Long-time patron of Bristol’s main concert venue, Councillor Richard Eddy, has reacted angrily to the shock news that the building is to be renamed by the time of its completed refurbishment in 2020.
Directors on the management board of the Bristol Music Trust have taken the decision to disassociate themselves from Sir Edward Colston – the 17th Century benefactor who is remembered and respected by many Bristolians for his good works in providing schools, hospitals and housing for the poor.
However, this Merchant is also seen by some as a figure totally unsuitable for recognition down the generations because he profited greatly from involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
This controversy was reignited recently with a petition and staged protests outside the theatre, demanding public consultation on choosing a new name for the premises.
Cllr Richard Eddy, a long-standing critic of the move, said: "This disgraceful craven announcement by the Bristol Music Trust represents nothing less than an abject betrayal of the history and people of Bristol.
“It is a complete surrender to the forces of historically-illiterate Political Correctness.
"Instead of tackling the real victims of Modern Slavery in Bristol, critics of Edward Colston would much rather expend their energies on applying the mores, values and standards of today to the actions of a man who lived 400 years ago.
“The latest clamour for change represents an attempt to selectively air-brush history away and betrays absolutely no awareness of the huge debt we still owe to this great Bristolian.
"Even in the early twenty-first century, the inhabitants of our city still gain immeasurably from the housing, healthcare and schooling legacy of Colston.
"I am utterly fed-up of pandering to the views of a tiny minority of non-Bristolians and outraged that the unelected directors of the Bristol Music Trust can make this controversial decision.
"However, this pathetic capitulation will at least save me money.
“As a regular concert-goer to the Colston Hall, I do not intend to spend one penny on tickets there if it changes its name after 2020 and hope other true Bristolians will do likewise."