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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.

If you'd like to respond to this post, please consider the sensitivities around the issues before you commit finger to keyboard. Any responses that are not in line with our house rules will be deleted.

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

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Please stay away from party political wrangling and name-calling. Any such comments will be deleted in line with our house rules.

"Please stay away from party political wrangling and name-calling. Any such comments will be deleted in line with our house rules."

There seems to be quite a lot of name calling on this thread - it may not be between political parties, and I don't know the political or voting affiliations on this thread.

I previously voted on the thread a few weeks ago but was shocked to see some of the vitriol in the latest posts, and have noticed that someone responded to a post of mine in December with a reference to "Thought Police". For posting expressing support for the name change, unlike most of the other 500* posts on this thread? There is also a lot of name calling with reference to the Council leader, Joe Ejiofor.  And a whole range of snipes and allegations.

I've glanced at a couple of other threads on Harringay Online and am sad to see it become a playground with so much unpleasant behaviour and personalised name calling, which is certainly political if not party political. 

Lucy I have always been open about my political affiliation. I don't apologise or hide my views about the current Council leadership. If I offer my opinions - always giving my name - I also give reasons and evidence which people can check for themselves or ask me to back up.

Personally my views about Cllr Ejiofor have nothing to do with my general support and fundamental agreement with the argument about examining and reviewing the names of places and changing them where this is out of place in a modern multi-racial multi-ethnic society. I don't honour slavers.

I also think that yes, we should find ways to remember and honour the lives and achievements of local people who once lived here. Though I hope you might agree that there could be more effective ways than with street nameplates which I doubt many people notice or think about.

But I also believe that local residents and traders should be properly and fully consulted. Especially when they are the people who may have the tasks of changing their address details and perhaps finding money to do so. Or as some people have said, may have serious difficulties with immigration documents. So maybe an undertaking to carry out the wishes of the majority of residents would build trust - whether they say 'yes' or 'no'.

I also hope that you and others might agree that these are real issues and not a "playground" game.

Apparently, BBC News has just done a piece on changing the name.  Next bulletin is at 10.00pm tonight and it might be on again.

Thanks for the tip. I'll try and find it on the BBC player.

But strange this should come up again right now.  I'd have assumed the proposal might have sensibly been put on the back burner.

It's hardly an urgent priority given everything else going on. Couldn't it be postponed and await further progress in tackling problems connected to the Pandemic? Including homelessness; schools; families getting into debt; hospitals risk of being overwhelmed etc etc .... there's no shortage of local crisis issues.

Or maybe that's the point? Perhaps it's a distraction tactic as described by the brilliant Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran in her perceptive book How to Lose a Country".

What do you think about the ongoing criminalisation-of-adultery discussion in Turkey at the moment,’ the BBC’s Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen asked me this question during his programme on BBC World News in March 2018. [...] ‘Well,’ I finally said, ‘the government must be doing something really bad elsewhere.’

Only available till 1759 Sunday 17 January. Lead item.  See https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000rjc0/bbc-london-evening-n... but be quick.

For the non-video record, Councillor Ejiofor speaks in support in two clips; two non-white residents disagree; plus footage of Robert Milligan's statue recently being removed from outside the Museum of London Docklands location.

Here's a transcript for the record, since the footage will disappear in a few hours.

News presenter: "A street in North London could have its name changed after complaints about its links with racism and slavery. Haringey Council is carrying out a wide review of building and place names, following the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer. Guy Lynn has more".

Guy Lynn, voiceover, footage from vehicle travelling on Black Boy Lane: "It's a pretty ordinary street. But look closely, and signs everywhere causing controversy".     Black Boy Lane N15 sign in shot.

Councillor Ejiofor, in shot: "The phrase 'Black Boy' is now most commonly used as a derogatory term for African-heritage men. If we were naming this street now we wouldn't be calling it Black Boy Lane. [cutaway to another Black Boy Lane sign].

Guy Lynn, voice over footage of Black Boy Lane: "For more than three hundred years it's been called Black Boy Lane. But now the council says that has links with colonialism and doesn't reflect the values of Haringey in the 21st century".

Cllr Ejiofor, in shot: "It's really important that we consider whether or not this remains the most appropriate name for a road, because in Haringey, as a borough, we are a very diverse borough, we've got people from all communities, it's important that everybody feels part of that community".

Guy Lynn, voiceover: "So residents and businesses are being asked to take part in a renaming consultation. The council's considering former resident and poet John La Rose as an alternative, and wants people's views. There's lots of support, but locals like marketing consultant David and artist Gabriel who we spoke to say 'keep things as they are' ".

David Thomas, local resident, in shot: "It doesn't bother me, because obviously we've got so many things happening here like Covid-19, you know, Black Boy Lane doesn't strike me as a problem at the moment".

Gabriel Alozie, local resident, in shot: "I think they should not change it. Before, I thought they should change it, I was like yeah; in fact I live around here, and I was like 'who cares about a name'. It's still going to be like the same place, you know, but I feel like there needs to be more names of places that promote black excellence if you like".

Cutaway to footage of protest and removal of Robert Milligan's statue from outside the Museum of London Docklands.

Guy Lynn, voiceover: "Following the Black Lives Matter protests, there's been a call for street names, statues such as the one to prolific slave trader Robert Milligan here, to be removed after consultation with local residents. Not everyone agrees, but the council are keen for a fresh look at whether this street name really is fitting today".

Guy Lynn is a BBC investigative journalist, has a Wikipedia entry. This was the lead item and took up 2 mins 10 seconds of the five minute London News bulletin on Saturday early evening.

Councillor Ejiofor was on our street - and didn’t talk to any of us. He did his bit for the camera. I think it is pretty telling. 

Related and topical story:

'Statues to get protection from 'baying mobs' [BBC News report, Sun 17 January 2021]

Link to full item here.

"The government is planning new laws to protect statues in England from being removed "on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob", Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said generations-old monuments should be "considered thoughtfully".

The legislation would require planning permission for any changes and a minister would be given the final veto.

It will be revealed in Parliament on Monday".

Many thanks for your work on this, Gordon T.

If only we had a Council and Leader as careful and thorough when consulting Haringey's residents.



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