Just in: Bristol renames its concert hall

Just in: Bristol renames its concert hall


norman lebrecht

September 23, 2020

The Colston Hall used to bear the name of the slave trader Edward Colston.

Now it’s to be known as the Bristol Beacon.

It took them four months to land on that utterly dazzling name, announced today.


  • Oh good grief... says:

    What a truly dreadful name…

  • rugbyfiddler says:

    And what would have been wrong with The Bristol Concert Hall?

    • Kenneth Griffin says:

      Calling it The Bristol Concert Hall would lead to confusion with St George’s, another Bristol concert hall.

      And Bristol Beacon is the name of the whole building, with its two auditoria and cellar studios, and not just the main concert hall.

      So The Bristol Concert Hall would have been a silly choice of name.

    • Geezer says:

      It would not satisfy the Rastafarian community, they want everything expunged.

  • James Weiss says:

    How utterly ridiculous. If they wanted to go full “woke” they should have called it the “Meghan.”

    • Ramesh Nair says:

      As a New Zealand passport-holder of Indian and Chinese ancestry, I should point out that many things get renamed. I prefer ‘Madras’, but now that city is ‘Chennai’.
      And the current royal family that the Meghan married into was correctly named ‘Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’, until in a fit of complete jingoistic woke-ness they became ‘Windsor’ during WW1. Why the renaming, because of a little tiff in France and Belgium? Windsor had nothing to do with Prince Albert, and being German was and is not morally reprehensible — not compared to profiting handsomely off the sale of slaves. Naturally, if Prince Harry was woke, he should have made Archie’s surname, oh, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha perhaps?

    • Craig says:

      You are absolutely side-splitting, have you considered a career change?

  • Adrienne says:

    I feel much safer now – provided I stay away from places that nobody wants to talk about.

  • Drew says:

    More than 4 months. They’ve been talking about renaming for quite some time I believe.

  • Dave says:

    I don’t know whether that’s better or worse than The Lighthouse in Poole. Mind you, at least the Wessex Hall is still called that rather than something hip and trendy (or do they just abbreviate it to “Wessex Hall” as per the fashion?).

  • How truly pathetic. I trust the city council will return all funds due, as a result of this juvenile action, to the Colston descendants ? Where are we all heading with such delinquents running our towns and acting on the wishes of uneducated woke students ?

    • A bassist says:

      I am no expert in the history of the Bristol Beacon but I don’t think it ever directly benefitted from Edward Colston’s endowment. A quick google tells me the Hall was set up by the ‘Colston Hall Company’, who bought the site (previously the site of Colston Boys’ School) in 1861 using money they raised themselves in shares.

      So technically, the hall owners paid the funds they owed to the Colston estate back in 1861.

      Perhaps the Colston estate might return all funds due, as the result of Colston’s involvement in the exploitation of other humans, to the slaves’ descendants.

    • The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

      None of the money is anything to do with Colston personally. The hall was called that as it happened to be built on Colston Street.

      The name change has been in the offing since 2017; the Colston name has been hugely controversial in Bristol for decades. It was announced when the hall closed for refurbishment that the name would be changed.

      Finally: look at the board of Bristol Music Trust. If you think a board composed of accountants, lawyers, educationalists, charity reps, successful local businessmen and the like is ‘delinquents running our towns’, then I’d politely suggest your radar is in need of its annual service.

  • Ricardo says:

    Should have called it after Keith TIppett. Boo!!

    • Tribonian says:

      They certainly should! I saw Keith Tippet open for Ornette Coleman and Prime Time in about 1988. It was a single improvised piano piece which brought the house down. I don’t think Ornette was too happy about having to follow that.


    Local Knowledge, Question 6

    Until the name ‘Colston’ fell out of favour, Bristol Beacon was:

    a) a freesheet known for its incompetent small-ads section, which frequently mixed up Thai restaurants and Thai massage;

    b) a jet fighter cancelled in 1951;

    c) the drop-in centre in the crypt of St George’s;

    d) a 1970s vertically arranged group-sex activity perfected in said crypt and subsequently much imitated (and cf. ‘Have you seen the Bristols on that?’);

    e) what in fact everybody calls the university’s Beacon House (as in ‘See you 7:30 at the Beacon’).

    [GUYS: in all the time & £££ this bloody process took, did no one really not think to take a quick pre-launch Google?]

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

    Grasp reality! A rose by … etc.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Names trigger memories. By expunging all references to a slave-trader we will ensure that future generations won’t have a clue who Colston was or that he was once a Bristolian. There are other ways to show contempt for the practice of slavery without airbrushing away all evidence of the darker side of British history. One-sidedness has triumphed again.

  • Belfast Bob says:

    Why not call it the “Traffic Light”. This BLM revisionism is all a load of ballix as we say in NI. Imagine if they tried to remove auld Carson from Stormont. There would be wigs on the green for sure.

  • Geezer Butler says:

    The place survived the Blitz, however it burnt down to a cinder in 1945 from a fire from a discarded fag butt, it got a tarting up for the 1951 Festival of Britain with a Harrison organ. They put on Rock dos mostly.


    There’s nothing wrong with the new name. And thank goodness they’ve dumped the old. It’s not woke, no more than the Windsor rebrand of 1917 as others have suggested. Let’s celebrate the future, not the dodgy past