Exploring the hidden history of dissent over Edward Colston’s status as a symbol of Bristol.
Talk by Roger Ball and Mark Steeds from Bristol Radical History Group.
Wednesday 23 November, 7pm – Café bar open from 6pm
In June 2020, the statue of Edward Colston in central Bristol was removed from its plinth by Black Lives Matter protestors and rolled into the waters of the Harbourside.
Some saw this as an isolated event – in fact it was the culmination of a century of protest against what was dubbed “the cult of Colston” in the city.
Roger and Mark will be talking about the foundations of opposition to Colston as a trader of enslaved persons and his reinvention as a Victorian icon.
They will explore the formation of the campaign group ‘Countering Colston’, which challenged both the physical commemoration and memorialisation in the city, looking beyond the headlines to reflect on the toppling of the statue and what might happen next.
Tickets for this talk are £5
Dr Roger Ball worked as an aerospace engineer in Bristol for more than 20 years before completing his doctorate in history at the University of West of England. A founding member of Bristol Radical History Group he has published on several subjects including urban riots, labour history, workhouses and more recently slavery and abolition. He is currently a research fellow at UWE studying the 1831 reform riots.
Mark Steeds is a former draughtsman and current publican of some 27 years, keen on trying to right old wrongs and especially interested in Bristol’s maritime and literary history. A long-time member of Bristol Radical History Group, in 2007 he wrote the group’s first pamphlet entitled Cry Freedom, Cry Seven Stars (about ‘the pub that changed the world’), co-authored Pirates and Privateers out of Bristol in 2010 and in 2020 From Wulfstan to Colston.
Details of publications:
Mark Steeds and Roger Ball, From Wulfstan to Colston: Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol
(Bristol: Bristol Radical History Group, 2020) Paperback, 420 pages, 103 black & white and colour images and 4 maps.
RRP: £14.00. Available from Bristol Radical History Group here.