LET PEO­PLE DE­CIDE OVER COL­STON HALL

Western Daily Press - - Front Page - KATE WIL­SON news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

LABOUR leader Jeremy Cor­byn has said the new name for Col­ston Hall should be de­cided by the peo­ple of Bris­tol, dur­ing a visit to the city yes­ter­day.

Mr Cor­byn also said he wanted to see greater weight given to the “im­mense con­tri­bu­tion” black Bri­tons had made in end­ing slav­ery and the fight for civil rights.

Bris­tol, a city whose wealth was built on the slave trade, has been grad­u­ally re-ex­am­in­ing its role in the slave trade and slav­ery in re­cent years, with Ed­ward Col­ston at the fore­front.

The slave trader’s name is com­mon in Bris­tol, with schools, build­ings, roads, pubs and a con­cert hall named af­ter him.

But there has been a grow­ing cam­paign to have it re­moved from in­sti­tu­tions and build­ings in the city.

And in April last year, Col­ston Hall an­nounced it was drop­ping the name to dis­as­so­ci­ate it­self from the “toxic brand”.

The hall is cur­rently closed while it un­der­goes a £48.8 mil­lion trans­for­ma­tion. When it re­opens in 2020 it will have a new name.

Dur­ing his visit to Bris­tol, Mr Cor­byn did not sug­gest any ideas for a name him­self, in­stead say­ing “it should be down to the peo­ple of Bris­tol to de­cide”.

He even sug­gested a com­pe­ti­tion sim­i­lar to one that took place in his own con­stituency, Is­ling­ton North, where res­i­dents were in­vited to vote on what to call a new square in Arch­way, which even­tu­ally be­came known as Nav­i­ga­tor Square.

Mr Cor­byn said the name should be some­thing that was im­por­tant to the peo­ple of Bris­tol.

He said: “I think we should un­der­stand our past and not erase it, but we should also com­mem­o­rate those who stood up against the slave trade.

“So I would like to see com­mem­o­ra­tions of peo­ple like Olau­dah Equiano – a freed slave who did so much to bring about the end of slav­ery – and the Rev Thomas Clark­son, who was a won­der­ful cam­paigner and who pre­ceded Wil­liam Wil­ber­force in bring­ing about an end to the slave trade.

“Also to com­mem­o­rate the con­tri­bu­tion of freed slaves who came and made their homes in Bris­tol and other places to help bring about the free­dom of oth­ers.

“In Ja­maica and other places they com­mem­o­rate peo­ple like Paul Bogle, who led the upris­ing in Ja­maica.”

Mr Cor­byn said it was about un­der­stand­ing where “our his­tory comes from”.

As part of his visit, the Labour leader un­veiled plans for an Eman­ci­pa­tion Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, which would ed­u­cate fu­ture gen­er­a­tions about the im­pact of slav­ery.

Speak­ing out­side City Hall he said: “I want to see a his­tory cur­ricu­lum much broader that it is at the present time for all chil­dren.

“Un­der­stand­ing of his­tory gives us a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the world and helps ul­ti­mately to bring about a more peace­ful world.”

Mr Cor­byn also ad­dressed the Win­drush scan­dal and said the com­mu­nity af­fected should re­ceive both a “proper apol­ogy and com­pen­sa­tion”.

He said Labour was clear there needed to be jus­tice for the en­tire Win­drush gen­er­a­tion.

“No­body should have been re­moved from this coun­try and no­body should have had their right to re­main in Bri­tain ques­tioned like they did.

“This is a gen­er­a­tion that of­ten came from poor fam­i­lies, small vil­lages, all across the Caribbean.

“They built our NHS, they ran our railways, they did so much in our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and made an amaz­ing con­tri­bu­tion to our na­tional story and our life. Let’s treat them prop­erly.”

Dur­ing his visit, Mr Cor­byn also met with the city’s mayor, Marvin Rees, in­side City Hall.

Michael LLoyd

Jeremy Cor­byn out­side Bris­tol’s City Hall yes­ter­day

Mr Cor­byn views the Alone with Em­pire ex­hi­bi­tion at City Hall

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