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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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You can bet Uncle Joe and his cronies will now rush this change through regardless of what the community and wider population actually think. 

There is no connection with slavery and no genuine racial element to the name. 

If they really cared about our young black men they would be focused on actually improving their lives and life chances. 

As someone who has previously contributed to this thread and who has black Caribbean (slave) and white (conqueror-colonial) blood running through my veins, I would like the BBC, if it reads this posting to focus its reporting on the extreme hypocrisy of the Council.

The BBC should thoroughly investigate and report on the Wards Corner story. They should look at how, under the disguise of 'regeneration', Haringey Council it consistently supported speculative property development by a powerful corporate interests at the expens of local businesses and entrepreneurs, principally of non-white ethnic origin.

The ongoing WC plan has had disastrous effects for the largely 'brown' business owners and workers who operate on the Wards Corner site. They will be regenerated into oblivion and be replaced by chain multiples owned by  chain multiples. That is exploitation.

If black lives really mattered to this council they would put a stop to this but they keep making excuses. They are repeating actions and re-enforcing all the effects and ills that exploitation by white colonial masters (the powerful) forced unto the (weaker) black and brown slaves and the colonised. The difference is that the brown people at Wards Corner had taken their livelihoods into their own hands and started independent businesses in a community centric space. They ran their own businesses and didn't go cap in hand to anyone.

All they needed was some help to better organise and develop the physical space and commercial activities so that they could thrive as owned businesses run for and by locals. Instead Haringey Council confirmed that they didn’t trust local people and local business. So someone from outside, a big corporate entity, had to be brought in to do it for us. Of course they (the outside corporation) will also reap ALL the benefits too.

To make the situation even worse the nondescript, generic building they plan to replace the existing  historic buildings is just awful. It is of questionable architectural merit despite being in a key location of the conservation area and just will not achieve the stated objective of ‘regeneration’ for local people.

This BBL renaming is pure PR on the part of those that are driving it forward in that the timing is extremely bad as it comes at a time when the resources will be used for something that is just not essential at this time. Just walk around the streets leading into BBL and see the rotten state of the pavement!

You want to make black lives really matter. Then take really meaningful action to improve the lives of the local black and brown people. This means spending scarce monies on improvements that directly affect us.

I WAS a black boy when I was a child. I am not ashmed of that!

Responses to final consultation now invited - see harringayonline.com/forum/topics/council-invites-final-black-boy-la...

The latest blog (18 January 2021) from barrister David Allen Green offers a helpful and fresh take on the issue of statues, monuments, and "baying mobs".


“Following in that tradition, I am changing the law to protect historic monuments and ensure we don’t repeat the errors of previous generations. Proper process will now be required. Any decisions to remove these heritage assets will require planning permission and councils will need to do so in accordance with their constitution, after consultation with the local community.

“Where that does not happen, I will not hesitate to use my powers as Secretary of State in relation to applications and appeals involving historic monuments where such action is necessary to reflect the Government’s planning policies"

This is also just pure hypocrisy from the Tories. This "protection" already exists as he describes it. Despite heritage asset status, with both sets of buildings being in conservation areas and being described as making postive contributions to the local streetscapes, and despite extremely strong opposition from local residents and other stakeholders our lovely council gave permission for:

- demolition of listed and heritage buildings at Hotspurs on the HIgh Road in North Tottenham.

- demolition and redeveleopment of the entrie block at Wards Corner in Seven Sisters

These were well-loved building, allowed to deterioarte so taht excuses could be found to say they needed 'regeneration'.

Read the double speak in the so-called consultation letter by our illustrious leader. Black Boy (lane) that celebrates the existence of a young black heir to the crown ( a black boy) has morphed into a denigatory term that denotes that all black boys as subservient.

We really do live in a Brave New World with its Ministry of Truth!

There is a request elsewhere in this thread to avoid politics. A very difficult request to comply with. But the article Alan has linked to is a nakedly political critique by a barrister of a blatantly political newspaper column by a minister of state. The responses to the critique are nothing but echo chamber babble. 

I feel that the debate on this thread is (generally) of a far higher standard.

Elsewhere Hugh has linked to the next stage in the Haringey consultation. I have replied opposing the proposed change. I offer here the reasons I gave for doing so, in the hope that others may want to offer more compelling arguments.

  • I have seen the letter from the George Padmore Institute specifically asking that you not use the La Rose name in this way.

  • The links with slavery are unproven.

  • Cllr Ejiofor's assertion that "Black Boy" is a derogatory term is not borne out in my experience. I am not black. I have never heard it used.

  • Even if there are associations with slavery it would be better that these were made clear and the use of the name used an opportunity for explanation and education.

  • The historic associations are just as likely to be with Charles II. The lessons to be learned from this association, relating to parliamentary democracy, civil war, the restoration of the monarchy and religious extremism, are extensive.

  • The lessons to be learned from this historical context are embodied in small part in the London Buildings Act of 1939 which compels you to undertake this consultation. To wipe away that context with a name change would be to reduce diversity, not to increase it. The alternative naming proposals you put forward are for people whose contributions deserve to be celebrated, but you should find another way to do so.

  • The inconvenience to which you refer in your letter should not be underestimated. Imagine if, at a time of crisis, a simple change of address were to deny someone a crucial Covid vaccination, a cervical smear or a mammogram screening.

• Cllr Ejiofor's assertion that "Black Boy" is a derogatory term is not borne out in my experience. I am not black. I have never heard it used.

This is a bit like when men say sexual harassment doesn't happen because they've never seen it.

I could not disagree more. I cannot imagine any circumstances in England where 'black boy' could be used as a derogatory term (and I've heard a few such terms). In the US yes but not here.

Ejiofor is simply using the BLM movement to manufacture a local issue through which he can garner political capital.

This sort of thing simply generates division and ill feeling which diminishes support for genuine efforts to help those people within black communities encountering real obstacles.

Exactly! It's so transparent.

Slave masters may have used the term "boy" to call their slaves. So the word boy can be construed as a deregatory term in that context. Boy is used to refer to servants..."my boy" whetehr slave or not. White or not.

But in Trindad, where I grew up, 'boy' was/and still is also sometimes used as a term of endearment or familiarity.... "Hey boy, how yuh doin' ?".

In what context would the population of a place take a derogatory term and use it to name their piub and subsequently a popular street?

Are we saying that the poeope all around England named their pubs after a black servant/slave? I doubt it.

However, they would do so if it was to refer and honour to their future monarch ( I am a republican by the way). So black here is used in the same way as the BLACK lives matter use the word. To descrivbe the person.

If we do not agree that the name BLACK Boy Lane should remain then BLACK Lives Matter should also change their name to something else.

JJ B - Re-  "Hey boy, how yuh doin' ?" Growing up in Co Armagh that was more or less how you greeted any male aged from 9 to 90. It certainly wasn't a derogatory term. And you are spot on with the BBL & BLM, IMO.

JJB - Doesn't watching older films from the U.S. give a different picture? Along the lines described in the website "Black Then".



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