The Society of Merchant Venturers
Established under Royal Charter in 1552, the 80 men and women of The Society of Merchant Venturers, drawn from the wider Bristol area, work with and support local communities and citizens. We do this through education, care for older people, charitable giving and social enterprise.
For example, we’re currently educating over 3,900 children in our nine schools; together with the St Monica Trust, we support over 5,000 older people; in 2016, we made charitable grants to over 90 individuals and organisations; as part of Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, we support social enterprise; we administer a wide range of trusts and grants; and with the City Council, we are responsible for the stewardship of the Clifton and Durdham Downs.
Embracing the History of Bristol
The transatlantic slave trade undoubtedly played a significant role in the growth of Bristol during the 18th century.
Today, Bristol continues to struggle with its past and with the profile of Edward Colston within the City. It is clear that we must address and acknowledge Bristol’s historic connection to the slave trade in a way that is illuminating and meaningful.
Whilst we cannot change the past, we can help to eradicate modern-slavery by educating the young people of Bristol about the abhorrence of slavery, both past and present. The Society of Merchant Venturers continually reviews the curriculum at each of our schools to ensure that students are confident, equipped and prepared for the responsibilities they have as global citizens.
By embracing the history of our city, we can all learn valuable lessons that will enable us to build a strong, fair and united future for Bristol, a city proud of its diversity and inclusivity.
The Society of Merchant Venturers is actively working with leaders across Bristol who share our commitment to achieve social justice and improve the quality of life for all. Accurately remembering and appropriately acknowledging Bristol’s connection to the slave trade is a discussion we are driving forward with purpose.