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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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Thanks Anna, for your work and for taking to the street during a plague. And for mentioning the Pandemic. Which doesn't seem to have been taken seriously enough by Council "Leaders" who made road renaming a high priority issue.

That is one reason I mentioned their lack of sensitivity. Why did I assume that everyone would know about businesses shutting and loss of jobs; and that some people are running up debts?  And why did I assume that everyone knows about food banks? (According to a recent article in The Times the Tottenham Constituency is among the worst affected.)

And why did I assume that everyone working for or elected to the Council would know that the main worries people have at this point might be their health and the health of people they love. About the family and friends we can't get to see and hug. That they'd know not everyone has a car, and journeys outside our homes might feel risky - even if the risk is small.

That they'd realise not everyone is online and has Facebook and Zoom. And that some residents live on their own and their usual social contacts are now incredibly restricted and shrinking. Which can lead to depression especially if they are elderly or have underlying health problems.

Though perhaps the decision-takers  do know all this. But find that renaming a street or a park is one way to distract from closing a Children's Centre or bumping-up fees and charges for Council services?

P.S. A school was added to the renaming list: Rhodes Avenue. Which, according the Council's website was not named after Cecil Rhodes.

"P.S. A school was added to the renaming list: Rhodes Avenue. Which, according the Council's website was not named after Cecil Rhodes."

But the link to Cecil Rhodes seems to be very clear.

The nominal link to Cecil Rhodes is clearly spurious - Cecil was the nephew of Thomas Rhodes, who took no part in, or any benefit from, Cecil's misdeeds.

You have perhaps been misled by a Daily Mail article? Or do you have some new information?

What is your understanding if the link to Cecil Rhodes?

Hi Hugh

Whilst it might be difficult to say exactly was in the minds of the people making decisions in the past -  there are the following facts that suggest the theory that the school and road are named after Thomas Rhodes is weak.

1. Rhodes Avenue School was created in in 1930 - at the same time as what seems to have been 'Hampton Road' was renamed as 'Rhodes Avenue'.  This all seems to be part of the same housing development. So the school was not named after a long standing road - but named at the same time.

There is a blog on this  - with a map from 1912 here - https://alexandraparkneighbours.org.uk/blog/alexandra-park-local-hi...

It is of course possible that  the developers were reaching back to local landowner Thomas Rhodes who had died 80 years earlier. This seems unlikely given the prominence given at this time to Cecil Rhodes. As this book points out there was a cult of naming after Cecil Rhodes well into the 2nd half of the 20th century: - Paul Maylam The Cult of Rhodes: Remembering an Imperialist in Africa (2006). 

Worth noting some of the other names of roads in the immediate vicinity (possibly built as part similar development)  - Outram, Clyde, Elgin . . all 'heroes' of the 19th century British Empire. Cecile Rhodes fits perfectly - Thomas not so much . . .

2. When a post 1945 secondary school was opened at the end of the road it was called 'Cecile Rhodes Secondary Modern' - they did not call it Thomas Rhodes or any other kind of Rhodes.   This school became Alexandra Park (now APS) in about 1967


All in all . . . I don't think there is too much doubt about this one.

Thanks. There certainly seems to be  plenty of ambiguity as to where the name originated.

The Daily Mail never misleads me thank you very much.  I now see for the first time that it published an article on August 1st.

Hornsey Historical Society is my source, which I also cited in the previous discussion on renaming and Rhodes, rather than this one on Black Boy Lane in particular.  


Since the school was built in the grounds of Thomas Rhodes' demolished residence that's a decent though not unarguable nominal (literally) link, I'd say.

So What? Do we stop buying German goods because there is a chance of the suppliers having origins from the Nazis who killed 6 million Jews? I bet if we went back in history, many names, properties, lands goods and so forth will have links to either slavery, killings if innocent people. Leave things alone and learn from the past not wipe it out

The Hornsey Historical Society makes no mention of the origins of the name of the school. I would guess that the Mail article used this piece to make the leap between Thomas Rhodes and the name of the school in 1930. Others have made that leap as well - but it is quite a leap. 

It is absolutely certain that you could not have named a road and school '~Rhodes' in 1930 without knowing that you were connecting to the fame and glory of Cecil Rhodes.

The Society might want to fact check the photograph they are using- Rhodes Avenue did not exist until around 1930.

Knee jerk reaction....counter productive use of scarce resopurvces and energy.




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