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:
- Online: www.haringey.gov.uk/renaming-black-boy-lane.
- Telephone: 020 8489 3797
- By post: Consultation Co-ordinator, The Communications Team, River Park House, 225 High Road, Wood Green, London, N22 8HQ
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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Thanks, Alan. I'm aware that the original email was openly copied to all councillors. But, particularly given the personal connections of those involved with the institute, and in light of the shoddy conduct of the matter so far, I wanted to give them the say-so on what happened with their email.
I would be very interested to know what the councils response to this is in particular Mr Ejiofor. Does this mean the 2 name choice has now been changed? As far as my understanding of the law , if the next of kin objects to the name being used in memory of her late partner the council cannot. Where does this matter now stand?
Nick, there's no "Council" to respond. Things don't work that way.
It's possible that Cllr Joe Ejiofor might — with his usual autocratic Trump-like behaviour — try to make his renaming project an official Council policy and 'whip' it through the Majority Labour Group.
Personally I would like to learn "about the range and depth of John La Rose’s life achievements" as Mr Harris suggests. Maybe there are better ways to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of past Haringey people than with a street nameplate. Even the minimal information on a plaque can tell you more. And perhaps stir someone's curiosity?
Thank you for posting this Hugh, there is hope that common sense will prevail.
So in other words he can use haringey funds without any voting, agreements by other elected Cllr’s? As far as the name the message clearly states that they don’t agree as they believe at this time finances should not be used in this way. If it’s the case that one man can make such decisions , maybe it should be put back to the people whether they still agree to a leader not being chosen by the people. After all the last time this was looked at was 2009
Nick, there's a fundamental problem with this daft top down system of elect-the-strong-leader-or -mayor-for four years. The weakness is obvious when the system throws-up an autocratic self-regarding narcissicist like Trump. It's less obvious perhaps that an autocratic self-regarding Joe Ejiofor could have filled Haringey's space for four years with all the power and no checks.
For several months just over half the Labour Group of councillors has privately realised that Ejiofor is a disaster zone. They wanted to vote him out. But because of Covid-19, the annual Group elections - usually in May - had to be postponed. As you'd expect with any autocrat, Joe was not keen on risking his loss of power. Initially he agreed with the mainly ceremonial mayor Cllr Sheila Peacock, that elections would be postponed for another twelve months until May 2021. (Which incidentally would have left Sheila gold-chained in the Mayor's chair.)
Various moves took place to to get an earlier date. Including fair and reasonable suggestions by Cllr Liz Morris then leader of the small LibDem group on the Council. Joe played a game, set out in their exchange of emails which has been made public.) By the way, I am not, and never will be a Liberal Democrat. But I saw her as someone decent who wanted to solve a Haringey problem in the public interest.
Among Labour councillors there were various spurious objections to new dates. Finally the Regional Labour Party told Joe he had to have Group elections. Although these days in the Labour Party, complaints and suspensions "trump" votes. The councillor standing against Joe was complained against and suspended. (He remains suspended.) There was no provision in the rules for someone else to be nominated, so we suffer Joe and his hand-picked "cabinet" pals at least until May.
More democracy - if and when we get some back - will take us towards a solution. But not by electing an autocrat for four years.
Interesting Alan, this does seem to demonstrate the dangers of tokenism, and the use of democracy to gain power and autocracy to keep it.
Xavier, It demonstrates a helluva lot more of what's wrong with the current system and not just in Haringey.
If you haven't already done so, you and others might like to look at Inside Croydon website to see what may be coming down the track.
So the council think spending lots of money changing the name is good, i.e. better than spending it on the park in Black Boy Lane and/or helping local residents.
I lived in Black Boy Lane in the 1950’s & 60’s, and never had trouble with the name, there were many Jamaicans and other none white living there, and heard nothing said about the name. It was just the name of the street & pub.
It seems it has only been in recent years with people who do not live there.
At present there is no proof it has anything to do with race or slavery. It seems it is just some stupid councillors and some racist people (including some non-white who pretend not to be ).
I think when I lived there, I was told it was to do with Victorian white chimney sweeps. But that may have just been a rumour.
I lived in North London and Tottenham on and off to 1990’s
I remember Bernie Grant many years ago, he was nice friendly person and used to talk with us and I’m sure he would not be in favour of changing it’s name when there were no complaints by the residents, and no proof it had ever had anything to do with race or slavery.
But local councils these days like complaining they do not get enough money, but love wasting money, doing stupid things, not helping the children and residents with things to do, not listening to the residents or taking any notice of surveys, unless sometimes when they are online voting where most votes can come from outside the area, even outside the UK.
I, and the residents of Black Boy Lane (well, the ones that received a letter) have been informed that the chosen name, if the motion passes, will be...drum rolls... La Rose Lane.
I just don't understand...
Hi Anna. I have queried this with them today. There was that kind of strange online poll where you could choose your preferred name out of Jocelyn and La Rose but as far as I'm concerned that's all that was. I've not voted on a choice of name and when that happens it should include suggestions from the residents/businesses of BBL. Not only has the Council dealt with the choice of name before whether the name is going to change which is rather presumptuous but it's also attempting to force its suggestion on us too.
You need to put this on Twitter and get some of the national press to pick it up. Unless light is shined on this the Council will get away with it.