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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 only participate in the consultation if you live on Black Boy Lane. 

Charlotte -  "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way".  Which you may know as a quotation from the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez.
(I've never read his poems - even in translation. Maybe I should.) 

Writing the other way is what you and I and many others are already doing. Thinking for ourselves, ignoring the rules and trying to learn and read stuff up before discussing the issue with other people and coming to - we hope - a better view.
So how do make our views heard?  When the "they" imposing "ruled lines" to this issue are Haringey staff "framing" the process in a highly restricted way as they carry out the wishes of the Dear Leader?

As far as I can see, the tools readily available are emails to councillors, to the two MPs and perhaps to the few remaining sort-of-local independent media sources. Many of the arguments are set out on HoL. But it's best to assume that anyone you email may not have had time to go through all the many pages here. If they read it at all.

If there's one enormous lesson we've learned from the U.S. election it's surely the way in which millions of apparently decent and sensible people are able to retain a firm belief in a Dear Leader.

Why cant it be a Tottenham person if it has to change (couldnt it be Chimney Sweep Lane?)

Lammy Lane sounds good...or Bernie Grant Lane

Buchi Emecheta deserves a road - she lived in Hornsey...

John La Rose founded the VERY important New Beacon books IN HARINGEY i.e on the Haringey borough side of Stroud Green Road.

He was an extremely important cultural figure from the sixties onwards, following independence of the different West Indian Islands, in times that were optimistic for West Indians. I share ties to Trinidad and Tobago and my father was part of that early intellectual movement.

Lammy is still alive and we already have Bernie Grants Arts Centre here in Tottenham.

I don't live on the road in question but am very close, just the other side of the park, and would love to visit the shop, catch buses or cross that road with a better name. I hsve walked along it and would but prefer walking down roads with less pavement parking and traffic rushing down corners if I can. I look fowrard to seeing what name the residents consulted choose.

I didn't know that Buchi Emecheta had lived so locally but have been meaning to read some of her novels for a while. Maybe a suggestion to send in for future consideration. 

But I don't understand why people assume that the consultation suggestions aren't equally relevant, locally connected or worthy.

Both individuals appear worthy of recognition, though I suspect pragmatism will win out with 19 characters (including spaces) too much for the residents and businesses of BBL. Jocelyn might stand a better chance had just her first or surname been proposed.

It would be interesting to know what the process is for selecting the potential names of streets in the borough.

Reading your post of the origins of Black Boy Lane I cannot see any evidence to suggest that the name is in any way linked to slavery or any form of racism against the black population of haringey. I personally am annoyed for this change and equally annoyed that this consultation did not ask all the residents of Haringey if they agree to this change. Equally only allowing the residents and businesses on black boy lane to choose out of a limited 2 names chosen by whom is disgraceful. You cannot wipe off history and what will be next? Things like this is in my opinion causing more divisions rather than uniting. 

The article admits to not knowing the origins of the name. but it includes the following:

There is no general consensus as to where the origin of the name ‘Black Boy’ for pubs comes from.... There are strong associations connecting this name to the slave trade.

Just to bring back the conversion back from the 'Slag off the Council' competition that it has become.

As one of the few who post here, who actually lived and knew the area very well way back in the 1950s, I was always told as a kid (and I asked a lot), by those who had known the area at the turn of the 20th century and before, that the Black Boy was actually a large black horse, owned by someone in the area.

Horses played a far more important part of life three hundred, even one hundred years ago, they were treasured and valuable possesions and hundreds of lanes all over the country were named after them. There are many Whitehorse roads and lanes around London and of course a Blackhorse Road and Lane, not far away in Walthamstow.

It cannot be denied that many found (1950s) and still find (2020s) the name offensive, mostly because there has never been any serious attempt by the councils (TBC or LBHgy) or of residents to enlighten themselves or visitors of the name's entymology.

Those who claim 'thought police' actions or pretend that they as residents somehow own the rights to the name as in 'our Black Boy Lane', are mostly acting out of personal interest, some who don't like their freedom to make racist remarks being taken away, or the others who don't want the aggravation of a name change, or are perhaps even enjoy living on a notorius street, are not acting in the best interests of the area.

The name is part and history of the area, the widely spread out Manor of Tottenham, with separate communities and greens, West Green, Page Green, Duckett's Common, Tottenham Green & Tottenham Wood Green.  I think a name change, on balance, is wrong. Imagine the name Seven Sisters being changed to Seven Persons Plaza or Lorna Chin* Square (*who went to school with me in the 60s and came from Jamaica). It belongs to us all, to Haringey, London, us all and I think it should remain, but that much more work is needed and should be done on explaining its history.

Not just this rather lazy throwaway narrative that the name has something to do with black people or slaves.

Stephen, as far as HOL is concerned, this all started with my seeking to gain an authoritative view of the history of the name. Have you read the piece that Bruce Castle Museum wrote for me (links at the top of my original post)? Whilst their summary is almost inevitably inconclusive, it’s an interesting piece worth reading that raises possibilities and prompts further investigation.

Thanks for the horse story. I hadn’t heard that one before. 

In no way is 'Black Boy' offensive.  Just because some people are offended does not mean that something needs to be changed.  The road is named after the Black Boy pub named, itself, after King Charles II.  Yes, I'm acting out of personal interest that I don't want the name changed.  It's not a racist remark that I want to have freedom to make.  That aggravation of a name change, is actually very real for those of us who are going to have to go through it.

As I mentioned previously. Residents do not own the rights to street names.

People pretending the name isn't offensive to some would have certainly been a reason for me to vote FOR a name change. The 30 or so houses affected is in fact, a very small number.

I would remind you that 270,000 residents in what is now Haringey had to accept the Borough name change in 1965 without redress. Millions of people over the whole of London, had the same experience - and got over it.

My last words on the subject.



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