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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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Under the Local Government Act 2000 there is no provision for a directly elected leader of a local authority.  However, there is for an elected Mayor.  To call for a referendum on the issue a petition of at least 5% of the electorate is required.  Of the 32 boroughs in London only 4 went down that route (Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets)

So far 53 local authorities have held referenda on having a Mayor and the majority (37) voted against the idea.  There have also been 3 referenda on removing the post of elected Mayor and 50% voted to do so.

The cost of those already held has been between £55,000 in a small authority (Torbay) to well over £200k in larger ones.

Haringey had a consultation on this back in 2009. Of the 590 responses to the consultation, 325 favoured the option of a leader chosen by councillors and 265 favoured the directly elected Mayor.

Council papers on this attached.


Nick, It's now the legal system which operates in local councils. Known also as the "Strong Leader and Cabinet" system. Maybe the mayoral system you like works if you have a competent thoughtful confident and experienced person who is unafraid of criticism and is prepared to work with a high degree of teamwork and collegiality.

Unfortunately the present lack of effective checks and balances leaves the door open to autocracy. Haringey is not unusual in losing its local newspapers. I've no idea whether other "big man or woman" leaderships also treat "backbench" councillors as pondlife and voting fodder to be bought by special responsibility allowances.

If you haven't read them you might like to  take a look at books - or Youtube videos - about the wider issue of authoritarian rulers.
For example, the exiled Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran. She sees the problem emerging in many more countries.
The U.S. journalist Anne Applebaum seems to have particular insights as she married a Polish politician.

Aint these meant to be pro-Corbyn picked guys?

Didnt we have a revolution in the local Labour party?

I don't quite know what tub-Thumping means but I am always very direct but not rude. I express my views and will fight for what I blieve is right and in this case I belive if Haringey want to use Council tax money to change names, put it to all the people and let the majority decide.

The urge on restraint re tub-thumping wasn’t directed at any particular person. It’s just that I know that passions are riding high on this. So, I’m suggesting a thoughtful rather than an emotive approach.

Yes, Seema became deputy this last summer. 

Nick you mentioned not getting replies from Seema Chandwani.  This may be the reason for a temporary pause.

Special leave eh. Whats that about then paid for not going to work. I thort they only got alowancers so being away shud  mean a new election right. Glad Mr Kier has killed momentum time for new broom round here comrade Joe out soon

Indeed but as long as this borough's residents keep voting Labour without even engaging politically we will always have this. 

What is the alternative?

There were some Lib Dems gaining traction before they sold out tothe useless Tories in previous admin.

The Tories? Really? What are they offering?  They keep blaming New Labour for the results of a global crisis and watering down our protections. Yet they have been in charge of the country for well over 10 years now and they have they really changed it for the better? Saying they are for people but all their actions and non-actions show the opposite...and they have a totally untrustworthy scoundrel as PM, along with a Pickupside of a government, composed of self-interested characters, in charge of the country.

The Greens can't seem to gain any traction...

An independent group?

Are you going to do it?

Since its creation, Haringey has always been a Labour borough, except during the three years following the Conservative landslide of 1968.  (wikipedia)

It is, in effect, an autocracy. 

Its continuation is made likely by

  • cabinet's ability to make policy to reinforce votes in its favour
  • the first past the post voting system
  • fragmented opposition
  • careful management of the scrutiny system to ensure that no decision is ever overturned
  • as Xavier points out, the political inertia of the electorate

but this is well off the point of the renaming of Black Boy Lane, a very fine example of the strong leadership of Cllr Ejiofor who has boldly and without fear of the consequences taken this decision. Leadership is after all what we elected him for. Perhaps in the interests of truly strong leadership he should simply have picked his favourite name from the two on offer. 



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