Haringey to review monuments and street names after Black Lives Matter protests

Haringey Civic Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock

Haringey Civic Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Street names in Haringey with links to racism and colonialism could be changed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

A review of monuments, building, place and street names will be carried out by the council in response to long-standing concerns expressed by residents.

It comes after the death of George Floyd in the US and the subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations sparked a renewed debate over the legacy of Britain’s imperial past.

Rhodes Avenue – named after a great uncle of colonialist Cecil Rhodes – and Black Boy Lane could be among those considered as part of Haringey’s review.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter: MP backs petition to rename Rhodes Avenue Primary School over links to white supremacist’s family

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter: Protesters take the knee outside Alexandra Palace

Council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor announced the move on Friday (June 12), saying it was “long overdue”.

Cllr Ejiofor said: “If we are to truly demonstrate our commitment to and solidarity with the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement, we must seriously address these issues.

“If we were naming roads today, we would never choose Rhodes Avenue, which is named after Thomas Rhodes – great uncle to Cecil Rhodes, an imperialist, colonialist, and white supremacist.

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“The head of Rhodes Avenue School hopes to be guided by the mayor’s commission regarding the changing of the school’s name.

“Street names such as Black Boy Lane may have a more contested history, but we cannot ignore the fact that meanings change over time, and the term Black Boy is now used most commonly as a derogatory name for African heritage men.”

Cllr Ejiofor said the borough “must not shy away from correcting the mistakes of the past” and that the council will work with BAME communities to “reflect” on whether existing street names and memorials “are appropriate for our society today”.

Haringey Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Liz Morris “welcomed” the council’s review but urged it to be conducted on a cross-party basis and to consult the borough’s “full range of voices” including historians.

A public consultation will be carried out on the outcome of the review.

To voice concerns over place names in Haringey, or to nominate someone who should be celebrated, email leader@haringey.gov.uk