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Edward Colston (detail from Some Who Have Made Bristol Famous).
Edward Colston (1636-1721) was a merchant and philanthropist, with business interests in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. He was an official on the board of the London-based Royal African Company, which had control over the early trade with Africa, including that in slaves.

Edward Colston (detail from Some Who Have Made Bristol Famous).

Although only an occasional visitor to his home city of Bristol, he briefly served as the local MP and endowed a number of local almshouses, schools, charitable societies and other benevolent institutions. As a consequence of this, his name is prominently featured throughout the city – for example, Colston Avenue, Colston's School, Colston House, Colston Hall. On his death, his body was carried by hearse from London to Bristol, where, watched by a crowd of those who had benefited from this charitable work, it was buried with suitable pomp and ceremony at All Saints' Church.

Others associated with trade, and with Bristol include:

William Canynges (c1399-1474), merchant and benefactor of St Mary Redcliffe Church.

John Foster (died 1492), salt merchant and founder of almshouse on Colston Street.

Alice Chestre (died 1495), trader and benefactor, who paid for the erection of a crane on Bristol Back for the commercial benefit of the city.

Robert Thorne, the elder (died 1519), merchant and founder of Bristol Grammar School.

John Whitson (1557-1629), merchant and founder of the Red Maids School.

Jane Martin (1729-1835), local fruit seller for over 50 years.


John Whitson from the comic

John Whitson.