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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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I've known David for many years. He is clever, principled and thoughtful. He has also been around a while and wants people to vote for him. Any clever MP keeps their eyes and ears open to the currents and tides of public opinion. And letters and emails from residents.

I've just seen an invitation for this Wednesday 24 February from Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, The Labour Shadow Minister for Mental Health, "to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our mental health and wellbeing."

Perhaps there are HoL members who have also been invited who might like to ask Dr Allin-Khan's views about adding to the stress of residents when a Council leader and cabinet choose this as a suitable time to conduct a consultation on a non-urgent matter such as changing a streetname. With all the added worries about the costs, and handling the bureaucracy.

Dr Allin-Khan is a medical doctor and at one time she worked in a hospital accident and emergency department . Her invitation says that:

"This pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health, and its effects will be felt for years to come. We'll be discussing how lockdown has impacted mental health, the state of mental health provision and where it has fallen short, and what needs to be done to address this."

Alan you are a man oddly obsessed. You negate it’s importance but then rant and rant!

The name is offensive to me - and I would sooner it was changed than not - but crikey getting so worked up either for or against! Can’t help but feel it’s the personal spilling over.

anyway - just an observation - don’t use your time responding with an articulate counter point as I probably won’t end up reading it.

About DTW:

The reply by DTW says much more about DTW than anything else. If he is unwilling to read arguments then why bother posting.

Lots of things can be offensive to individuals, but not offensive to the majority. Look at comedy for example. Councillor Eldridge Culverwell is a black person, born in South Africa and grew up in Zimbabwe. His view is that the term should be celebrated and not considered offensive. If anyone has a right to make such a judgement he does. He is very much against the change.

If the name was Mosley Lane, then we could think seriously of accepting the change.

Post Script: Is anyone offended by the name Saville Row considering the recent history of someone with that name?

The name of the notorious disk jockey only has one " l "

John D,

This actually supports my point, we all know that Saville Row has nothing to do with Jimmy Savile. Just as Black Boy Lane is not specifically racist as a road name or directly associated with the Slave Trade.

However, the name Saville Row is phonetically the same and could generate such associations.

Much of the riches of the British Empire were built up during and due to the Triangular (slave) Trade System and the advantages gained during those exploitative centuries. Many of the competitive advantages gained during those years are very much still in existence now satcking the system against mainly African countries.

Changing names is the least important part of restitution.

"The name is offensive to me..."

Hello DTW. That may be so but it just does not mean that the name is offensive per se.

Can you explain why it is offensive, again?

I was a black boy when I was young. Is that statement offensive? It is just too easy.

I repeat again that in Trinidad we black people were constantly using the term "boy" as a familiar way of referring to friends and acquaintances. "Hey boy how yuh going?" "Yuh know boy…"

I have only just read a post on Our Tottenham where the poster has written....

"I had been given a tour of Haringey some years back and was told by the Historian conducting the tour that the name of the Road reflects the Solidarity of the people that used to live there in the area against Slavery.
The story I was told is that of a runaway enslaved young African boy, who was hidden in their houses by the residents of the Road, he was then passed from house to house in an attempt to hide him when his enslaver and his henchmen came looking for him. This story conveys the defiance of the people of the Road and to me this should be celebrated and publicised."

Of course, I don't have any evidence to back up this version of things but it just adds to this very contentious debate.

The council can't just assert, and neither can you for that matter, that the name of this street is derogatory.

Why would people take a denigratory title and give it to a street they would see and use all the time? Were these local residents so "twisted" and cynical that they wanted to inflict humiliation on Blacks or remind themselves of their “superiority" by naming a street with an “ugly” title? I would argue not.

This is different from situations where place names, statues, etc. nominatively honour owners and exploiters of Black people.



I like your premise, but I doubt the naming of the road would have been related to the supporting escaped slaves. The road would have to have houses built and the Road have a name first. There is no historical suggestion that this Road was ever called something else apart from being associated with the Public House.

I agree that the road would never have been named in such a way to denigrate anyone. 

Black Boy Hill in Bristol does have a slavery history. However, I believe that the acceptance of that History and a determination to learn from that history is important to all of us. Just as it is important not to forget the acts of genocide during world war II, the Balkans and Rwanda.

This is different than reconsidering the use of Colston as a mark of respect to a City benefactor where he obtained his riches from the Slave trade. Such a person needs to be put in context.

I am from that area and had no idea of the history of Colston until recent events. I consider that I have been educated by such events.

There is NO uestion, the Black Boy pub formerly at West Green Road was named after Charles II.

And there are almost certainly NO direct associations to the slave trade, in contradiction with Bruce Castle Museum’s analysis.

The council funded museum (which we should be able to regard as does HoL as ‘authoritative’) asserts:

‘There are strong associations connecting this name to the slave trade’.

In the same paragraph it makes a  dismissive reference to the real etymology:

there are other suggestions, including reference to King Charles II being known as ‘Black Boy’.

It is more than a suggestion.  It is beyond doubt that he is the origin of the pub name.  He died in 1685, five years before the first documented reference to the Black boy pub name in Tottenham. He was a massively popular figure in tumultuous times. Hundreds of English pubs were similarly named or renamed this tome as a mark of respect and an indicator of support for the restored Monarchy.

There is no supporting evidence connecting this name with the slave trade, which WAS  flourishing  in 1690. Slave owners, slaves, and freed slaves (some very successful) lived in Tottenham.  This is evidenced in the report. But there is no evidence that the pub name was connected.

It is, however, well documented  that Charles II was known as ‘The Black Boy’. It was a term of endearment for this dark haired and very popular King. The nickname was affectionately coined by his mother when he was a child.

Charles was not just ‘some old king’ (as one commentator puts it). These were seismic political times.  A Devastating civil war had just taken place, followed by 11 terrifying years of dictatorship and unrest. Around 5% of the population lost their lives (the equivalent of 3 million deaths today).  Every citizen would have lost friends, family, and livelihoods.  It was a far greater terror than the current pandemic, and Charles’ coronation brought it to an end.

Pubs all over the country were re-named after his death to indicate their monarchist allegiances. No respectable historian would doubt that he is the source of this name.  For a publicly funded museum to suggest any different is a travesty, especially given the impact this advice has probably had on local decision-makers.

Over the ensuing centuries the entomology has been lost at many such pubs. Some in the past acquired demeaning and racist pub signs, although many have retained their historic links with signs and historical references* featuring the original Stuart King.

The sign from the now closed pub on West Green Road has now gone. From memory I think it could have featured a young chimney sweep. Can anyone remember?  Is there a photo, and do we know where the sign is now?

Demeaning references were inappropriate and wrong.  But so it is falsify history, waste public money, and set a precedent for further Maoist insanity in the future.  Not to mention inconveniencing hundreds of residents in the name of a lie.

How much more appropriate it would be to re-tell history, explain backgrounds, and use the correct portrait in SNT signage. The English Civil War was the most catastrophic this country has experienced and is certainly something all school children, of every colour, should be taught about.


*some students of Black History have claimed Charles II as a ‘black king of England’, as outlined on the ‘Rasta Live wire’ website.


Can we perhaps leave a teensy space for historical doubts?

Or maybe Gina, that was the reason you used the signal of a silent 'q' ?

Alan, and Hugh, yes I am confident and no, there is no teensy space for doubt.

Charles II died 1685. The first record of the pub name was 1690.

it is undisputed that many pubs named The Black Boy after him and that doing so was a well known political statement at the time.  Do you seriously think someone used this name for that pub, at this exact time, for any other reason?



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