Monday, January 23, 2023

Renaming ‘offensive’ Black Boy Lane is a ‘step towards equality’

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The street signs were replaced to La Rose Lane in a council funded operation believed to cost £186,000.

Poet and activist John La Rose founded the first Caribbean publishing house in Britain, and the council said the change was part of a broader review of monuments and buildings.

“The idea [to change the name] first came in 2020 as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Councilor Peray Ahmet, Chair of Haringey Council

“It was a number of residents, my predecessor and councillors, who felt it was time for change and Black Boy Lane has always been considered an offensive name by many.

“So you felt like it was time for a change, so we did it,” she explained.

Councilor Ahmet said there had been some criticism of the money and time spent renaming the street, but that the people living there would be compensated.

She added: “Our officers have been on site here and there is a community center just down the road. And we are offering a compensation package of a few hundred pounds to each affected resident so they can use that to make the changes that are needed.”

Councilor Ahmet defended spending thousands of pounds on the project during a livelihood crisis and said the council was doing its best to support our residents.

However, a shopkeeper said he was concerned it could affect his business.

“No one is happy about a name change, there are many better things to do than changing the name of the street,” Ismail Demirci said.

“We’ve had a lot of customers complaining about the name change and the road being closed,” he added.

Who is John LaRose?

The council said postcodes and house numbers would not be affected by the change and the Royal Mail would be updated automatically. The national address database would also be changed.

“Initially I thought, why does it need to be changed?” said resident Debbie Saunders.

She added: “There’s nothing wrong with that, we grew up with that street name and didn’t find it offensive.

“Now I understand it’s like that for some people. And now that I know who it’s named after, I’m excited about it.”

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Poet and activist John La Rose founded the first Caribbean publishing house in Britain, and the council said the change was part of a broader review of monuments and buildings.

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