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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.


Bios:

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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Well I suppose in future I will walk past and think you myself "that street used to have a name that had quite racist connotations. It's good that's changed." And it will make me think about who it is named after and their history.

Should be a nice boost for property prices too if what I read in The Address Book is anything to go by. Also I spoke to a resident of the block my local authority is changing the name of the other day. He said he was embarrassed to tell people his address now, and is glad we are changing it.

You think it has racist connotations: I don't. And anyone who didn't know about the name change wouldn't even be thinking about it. Absolutely pointless.

Hello again everyone,

Thank you all for participating in the thread, I have learned a lot and heard many points I hadn’t considered before.I just came back from putting a petition through every mailbox on Black Boy Lane and talked to a few people.

The thing is that the race point is polarising, yes, but for us actual residents, the problem is what it is going to affect every aspect of our daily lives trying to get all our major paperwork changed and in synch with each other. We are going to have years of red tape, costs, problems down the line. There are pensioners that are already concerned about how much their phone bills will cost to do those changes- and that is not even considering how much those changes will cost. Just the phone bills.

I also want to say that I have received confidential calls from 4 different people from within the council saying there is opposition from within and if I get real signatures I have a chance. 

The cost evaluation I made were given to me by people in the know (£3000 per household and up to £250,000 for Haringay). They have either witnessed it first hand or been part of a council that went through the renaming of the street.

I am a super private person, and quite shy. I am scared of talking to people I don’t know, bother them. I have never ever Done anything like this. On top of that, I can’t just openly talk to people because there is a pandemic going on (was Mr Ejiofor counting on this to slow down the process? Everyone is pretty preoccupied and worried  and adding another fight feels like a lot). I do not find it easy to put myself out there, because I am terrified of being seen as a bigot. But it’s not a contest of ‘who’s the least racist’ here. It’s trying to avoid millions of problems for me, my neighbours (from every race/ethnicity), our local cornershop (a real life saver at the beginning of the lockdown). 

So while I appreciate all points made here so far on the rights or wrongs attached to the words ‘Black Boy’, this is not where the fight is for us, residents. None of us was given a choice, an explanation, a costed compensation offer (other than a vague ‘good will gesture’ mentioned when this was a potential option renaming of our street). Worth noting that the letters were not addressed to us by name and not dated. I only got the 1st one, when it was ‘potential’. Others got one last week but not the June one. (I didn’t get last week’s). Other than not talking to us directly I resent the fact that being against the idea means you are racist. Unfair and untrue.

Regardless of its merits, I believe this is a big PR move for the Lead Councillor and that he counted on this getting unnoticed for a while since Black Boy Lane is not a wealthy street in general and has a lot of immigrants in it, yes, me included. But if not stopped they are going to come for your street next (mentioned earlier on the thread here, Albert rd becoming Tambo?) So even if that comes to pass, I hope that next time, they will take actual people/voters in consideration and make sure it is a more democratic system to open the dialogue.

Anyway, again, thank you everyone. I already got a few signatures back (less than an hour after posting the petition, I’ll get more when people come back from work) and the few people I talked to promised to either write the council or talk about it with their direct BBL neighbours.

I do think the actual residents should have their say, and I am trying to get something done here but also that this concerns the whole of Haringay so please do sign the petition started by Maidikins. Yes, there are some comments I don’t agree with by some of the people who signed, but please don’t let the fear of appearing bigoted stop you. It is not a race thing, it is a can we use that money for something that will benefit all of us thing. Or rename a park, put a statue celebrating local  BAME  achievers, any non-residential place that will not affect negatively the real daily lives of actual people. And I appreciate the people from other part of the country weighing in too.

https://www.change.org/p/haringey-council-keep-the-street-name-blac...

And if you’re on Black Boy Lane, and didn’t get my petition through the letterbox, and would like to discuss it, please message me.

Finally I want to add that every single one of us has different priorities and opinions. It is completely fine, because, again, democracy.

That is all from me.

Thank you again.

Anna

Just popped down to get your petition. Will get this signed and back to you asap. Thank you.

Thank you so, so much! Knock if you want to say hello!

Will do!

Well done Anna.  I hope things turn out in your favour.

The Tottenham area is and always will be my "home" but I fled to rural Norfolk in 1972 and therefore feel I have no weight to sign your petition.  Good luck.

Well done Anna. The other thing you can do is get it into the media. TV is very powerful as is social media. I've posted the petition and commented on twitter but as I don't have many followers I'm not sure many will see it. The council has tried to portray that this Road and others are offending so many people especially the black community which looking at this thread, speaking to people like my carers who are black, the majority don't agree with it. Keep fighting and don't be afraid. I did this with the dedicated disabled bay and although it took a year the council finally agreed.

My reasons for disagreeing is mainly that you can't and shouldn't try to wipe off history because it's offensive. Learn from it. Secondly did the council consult with all Haringey Residents as the money is coming from our tax money. Could not this money be used to try and solve the causes of racism, used to help young people by youth centers and so forth to get them off the streets joining gangs and so forth. Could this money not be used in social care as care in the community has been cut. Finally Haringey is made up of several different nationalities who contributed in making Haringey so why a choice of 2 both of black origin. Finally if this goes ahead as mentioned more and more names will be changed costing and wasting so much money, where will it stop. 

I advise everyone not only to sign petition but write to their cllr, I have and if they ignore, well then think again when voting time comes 

This thread has today risen to become the 9th most commented on discussion out of the 37,000 odd discussions posted in the forum area since HoL started in 2007. This is clearly an issue that stirs up a great deal of interest. 

That’s crazy! I hope good things will come out of it for all of us. Last time I used HoL was when we were looking for a kitten! In any case, again, I really appreciate your starting the thread, it’s been fascinating and a bit scary!

Would be interesting to see what the top 10 posts are and whether there are any common themes.

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