Colston statue to be housed in an £8,000 display in Bristol later this year

The statue has been stored in a secret location since it was recovered from St Augustine's Reach, where conservators have worked to preserve it.

The statue of Edward Colston will be housed in an £8,000 display, including barriers, when it is shown to the public later this year.

The statue is set to be displayed alongside Black Lives Matter placards and signs collected from the plinth after the bronze figure was removed.

Work has now begun on creating the display that will showcase the statue.

On April 1, Bristol City Council awarded a contract to Beaufort Bespoke Ltd, paying them £8,030 to create a 'Colston Statue display', which would include 'barrier and walls fabrication'.

The Colston statue's plinth remains empty Credit: PA.

The statue has not been seen since it was recovered from St Augustine's Reach, following protestors removing it from its plinth and rolling it to the edge of the harbour in June 2020.

But Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees pledged that it would be put on display in a museum, rather than being permanently hidden away or returned to its plinth in the city centre.

Following the statue's initial removal, the mayor established the We Are Bristol History Commission. They, along with the city's Museum Service are responsible for how it will be displayed, though Rees has outlined how he believed it should be presented.

Speaking in October last year he said: "It's just about getting all the processes around it right and there's been some work on the statue to make sure it doesn't further.

“It has to be cleaned up. Obviously it won't be fixed - the dent will be in it.

“The paint will be on it. The placards will be around it. So, the museum team is just going through that process now, but it will be on display".

The statue's graffiti is being preserved to tell the story of June 2020.

It is not yet known how the statue will be presented and one of those working on the project said this has been a tricky issue to work out.

UWE Associate Professor Dr Shawn Sobers was appointed to the History Commission, and said working on how the statues will be displayed has been "hugely complex in terms of tone, language, getting it right, [and] consultation with people."

The Mayor has also said he wants people to understand that the Colston statue is more than just about symbolism, but about issues surrounding equality and justice.

He said: “Yes, it was symbolic, but no one turned up to my office the next day with a memo telling me anything had changed on [the topic of] school exclusions, criminal justice, poverty, mental health, educational outcomes, unemployment levels - nothing.

“So, again we have to always be careful that the symbolic - particularly when it's really dramatic - does not consume the whole bandwidth for the conversation because otherwise we think ‘Oh, well we did this amazing thing and nothing changed’ - yeah, nothing changed because we pointed [out the] symbolic act rather than the absolute substance," he added.

Details of how the statue will be presented are not yet confirmed. But, the contract awarded to Beaufort Bespoke Ltd ends on May 29, which means it is possible that the statue could be unveiled in its new spot at the M-Shed, on the first anniversary of the day it was toppled, June 7.

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