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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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Tags for Forum Posts: blackboy lane name change, review on monuments, building place and street names

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As soon as the residents receive the "consultation" letter could one of you please scan and post it on Harringay Online.

I doubt the Council has "decided" the issue as that would normally have to follow any consultation and not simply be announced in advance as a done deal. Before 2014 when I was a councillor. the normal process would be to have a formal report, setting out the legal, policy, equalities and financial aspects.

It seems that people are given four weeks to respond to a letter due to arrive shortly. This seems an unnecessary rush. All the concerns mentioned above deserve being fully answered by the Council and that may not be possible in this timescale. Presumably Council staff have gone into these matters so it would not need additional work.

Whilst I'm no legal expert, my understanding on the legal situation on street reaniming in London is as follows.

The present powers which control street naming and numbering matters in the Greater London Area derive from Part II of the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939. The original wording is as follows.

5. Subject to the provisions of section 6 (Assigning of names to streets &c.) of this Act a name shall not be given to a street way place row of houses or block of buildings—

(a) unless at least one month's notice of the intended name has been given to the Council;

(b) if the Council within one month of the giving of such notice have given notice to the person by whom such first-mentioned notice was given stating that they object to the intended name; and it shall not be lawful to set up any name as the name of any street way place row of houses, or block of buildings until the expiration of one mouth after receipt by the Council of the notice referred to in paragraph (a) of this section or to set up any name objected to as aforesaid.

6.—(1) The Council may by order assign any name which they think fit to any street way place row of houses or block of buildings whether or not in substitution for a name already given or assigned.

(2) Before making an order under this section the Council shall give notice of their intention of so doing to the local authority and shall also at their option either cause notice of their intention to be posted in some conspicuous position in the street way or place or adjacent to the row of houses or block of buildings as the case may be or give notice of their intention by circular delivered at every building situate in the street way or place or forming part of the row of houses orblock of buildings as the case may be.

(3) Every such notice shall state the manner in which and the time (being not less than one month after the date of the notice) within which objections to the intended order may be sent to the Council and the Council shall before making the order consider any objection so sent to them and may if they think fit having regard to any such objection amend any name which they have proposed to assign.

This is summarised on localgovernmentnlawyer.co.uk as

Finally, in the Greater London area, the relevant powers are to be found in the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939. By s.6, an authority may by order, after giving notice and considering any objections, assign any name to a street "whether or not in substitution for a name already given or assigned". Notice of intention must be posted in some conspicuous position in the street or must be given by circular delivered at every building on that street.

My reading of this is that the Council does have a duty to consult and that this includes allowing objections to the renaming. If the announcement I reproduced is the only consultation planned, it would appear that the Council is not fully meeting the requirements placed on it, certainly in spirit and probably not in law.

Having said that, the duty to consult is only a duty to consult. The Council can go ahead with what it decides anyway.

Alan, could Zena check what consultation process is proposed please.

PS. It's interesting to note that Westminster's renaming policy, includes the following caveat:

Two new names, whether for the purposes of naming a new street or for the renaming of an existing street, should demonstrate clear historical and local links to the area in which the street is situated and supporting information must be provided.

You won't be surprised to learn that I like this consideration. It's difficult to imagine that we wouldn't be able to find a BAME candidate with truly local links, ideally form West Green, but failing that from South Tottenham. Perhaps, one of the two existing candidates already meet this criterion.

If it has to change, can it not just be called Chestnuts Lane or Chestnuts Park Avenue so it is completely inclusive of the whole community?

No Penguin, that would be far to much of a logical step. At some point this has to blow up in everyones face, doing as you have said would simply ruin the usual decision curve. 

How is naming a road after either of these two people in any way exclusive of anyone in the community? 

Whatever the reasons for changing the current name of the road, I would certainly not go down the road of renaming after a particular individual.

With no disrespect to the names that have been proposed, in many other cases, issues have come to light at a later date that give rise to demands for disassociation with the named individual.

So rather than being open to future PC reassessments, the renaming should be to something absolutely neutral and non contentious, as suggested "Chestnut Lane"

But what if the BNP started using a chestnut as their emblem? The negative connotations would be unacceptable. No, this is far too risky.

I propose that all roads should be renamed as numbers.

Road names are just an accessory now, flat/house number and postcode is all that's needed.

Its like someone I know who found it insulting to use the terms 'master' and  'slave' to refer to the relationship between controlling/obeying elements of electronic machines!

Is this correct?

As someone with mixed heritage I find the words very appropriate in describing such setups.

Am I being insenstive?

You're right JJ B.

Probably arose with all sorts of electronic equipment but I'm a photographer who works with remotely triggered flash and the terms had made perfect sense to me until the controversy arose:


I’m not going to share my observations about who was actually offended and who wasn't, but the broad consensus amongst photographers appeared to be that it's a small change to go with something more innocuous such as 'transmitter' and 'receiver'. I can live with that myself.

My personal view is that words such as black, white, master, slave are words in the English language - it's the context that makes them loaded / offensive or not. I find it rather straightforward to examine the context, while the cynic in me sneers at such attempts at policing language as being much easier than actually doing something about systemic discrimination, but hey ho.

It was quite common in the 40s and 50s to address a male child under about 14 as " Master ", being a diminutive of " Mister ". Thus, Christmas parcels from my grandparents were addressed to " Master John D*******. I don't know if any of my slaves got presents through the post.



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