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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Following my consideration on the origins of West Green's Black Boy name back in the summer, Haringey Council has decided to rename Black Boy Lane in West Green.

The Council have called the exercise  a 'renaming consultation', but the online questionnaire offers only the ability to choose from a shortlist of two new names. So it appears that the decision to rename has already been taken with only the choice of name left to be decided.

They have issued the following press release.

The council has launched a renaming consultation with residents and businesses located on Black Boy Lane, as part of the wider Review on Monuments, Buildings, Place and Street Names in Haringey – which was launched on 12 June 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The council believes that the names of our monuments, buildings, places and streets must reflect the values and diversity that we are so proud of in the borough. One of the street names that has been identified as not being reflective of this is Black Boy Lane.

Meanings change over time, and the term “Black Boy” is now most commonly used as a derogatory name for African heritage men.

As part of the consultation, the council is asking residents to consider new alternative names that celebrate some of the borough’s most notable influencers, and truly reflect the borough’s rich heritage.

The two names that have been shortlisted for residents to consider are, ‘Jocelyn Barrow Lane’ and ‘La Rose Lane’. The consultation will launch today, Monday 28 September and will run for a period of 4 weeks to Monday 26 October 2020.

Letters will be arriving on Black Boy Lane residents' doorsteps this week, who can respond to the consultation using one of the following methods:

If Haringey residents have concerns or queries about place, street or building names in the borough, please get in touch. Send your views to Leader@haringey.gov.uk.


Dame Jocelyn Anita Barrow (15 April 1929 – 9 April 2020) was a Barbadian/Trinidadian British educator, community activist and politician, who was the Director for UK Development at Focus Consultancy Ltd. She was the first Black woman to be a governor of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was founder and Deputy Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Council.

John La Rose was a publisher, poet and essayist. He founded the Caribbean Artists’ Movement and publishing company New Beacon Books which has a bookshop in Stroud Green. In 1975, he co-founded the Black Parents Movement from the core of the parents involved in the George Padmore Supplementary School incident in which a young Black schoolboy was beaten up by the police outside his school in Haringey.

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You can only participate in the consultation if you live on Black Boy Lane. 

Charlotte -  "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way".  Which you may know as a quotation from the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez.
(I've never read his poems - even in translation. Maybe I should.) 

Writing the other way is what you and I and many others are already doing. Thinking for ourselves, ignoring the rules and trying to learn and read stuff up before discussing the issue with other people and coming to - we hope - a better view.
So how do make our views heard?  When the "they" imposing "ruled lines" to this issue are Haringey staff "framing" the process in a highly restricted way as they carry out the wishes of the Dear Leader?

As far as I can see, the tools readily available are emails to councillors, to the two MPs and perhaps to the few remaining sort-of-local independent media sources. Many of the arguments are set out on HoL. But it's best to assume that anyone you email may not have had time to go through all the many pages here. If they read it at all.

If there's one enormous lesson we've learned from the U.S. election it's surely the way in which millions of apparently decent and sensible people are able to retain a firm belief in a Dear Leader.

Why cant it be a Tottenham person if it has to change (couldnt it be Chimney Sweep Lane?)

Lammy Lane sounds good...or Bernie Grant Lane

Buchi Emecheta deserves a road - she lived in Hornsey...

Lammy Lane/Bernie Grant Lane? Are you serious??

John La Rose founded the VERY important New Beacon books IN HARINGEY i.e on the Haringey borough side of Stroud Green Road.

He was an extremely important cultural figure from the sixties onwards, following independence of the different West Indian Islands, in times that were optimistic for West Indians. I share ties to Trinidad and Tobago and my father was part of that early intellectual movement.

Lammy is still alive and we already have Bernie Grants Arts Centre here in Tottenham.

I don't live on the road in question but am very close, just the other side of the park, and would love to visit the shop, catch buses or cross that road with a better name. I hsve walked along it and would but prefer walking down roads with less pavement parking and traffic rushing down corners if I can. I look fowrard to seeing what name the residents consulted choose.

I didn't know that Buchi Emecheta had lived so locally but have been meaning to read some of her novels for a while. Maybe a suggestion to send in for future consideration. 

But I don't understand why people assume that the consultation suggestions aren't equally relevant, locally connected or worthy.

Both individuals appear worthy of recognition, though I suspect pragmatism will win out with 19 characters (including spaces) too much for the residents and businesses of BBL. Jocelyn might stand a better chance had just her first or surname been proposed.

It would be interesting to know what the process is for selecting the potential names of streets in the borough.

My uncle Fred Redford ran a very successful shop on WGR that was there for decades. Can't we have Redford Lane?

Reading your post of the origins of Black Boy Lane I cannot see any evidence to suggest that the name is in any way linked to slavery or any form of racism against the black population of haringey. I personally am annoyed for this change and equally annoyed that this consultation did not ask all the residents of Haringey if they agree to this change. Equally only allowing the residents and businesses on black boy lane to choose out of a limited 2 names chosen by whom is disgraceful. You cannot wipe off history and what will be next? Things like this is in my opinion causing more divisions rather than uniting. 

The article admits to not knowing the origins of the name. but it includes the following:

There is no general consensus as to where the origin of the name ‘Black Boy’ for pubs comes from.... There are strong associations connecting this name to the slave trade.

I've lived just round the corner from this road for ~15 years, and it's always a bit embarrassing when people notice.

Whatever the origin of the name, it no longer serves a good purpose to call it that - today, all the connotations of it are bad. So I'd support changing it, and just the proposal to change it has taught me about two interesting Londoners, so I count that a win already.

The Thought Police are out again.

congrats again Haringey Council for continuing to spend our money wisely.



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