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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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Yes. Of course. But that is not its exclusive use.

We cannot just obliterate every usage of the word 'boy' because in one context it is derogatory.

Why would English people go around the place naming their pubs and streets using derogatory words. This is different from erectinig stautes and naming streets  to pay homage to slave owners and businesses that grew prosperous based on the slave trade.

Hence my claim that the explanation given by the  council is spurious and follow a knee jerk reaction to the name of the street.

Sometimes we need to pause and think about our reactions. I also think it would be far more useful 'to the cause' to explain the context - that the English monarchs have/had 'black' blood running through their veins. Of course this is far more contentious because it may upset some white people to admit that they (Royals) aren't 'pure' i.e white. The council could be really bold.

Then there is the other problem of spending all that money when we have so much other things that should take priority at the moment. It is share madness to proceed with these renamings. Everyone would understand if they explained that they wish to do it but have put the plans on hold.

I am not at all insensitive to racism and, as I have said previously, I have been subjected to anti-black discrimination and called 'whitey'. 

JJB - Maybe there's one good thing which could come out of this well intentioned but horribly mismanaged streetname mess?
And that is a better informed and mutual understanding of the multi-mixture of people who make up Haringey's "community".

I think people also need to understand that everything is 'political' in one way or another.

By that I do not mean 'party political but rather that that they do need to engage actively and continuously, even if it only means paying attention to what goes on around their neighbourhood and making their opinions known so that those elected can't sayn't they ddon't know how peol felt. Just voting periodically is not enough.

For that the BLM mouvement is vitally important and BAME peole should not relent. For too long Europeans have surfed on their past conquering exploitation of other continents and continue to claim rights that they aren't really entitled to e.g those US white people who claim the sole right to decide what happens on US soil to the exclusion of those who were there before them. But also the claim that Europe was a civilising force for good in the world!

If the council really wanted to spend that BBL money to good avail they could ensure that ALL schools in Haringey got an info pack with a history of all the different components that make up the community. With the history told in its various viewpoints.

"Columbus didn't "discover" Americas. He was the first European in recodred histroy to sail acroos unkonwn waters. When they arrived in the new territories the europeans took illnesses that decimated the populations who lived their. They also laid claim to the lands that the indigenous populations lived on, establishing different value systems based on mono-theistic religions that had their origins in the middle east and seeking to extract as much riches  s possible to ship back to Europe which built up its wealth for centuries by this one sideded exploitation.......

We build our images of what is right on so many lies....

But, and this is a key but, we are not in America Alan. References that could be linked to a legacy of slavery have no relevance or resonance here. We had no 'Jim Crow' era. We have other racist references but not that. I've never been called boy in a racial or derogatory context. 

If we start changing names of roads that could, let alone genuinely have, a derogatory resonance to people in other countries and cultures we'll be very busy and even more broke than we are now. We would have to change names that people in Poland, Romania, China, Turkey, Kurdistan, Greece, Bulgaria might find offensive let alone Travelers, people with Asian, African or Jewish heritage.

The whole thing is a nonsense and an expensive and inconvenient one at that. And I can't see any upside? I don't know anyone whose lives will be better as a result of changing the name of Black Boy Lane.

Spending money to fix the problem thats not there

Wish he fix the potholes and schools insted 

The charter granted to the Company of Royal Adventurers of England by King Charles II (1630–1685) in 1663, represents the moment at which the transatlantic slave trade officially began, with royal approval, in the English (later British) Empire.

British Library

Which from an echo chamber perspective proves my point. I've learned something.

Thanks Adrian.

Reading that webpage and following some links, I too have learned something.  If you haven't already read this, then please enjoy!


P.S. https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/may/19/sancho-an-act-of-reme...

By the way, I keep meaning to reply to Devon Williams' post above (21 January 2021) which made me think and ponder some more. How far can we disentangle from the slave nations across the Black Atlantic?

One of my big problem with this all fiasco is that the whole process has been unfair from the start, relying on people’s online access, which left maybe half of the residents unable to participate. It is all done during Covid, even after the minutes of the second committee admitted that they should wait until a semblance of normality has returned. I could go with my laptop visit my elderly neighbours for instance, and help them take part. I am absolutely not going to do this until there is the slightest risk of unknowingly contaminating them.

In the latest letter pack, they included a free post return envelope BUT NO ANSWER SLIP.

I contest the ‘Street Assessment’ provided because it is based on St Ann’s Ward data, extrapolated to Black Boy Lane, but it is not the assessment of the actual street Black Boy Lane.

Online, there are the requisite data fields to capture what a street assessment would be like and an answer slip to put in the free post envelope should have been provided in order to get precise data as well.

The fact that the street sign (near Chestnut Park) and that there is no answer slip even included in the ‘have your say’ letter shows once more that the decision has been taken and I feel the whole consultation is only for show because they were called on it.

Sounds like grounds for a judicial review

The real problem is, once again, the Council big wigs have decided something without really thinking it through. They considered it slam dunk and were already thinking about implementation. And then got push back by residents who, even if they didn't represent the majority, still made very valaid points that should have been considered at the outset.

But their pride was hurt. THEY after all, are in charge and THEY know better!

So they persist in their stubborness and a rather foolish pride and then use subterfuge of consultations to proceed with the implemention of pre-decided outcome.

Surely JJ , you haven't forgotten Haringey is a "101 Council"?

There are 101 explanations why Haringey Council bosses are always right.
101 reasons why residents are always wrong.

JJ your right.

-"the implemention of pre-decided outcome."

And there you have it.. Uncle joe will have his name change, Regardless.



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