Our Members - The men and women of the Society of Merchant Venturers are drawn from the wider Bristol area. In all aspects of the Society’s work, members are active and collaborative, with the aim to make positive and effective change within Bristol.

Edward Colston (2 November 1636 – 11 October 1721) was a Bristol-born English merchant, A significant part of his wealth was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves  slave trader, and Member of Parliament. He supported and endowed schools, almshouses, hospitals and churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere, and his name is commemorated in several Bristol landmarks, streets, three schools and the Colston bun. Many of his charitable foundations and his beliefs in slavery still survive. 

 

The bronze plaque for a statue for Colston was cast with this wording and was to be added to the statue in early 2019. Yet, at the last moment, Bristol's Mayor at the time, Marvin Rees, stepped in to veto the wording, accusing the Society of Merchant Venturers of being behind the rewording, although many members of the public had contributed to this as part of a Council-led project.The Mayor proposed that the wording, which he thought was not harsh enough, would be looked at again as part of "wider work on improving our cultural offer around the transatlantic slave trade