About the statue

The Statue of an Enslaved Person in the Museum at John Wesley’s New Room is not meant to represent one particular man, woman or child. It stands as a symbol to remember all persons who have been enslaved, with particular reference to the 18th century transatlantic trade.

This item was made by the Bristol-based creation agency Cod Steaks, who worked with Methodist historian Gary Best to completely reimagine the museum during its redesign in 2017.

It was made by moulding iron chains around a carved piece of polystyrene. The polystyrene was then set on fire so that it melted away, leaving the chains intact, forming the shape of a human being.

The statue takes centre stage in a room which explores John Wesley’s beliefs about war and slavery. He called the transatlantic slave trade “execrable villainy” and supported the campaign for abolition.

We hope that the statue and the display around it contribute to the historical understanding of Bristol’s role in the 18th century trade and the ongoing debate in the city about how we remember, how we make reparation and how we move forward.

Statue of an Enslaved Person

Five Facts about the statue

1) The Statue of an Enslaved Person was made by the Bristol-based creation agency Cod Steaks
2) It was made by wrapping iron chains around a block of carved polystyrene. The polystyrene was then set on fire so that it burned away and left the hollow statue.
3) The statue has been in the museum since 2017
4) The statue is one of the most talked-about exhibits in the museum
5) It can be found in the ‘War and Slavery’ Room

"Really excellent - I will be recommending it to friends" - Museum visitor

How to find this item:

The War and Slavery Room is one of the last rooms in the Museum! Walk through to the Common Room and turn right through Charles Wesley’s room to reach it.

General Admission
Adults £7
Seniors (65+) £6
Student £6
Children (5-16) £4
Children (under 5) Free
Carer of disabled visitor Free
Family tickets:
1 adult and up to 3 children £10
2 adults and up to 3 children £15
Additional children - £2 per child

Tickets are valid for one year, and include a free audio guide. Please note, these prices will be subject to review in 2021.
The whole site:
Monday - Saturday, 11am - 3pm
The Café:
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm

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