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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 agree as to the Haringey case.  Although I don't know the ethnicity of the supporters of the Black Boy Lane renaming project, I think the Standard's writer may have strayed when he says "All of this confirms my long-held suspicion that white liberals can be guilty of assuming they know better than ethnic minorities what is good for them."  Was this renaming really pushed through by white liberals?

I don't care if it's called Yellow Brick Road. What shocks me is the flagrant contempt for the expressed wishes of the people. 

Who are 'the people', John? 

The people who the councillors are elected to represent.

The ones who live on  Black Boy Lane who responded to the consultation.

65% of responses by residents of Haringey were in favour of the name change. The residents of a particular street don't have ownership over it or its naming. The Council represents the borough.

And the missed opportunities.

This whole thing could have been handled so much better if they’d only looked to the work done by Brown’s Uni in the States. financial foundations from slavery. They consulted, reported and thought it through. Recognition, Memorial, Educational support and bursaries. 
I’d have supported that without question.

Andy H
Do you happen to have a link to the specific work Brown University did?  It might be helpful to Haringey's new councillors,. Though I imagine that not much will or can happen until after the 5 May election. There's a convention along the lines that key or controversial changes are not ,made in the immediate pre-election period. On the common sense basis that nobody should make any smug assumptions of the outcome,

That common sense may apply more this time. National changes among the political parties in the past few years have been enormous. Our local ward boundaries have been redrawn; and new housing built. Other significant factors appear to be a movement of people out of London; and the impacts of Covid and its continuing threat.

And by the way have a look at:

I think this is it


its all interesting but I thought the PROGRESS part especially positive. 

and below the Brown diversity and action plan 


A quick thank you Andy H for your speedy reply. I'll set aside time this weekend to follow and read material in your links.

Early on in this discussion thread Hugh Flouch and others suggested drawing on the experience and solutions of other places. A new if not revolutionary idea where the custom is often to start with a favoured conclusion and work backwards.

Looks interesting.

A pity that some people don't understand the real and lasting effects that enslavement and continuing treatment of peoples from the African continent and of African descent, particularly on the part of 'white' Europeans, has had on the continent and the world, over the centuries.

I am not sure one can equate the type and extent of pernicious, systemic, extreme economic exploitation, religious domination and the share lack of humanity given the level brutalism of the physical violence that was involved.

The lasting effects are ever so present and still being felt. It is offensive when people make lighted-hearted comparisons.

That said, I think the BBL debacle was a sign of the ineptitude and lack of proper management/direction and just proper STANDARDS by HaringeyLabour. But it is a symptom too of the infighting factions in NationalLabour with their enthralment with ideology. We need pragmatic solutions given the changing world situation. And using just one type of lens to inspect and analyse something often gives one sided outcomes. I just can;’t understand why they infight at the expense of those they should represent. The Tories (not a great example) know when to stand together.

I would wish to see from Haringey Labour much better communication on their VISION for the place. I know many people in my lefty circle who just do not want to vote for them in the upcoming elections. But they seem to be a shoe-in and Tottenham, in particular, is paying a heavy price due to the level of mediocrity and the missed opportunities that has resulted from patchy delivery of services and almost immediate reversal of gains when these are achieved. I am fully aware of the financial challenges the council has faced. But these just do not explain the waste and ineptitude and the physical state of the east of the borough - look at neighbouring Labour boroughs!

NB - I am of mixed heritage and my father was as black as tar and my mother blue-eyed blond. So there!

Again, Black Boy Lane has nothing to do with slavery or with black people. It is a reference to a pub named after either King Charles or chimney sweeps who were typically young boys who got covered in black soot every day. That's it. 

No need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds and inflict years of administrative chaos on often elderly and vulnerable residents who'll have to change their address on nearly every official document they own. 

Especially, when the residents have said a number of times that they oppose the change. What does that say about local democracy in Haringey?

Especially when our Borough is amongst the poorest in England with literally hundreds of families, including black families, who are in dire need of more and better council services which could be provided with the money.

No need to erase part of our local history.

Noone wins. Everyone looses.



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