Bristol’s real story must be told: Mayor Marvin Rees  - CB Bristol Design

10 Jun 2020

Bristol’s real story must be told

Bristol’s true history will be researched by a new commission so the city can better understand its story.    

Marvin Rees, Bristol Mayor, confirmed the commission will include historians and city placemakers and be charged with researching and sharing Bristol’s rich and varied areas and stories.

Mayor Rees said: “The events over the last few days have really highlighted that as a city we all have very different understandings of our past. The only way we can work together on our future is by learning the truth of our beginnings, embracing the facts, and sharing those stories with others. This is why this commission is so important.

“Bristol’s journey to become the modern city it is today includes a history of huge disparities of class, race and gender and the struggles for equality. Our history includes the growth of education, the struggles of workers for pay and working conditions, and Chartists and suffragettes campaigning for emancipation. 

"Our story includes the impacts that wars, protests, slavery and freedom have had on our citizens. Crucial to our heritage has been the harbour and the docks, manufacturing and industry, research and innovation, transport, slum clearances, housing, modern gentrification and faith. 

“Education of our history has often been flawed. More accuracy of our city’s history which is accessible to all will help us understand each other, our differences, our contradictions and our complexities.”  

The mayor also announced that the recently removed statue of Edward Colston, will be retrieved from the harbour and exhibited in one of our museums. The statue will be displayed alongside Black Lives Matter placards from the recent protest so the 300 year story of slavery through to today’s fight for racial equality can be learnt about. 

The council has received many ideas for what should go on the remaining plinth, including another statue of notable Bristol people or revolving art projects. The Mayor confirmed that any decision on how the plinth should be used will be decided democratically through consultation.

The members of the commission will be announced at a later date, after discussion.