William Eichler 26 October 2022

Decision to name Bristol street after cigarette brand under review

Decision to name Bristol street after cigarette brand under review image
Image: John Corry / Shutterstock.com.

The Mayor of Bristol is currently reviewing a controversial decision to name a street after a cigarette brand after an anti-smoking charity criticised the plan.

The street runs through a site that sits on a former Imperial Group tobacco factory in Bishopsworth, south Bristol.

The name Navy Cut Road was chosen to celebrate what Bristol City Council Conservative Cllr Richard Eddy called the city’s ‘“gritty” industrial history’.

However, Mayor Marvin Rees is reviewing the decision after the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said that Bristol’s link with the tobacco industry should be a matter of ‘shame, not pride, for the city.’

‘Once the Mayor’s office has reviewed the decision to name a street after a cigarette brand I cannot believe that the decision will be allowed to stand,’ said ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott.

‘Smoking killed 100 million people worldwide in the twentieth century, and on current trends it could kill one billion people this century, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.’

Ms Arnott also highlighted the close connection between tobacco and slavery.

‘The tobacco that helped Bristol grow prosperous was produced by slave Labour, and once slavery ended by share croppers whose working conditions were not much better. Bristol’s link with the tobacco industry should be a matter of shame, not pride, for the city,’ she said.

Cllr Eddy argued that the furore was the result of a tyrannical mayor and ‘politically-correct lobby-groups’.

‘Sadly, this saga more reflects the disproportionate and tyrannical status of the Bristol Mayor – something Bristolians overwhelmingly voted to do without at the end of his term-of-office – than any invented and bogus argument about the health properties of cigarette-smoking,’ he said.

‘The fact remains that the proposed housing development is on the site of a former tobacco factory – a manufacturing sector which once gave employment to tens of thousands of Bristolians and hugely added to our wealth as a city.

‘I believe this “gritty” industrial history deserves marking – something endorsed by the council’s street-naming team – which came up with the idea, and Curo Homes, the developer.’

He added: ‘Bristol Mayor Rees seems more determined to give certain ‘politically-correct’ lobby-groups the oxygen of publicity than to listen to the genuine views of local communities.’

The Mayor’s Office said they had no further comment while the decision was being reviewed.

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