Tottenham’s ‘Black Boy Lane’ has been renamed after the pioneering Black publisher and writer John La Rose following concerns about its racial connotations. The street will now be called La Rose Lane after John La Rose.
Council started a consultation into the planned name change following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests. It is understood that Black Boy Lane was named after a pub in the late 17th century.
The local authority said the name change was prompted after many residents shared concerns about the racial connotations of the name and the impact its continued use has on black people in Haringey.
Haringey resident John La Rose (1927-2006) was an influential figure in the struggle for social justice and recognition for Black authors, artists and thinkers. He played a key role in founding New Beacon Books in Stroud Green, and later the Caribbean Artists’ Movement.
Cllr Peray Ahmet, Leader of Haringey Council, said he was “delighted to honour Mr La Rose with the street name." He said: “John made such a huge contribution to Black life both here in Haringey and across the UK and played an important role in gaining recognition for Black authors and artists, as well as championing inclusive education.”
Renaldo La Rose, grandson of John La Rose, said:
“John’s family are really proud that John’s life and work is to be recognised by having a road named after him. John’s work was of national and international significance but much of it started here in Haringey. We hope that through having his name memorialised in this way we will bring the message of his work – the urgent need for race equality and justice – to a new audience.”
In October 2021, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan offered £25,000 in grants to change street names in London and “celebrate the histories and experiences of Londoners from diverse backgrounds".
The funding forms part of the mayor’s £1 million Untold Stories fund set up to champion diversity and improve representation in the capital’s public spaces. Ealing council has already moved to change the name of Havelock Road named after colonialist commander Sir Henry Havelock. It was officially renamed ‘Guru Nanak Road’ last January.
Cecil Rhodes House in Camden, named after the British colonialist, was renamed Park View House and Cassland Road Gardens in Hackney, after merchant Sir John Cass, will also be renamed. Meanwhile, thousands of people have signed petitions calling for the statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes to be taken down from Oriel College at the University of Oxford which still remains in place.