Bristol University Bows To Pressure Over ‘Slave Trade’ Logo

Dolphin To Be Removed From University Crest

Dolphin to be removed from Bristol University crest. Credit: Bristoluniversity/

BRISTOL University has recently decided to change elements of its logo in hopes of severing its links to the slave trade. However, is erasing the past a step towards a better future?

On Tuesday, November 28, Professor Evelyn Welch, the vice-chancellor of Bristol University, made a significant announcement.

The Russell Group University, recognising its historical ties to the slave trade, will remove a contentious emblem from its logo. The emblem of a dolphin, linked to slave trader Edward Colston, has been a part of the logo since 2003, writes GB News.

Controversial Emblem’s Origins

Edward Colston, a 17th and 18th-century member of the Royal African Company, became infamously linked to the transatlantic slave trade. ‘Famously, his statue was toppled into the docks during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020,’ writes Professor Welch.

According to historian Professor William Pettigrew, the company was responsible for transporting more African enslaved people to the Americas than any other institution during that era.

Interestingly, the university clarified that it never received funding related to Colston, who passed away 200 years before its foundation.

Community’s Voice In Decision Making

This decision follows a year-long public consultation, involving 4,000 students, staff, and local community members. The survey highlighted a strong desire to acknowledge and explain the past, especially regarding figures associated with the slave trade. The emblem’s removal is seen as a step in addressing these historical ties.

Preserving History While Moving Forward

Despite the emblem’s removal, other historical symbols will remain. These include the sun symbol of the Wills family and the horse emblem of the Frys, both significant to the university’s history.

A spokesperson emphasised the families’ foundational role in the early 20th century, noting their financial contributions, though acknowledging their historical products’ connections to enslaved labour.

The university plans to maintain the current names of its buildings, including the Wills Memorial Building and the Fry Building. However, it commits to making their full stories and historical connections more visible and understood.

Focusing On Reparative Futures

In a move towards reparative justice, Bristol University will dedicate £10 million over the next decade to the ‘Reparative Futures’ programme. This initiative aims to address racial injustices and enrich schemes like the Black Scholarships scheme.

Professor Welch’s experience with racism at the institution underscores the importance of such measures. Her leadership in these changes marks a new chapter in the university’s history.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Bob

      28 November 2023 • 20:03

      Pathetic, seems our woke generation has nothing better to do than destroy history. Get a life Snowflakes, one day the world will laugh at you, and with good reason.

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