Proposals to formalise the move of the Edward Colston statue to the Bristol’s M Shed museum are to be considered by committee later this month.

The statue of the merchant and slave trader was created in 1895, and listed in 1977. In 2020 it was toppled and pushed into Bristol Harbour during George Floyd protests.

After it was pulled back out of the harbour by the council, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees set up the We Are Bristol History Commission, inspired by discussions around the statue’s cultural significance and wider historic issues in the city.

The statue was put on exhibition at the M Shed museum in Bristol in 2021 and has been stored there since.

The commission’s report, published in February 2022, set out a number of recommendations associated with the statue, including the recommendation that the statue should be kept in a museum.

The recommendation was informed by the results of a survey shared with people across the city, which suggested 80% of Bristolians agreed with the approach.

An application to regularise the legal position of the listed asset, away from its plinth, must be submitted to the council’s Development Control Committee.

If the plans are approved, the statue will feature as part of an upcoming exhibition at M Shed on the theme of protest, set to open in March 2024.

Mayor Rees said the best place for the statue is “in a museum where its context, and that of what it represents to many communities can be appropriately shared with diverse audiences.”

Rees cited the 100,000 people who visited “The Colston Statue: What next?” display in 2021 as an indication of the public’s interest.

Professor Tim Cole, who chaired the We Are Bristol History Commission, and was one of the academics to produce the report, said there was an “overwhelming sense that people saw the museum as being the best place for the statue and I am pleased to see the council acting on this recommendation.”

The cross-party Development Control Committee will meet on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

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