I know there's a great appreciation of local history in the Harringay Online community.
What do people think of this, then:
My thoughts: Rather than destroying historic landmarks or erasing names of buildings, places and streets, we can use them as a springboard for more rounded education.
For example, statues' podiums generally have 360 degrees or 4 sides, but just use a small portion to tell a tiny fraction of their story. We can use each statue's podium to tell more sides and degrees of their story. We can use the room around every street sign and name plate for further information giving more rounded and fuller information about history - both positive and negative.
Doing so will help us to de-idolise historical figures. It will help us to recognise that humans are more complicated than that. Hiding historic figures (and thus ourselves) from scandals and successes risks leaving us ignorant. That cannot be a good thing. Few if any historic figures have a completely clean record or reputation.
Admittedly, no story, however told, is complete. They can, however, be updated with facts over time. At a time when we see so much "fake news", more than ever, we need to focus on facts, and actively seek to avoid misinterpretations of history - either wilful or erroneous.
History is horrific. Being confronted with the horror helps us to avoid repeating the same mistakes of previous generations in the future. (An excellent example is Berlin's Topography of Terror, and various other installations identifying the terror that most of Germany experienced for most of the 20th Century.)
Out of sight, out of mind doesn't solve previous injustices or teach future generations. History and art is helpful when it's on our streets rather than masked by museums. Statues and other outdoor education installations are an important part of public access to education. The argument that they should be placed in museums concerns me. People from lower socio-economic groups visit museums far less than those from more advantaged groups. Removing street education will be a detriment.
This review is an opportunity to either increase ignorance or enhance education.
I hope it is used creatively for the latter.
This was posted in relation to another post with photos of Marx tomb with graffiti and a question wether I would condone it- its since disappeared. Sorry its a long one...
I'd say the message of the graffiti on Marx's tomb needs to be adjusted. Marx's incoherent ramblings on socialist mode of production were used as the rationale for the 'collectivisation' which ended up causing approx. 10m deaths in the USSR.
As someone who lived through communism in the Eastern Bloc I am always fascinated by Anglo-Saxon's naive flirtations with socialist ideology.
"they were used as a rationale" exactly, -by Stalin.
Yes - the only crimes Marx ever committed were against the subject of economics. And the written word.
That has augmented my thinking on the matter Kotkas, when I see attempts by the members of Saturday's 'commies corner' in Wood Green to involve passers-by in their deluded politics, a high proportion of which managed to eventually lift out into a free world and must see a group of people trying to take them backwards as completely mad.
I totally agree that maybe your suggestion is a compromise what is a very delicate situation. Me personally are appalled that Haringey is wasting money conducting a review then equally will be wasting money removing Statues and or street names. You cannot right the wrong of all our past by changing names or removing statues. How far do we go back in time? What may not offend one person may offend another. We need to learn from the past and make sure that we change the future. Do we wipe away what Willian the conqueror did invading Britain? Do we wipe away what the Romans did invading and enslaving for 300 years? It’s times we stopped this political correctness and started uniting people together and if Haringey continue to fuel the divisions we will never move forward.
Finally, changing street names like Blackboy Lane, should mean changing names like White Hart Lane, Whiteman Rd and any names that offend a group of people..where will it end?????
A White Hart is a kind of deer and Wightman Road is not spelled Whiteman.
I'm surprised the the English haven't yet objected to " Bruce Castle ".
Actually I'm just about to email Haringey Council about this very review and apologies if someone else has already made this point but... I don't care about removing the slavers - do what you want. But I am absolutely furious that he wants to change the name of Black Boy Lane. Street names for people interested in local history are very often the only fragments of social memory left for what may have stood/happened at a place hundreds of years ago. There are a fair few Black Boy streets/lanes etc in England and they often refer to pubs or inns on that site which were covertly supportive of Charles II when he was still in exile during the Protectorate. His nickname from his mother was the black boy on account of his darker than usual skin tone.
I have tried and failed to understand how this could be seen as connected to slavery or BLM. But even if it was - instead of obliterating it from the A to Z either put up a heritage plaque explaining the likely origin of this unusual name or 'reclaim' it by painting a mural on it somewhere of local BAME school children so it becomes a talking point for all the right reasons and a celebration of the local community.
Tottenham has been around a long time! It has more history behind its street names to be cherished than can be narrowed down to this 'good word/bad word' scenario.
It's issues like this which is why I wrote to the council on the same basis as my post above: "At a time when we see so much "fake news", more than ever, we need to focus on facts, and actively seek to avoid misinterpretations of history - either wilful or erroneous."
That’s interesting about the name of Black Boy pubs. Do you have knowledge that this is how the West Green establishment got its name? West Green Road used to called Black Hope then Blackup Lane. I’d always lazily assumed that the pub name was somehow related to that. But West Green was a well established settlement. So 17th century roots to the pub name are plausible.
Whilst the origin of the pub name is interesting, we must also recognise the weight of the intervening period of history between then and now. There is little doubt that for much of the period, the name has had distinctly racist overtones. Taken in he round, we need tt ask ourselves if the name's origins a bit of history that's worth fighting over.
Has the name had racist overtones or have we put racist overtones on the name?
If it started with racist overtones, then that's the problem.
If we put racist overtones on the name, then we're the problem.