Far from airbrushing our history (Brett Ellis, June 19), in the case of the Edward Colston statue, there is much agreement since its removal and recovery from the river that it would be better placed inside a Bristol museum with a prominent plaque explaining the full story of Colston’s life, the good and the bad, not just the words inscribed on the statue that he was a ‘wise and virtuous man’.

While the tearing down of the statue is controversial and should not be condoned, the feelings of Bristolians celebrating this are understandable since there have been many local campaigns for years asking for its removal. It hasn’t suddenly been deemed offensive on the back of the Black Lives Matter vehicle, as suggested in the column. Indeed, it was decided some time ago that Colston Hall, the main concert venue in Bristol, would have a name change and this has now been removed from the front of the building.

I suspect little was known about Edward Colston outside Bristol before recent events, but we learn from the respected historian David Olusoga, himself a Bristol resident, that Colston was first an investor and then deputy governor of the Royal African Company, the most prolific slave trading company in British history. During Colston’s time, it is estimated more than 80,000 slaves were shipped to the Americas with many thousands dying on the journey. Colston died in the 1720s, but his statue wasn’t erected until 200 years later in the 1890s when he had become celebrated as a great philanthropist in the city. He derived his great wealth as a slave trader and it is right the sinister side of his life is not omitted from his statue in future, wherever that may be placed, to understand the true history.

S. Utting

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