Edward Colston was a member of the Merchant Venturers and a major figure in the Royal Africa Company which developed the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans controlled from England.

He was directly involved in the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans.

His descendants were not involved in creating the University and made no donations in the early years.

However, there were two donations – one in 1956 of £75,000 (worth £2 million today) and one in 1968 of £25,000 (worth £484,000 today) – from the Colston Educational Trust worth almost £2.5 million today. (We derived today's values using the calculator.)

The University of Bristol's main connection with Colston is with the foundation in 1899 of the University College Colston Society. The name comes from a tradition of founding philanthropic societies in Bristol to honour the memory of Colston and carry out charitable works.

The University College Colston Society was used to help raise funds for the University. Its support ultimately led to the Merchant Venturers building which houses the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

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