years, shares its name with Edward Colston, a notorious 17th century slave trader.

Louise Mitchell of Bristol Music Trust, which runs the venue, told the BBC that changing the name is the “right thing to do” for artists, the public and the venue’s “diverse workforce”.


She said: “The name Colston does not reflect the trust’s values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation. We want to look to the future and ensure the whole city is proud of its transformed concert hall and so when we open the new hall, it will be with a new name.”

Colston Hall is due to undergo a multimillion pound refurbishment and will reopen in 2010 with its new name, which has yet to be announced. Mitchell admitted that she expects a “backlash” over the name change, but added: “Effectively, I’ve been selling a toxic brand up to now.”

Bristol band Massive Attack have consistently refused to play at Colston Hall because of its name. Earlier this year, a petition calling for a name change attracted more than 2,000 signatures.