The University of Bristol launched an exercise last week, seeking views on whether seven buildings whose names are linked in different ways to the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans should be renamed. This includes Wills Hall and the Dame Monica Wills Chapel. The consultation runs until 19 December.
This exercise continues the discussion started some years ago by the University about building names and the University logo. A report was commissioned to better understand the links and connections to historical slavery.
The Wills family’s links are considered in the report on pages 15 to 16 and on page 18 the family‘s support for abolition is also mentioned. We recommend reading this. The University’s main page on the exercise is here: The 'Legacies of Slavery' report | About the University | University of Bristol
The consultation requires that individual responses be given in an online consultation. We are aware many members will have strong views and it is vital we make our voices heard. We would strongly encourage everybody to complete this questionnaire. Please also share information about the consultation with all of your Bristol cohort.
The questionnaire should take up to 15 minutes. Please do not assume that the University has already decided these questions. This should be treated as a genuine consultation, and the number and nature of responses will make a difference.
There are in person and online panel discussions with members of university including the Vice-Chancellor which are open to all. For more details go to the University of Bristol events webpage.
The University is due to respond on 6 February 2023. We will keep you up-to-date on developments, and if you have any questions, please let any of the Executive Committee know.
Andrew Sulston, Chair
Wills Hall Association