Renaming Black Boy Lane


The decision to change the name of Black Boy Lane to ‘La Rose Lane’ was taken at corporate committee on 1 February 2022. The name change is planned to take effect from 23 January 2023. 

We want to thank those who submitted responses and feedback during the consultation period. Corporate committee took the decision to rename the street following calls from Haringey residents, in recognition of the negative impact the racist connotations attached to the name have had on residents of, and visitors to the borough, and careful consideration of the responses to the consultation.

We know that while many residents across the borough, and on Black Boy Lane, were in favour of the name change in the lead up to, and during the consultations, a significant number of residents of the street were against it at that time. We committed to a period of further engagement with residents at the last corporate committee, to make sure all residents are aware of the administrative changes that will need to be made, when they will need to be made by, and importantly to make sure we are aware of any additional support needs we can help with as a Council.

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Why rename Black Boy Lane?

The question of changing the name of the street was raised by a resident as part of a consultation started in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Our extensive consultation and engagement with the community found that many other residents shared the concerns about the racial connotations of the name and the impact its continued use has on Black people in Haringey.

In the first phase of consultation, it was decided that if renaming were to go ahead, the street would be renamed as ‘La Rose Lane’ in celebration of John La Rose, a former Haringey resident, publisher, essayist, poet, and champion of Black history and equality.

Haringey Council is committed to taking action to both address inequality and celebrate the rich diversity of our borough. We recognise that there are different views on how best to do this.  

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History of the name ‘Black Boy’

The street appears to have been named Black Boy Lane in reference to the nearby Black Boy pub. The name of the pub can be traced back to the late 17th century through original documents held at Bruce Castle Museum and Archive. This was a time when Britain’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade was nearing its peak, and there were notable Tottenham residents with links to the slave trade. Although the historical origin of the pub’s name is not clear, during the 20th century the pub’s sign depicted a racially caricatured image of a Black person until it was replaced as a result of pressure from local residents in the 1980s.

The name continues to have a negative impact on Black residents and visitors to our borough due to its racial connotations. The terms ‘black boy’ or ‘boy’ when referring to Black men have historically been used as racist terms to belittle Black males, and signal they are worth less than their white male counterparts. While pejorative use of the term ‘black boy’ or ‘boy’ is mostly synonymous with slavery in the US, it has continued to be used as a derogatory racist term in many countries. The initial call for the street name Black Boy Lane to be changed came in recognition of the history of, and current connotations linked to the name. 

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Who is John La Rose?

  • 27 December 1927 - 28 February 2006

John La Rose was born in Arima, Trinidad, in 1927. At nine he won a scholarship to St Mary's College, where he later taught before becoming an insurance executive.

In the 1940s John La Rose helped to found the Workers Freedom Movement and edited their journal 'Freedom'. He was an executive member of the Federated Workers Trade Union, later merged into the National Union of Government and Federated Workers. He became General Secretary of the West Indian Independence Party and and contested a seat in the 1956 General Election for the party. He was also involved with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, becoming their European representative from 1962 onwards.

John La Rose arrived in Britain in 1961. In 1966 he founded New Beacon Books, the first Caribbean publishing house, bookshop and international book service. Growing up in a colonial society in the Caribbean made him acutely aware that colonial policy was based on a deliberate withholding of information from the population. There was also a discontinuity of information from generation to generation. Publishing, therefore, was a vehicle to give an independent validation to one's own culture, history and politics - a sense of self - and to make a break with discontinuity.

In 1966 John La Rose, along with the Jamaican writer and broadcaster Andrew Salkey and the Barbadian poet and historian Edward Kamau Braithwaite, co-founded the Caribbean Artists Movement, providing a platform for Caribbean artists, poets, writers, dramatists, actors and musicians. In 1972/73 he was Chairman of the Institute of Race Relations and Towards Racial Justice.

John La Rose was involved in the Black Education Movement from the late 1960s, particularly in the struggle against banding, and the placing of West Indian children in schools for the educationally sub-normal. He founded the George Padmore Supplementary School for West Indian children in 1969 and helped found the Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association. In the 1980s he was instrumental in setting up the National Association of Supplementary Schools, and was its Chairman for a time.

In 1975, after a black schoolboy was assaulted by the police in Haringey John La Rose and concerned parents founded the Black Parents Movement to combat the brutalisation and criminalisation of young black people, and to agitate for youth and parent power and decent education. The Black Parents Movement, in alliance with the Race Today Collective and the Black Youth Movement , became one of the most powerful cultural and political movements organised by black people in Britain. The alliance formed the New Cross Massacre Action Committee in response to the New Cross fire which resulted in the death of 14 young black people, and mobilised 20,000 more black individuals and their supporters in March 1981 to protest the death of the young people and the failure of the police to conduct a proper investigation. John La Rose was the Chairman of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee and gave tremendous support to the bereaved families.

John La Rose was also part of many organisations focusing on international concerns. In 1982 he helped to found Africa Solidarity, supporting the struggle against dictatorship and tyranny in Africa and he also became Chairman of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya, also founded in 1982. In response to the rise in fascism and xenophobia, he helped to found the European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice in the late 1980s, bringing together anti-racists and anti-fascists from Britain, Belgium, Italy, France & Germany.

One of John La Rose's greatest achievements was the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (1982-95), organised jointly with Bogle L'Ouverture Books and Race today Publications. He was joint director with Jessica Huntley of the Book Fair and from 1984 its sole director. John La Rose was the editor at New Beacon Books and of their journal, New Beacon Review, and published two volumes of his own poetry, Foundations (1966) and Eyelets of Truth Within Me (1992). He also did some filmmaking in the 1970s.

The George Padmore Institute was established in 1991 and chaired by John La Rose. The Institute continues the traditions and methods of work that New Beacon Books and the organisations connected with it have developed since 1966.

John La Rose died on 28 February 2006. He is part of a Caribbean tradition of radical and revolutionary activism whose input has reverberated across continents.

Source: George Padmore Institute (external link)

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Support from the council

The support package we outlined during the consultation period will still be provided: 

  • Haringey Council will notify as many organisations as we can on behalf of residents
  • Postcodes and house numbers will not change
  • An official Street Naming and Numbering Order document will be provided
  • The council will provide practical help and support during the name change process
  • The council will provide up to one £300 voluntary payment per property on Black Boy Lane. Proof of residence at the property on 23 January 2023 will be needed in order to be eligible for the voluntary payment
  • A change in the name of the street will not affect any resident’s immigration status  

We will be organising a number of opportunities to hear from residents about their support needs or with any questions over the next three months, including:

  • drop-ins at Chestnuts Community Centre
  • pop-ups on the street
  • online meetings
  • opportunities to write to us via the mailbox or by letter

If you are aware of neighbours or residents on the street who may need support from the council with making administrative changes, e.g. updating their GP with the new street name, please let us know by emailing us through the details provided below, or informing us at one of the street-based engagement sessions. 

Thank you for your contributions during the consultations and engagement process so far, and we look forward to hearing from you during this next phase in preparation for the name change taking effect on 23 January 2023.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is John La Rose?

Black Boy Lane is proposed to be renamed 'La Rose Lane' after John La Rose. 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.

Will my postcode and house number change?

No. The Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) for the street will also remain the same, which is used by many organisations.

Will I need to inform Royal Mail of the change to the street name?

No. The council will inform Royal Mail of the address change. Because your postcode won't change, a change in the road name, should not affect any letters or parcels sent via Royal Mail. Utility companies and others buy address lists from Royal Mail.

What organisations will I need to inform about my change of address? How will the council help me?

The council will notify as many organisations as we can on residents' behalf and provide practical help and support, should the change be agreed, including pro-forma documents to send to relevant organisations.

Residents will also have a named person who you can speak to if you are facing any difficulties or need any particular support.

Many organisations use the National Address Database and so your details would be automatically updated if they are using the latest information. All government organisations now have to use AddressBase (GeoSpatial Commission - part of the Cabinet Office) which the council will also ensure is automatically updated.

However, you will still need to inform some organisations yourself.

We will provide copies of the official name change order, which will be proof of the name change. We will continue to compile a detailed checklist of organisations but the key organisations to think about, including those that the council will contact on your behalf, include:

  • Addresses linked with accounts for online shopping, etc.
  • Utility companies - e.g. Internet, telephone, electric, gas, water
  • Council Tax
  • Schools/Education
  • Electoral services
  • Jobs and employment/benefits
  • Bank accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Insurance: home, contents, car, etc.
  • NHS/GP/hospital/pharmacy information
  • Her Majesty's Land Registry (HMLR)
  • Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • Tenancy agreements, deposit agreements etc.
  • Wills, registrars, and other legal documentation
  • Home Office/HM Passport Office/immigration/visa documentation
  • Next of kin details
  • Organisations/businesses/self-employed - Companies House, websites, stationery, business accounts, invoices, contracts

Will the council reimburse me for the cost of updating my information with organisations?

We are offering a 'voluntary payment' of approximately £300 per household/organisation for any inconvenience the name changing may cause. We expect that the equivalent time and cost contribution for the vast majority of, if not all, households/organisations will be significantly less than this.

Will there be new street name plates?

Yes, the council will provide replacement street name plates, showing the new name should the change be approved. The council will also inform Transport for London of the change and be responsible for making sure that TfL update all their relevant information, including nearby bus stops.

Will this affect my residency, immigration status or UK visa?

At the point at which any change in road name takes effect, if you have previously applied or are in the process of applying for a UK visa, you may need to update your address as part of your application. Haringey Council will provide a Street Naming and Numbering Order as official proof of the change to use when updating your details, and any other practical support to do this. This can be done online and there is no cost.

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Contacting us

Email: bblconsultation@haringey.gov.uk 

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Wider review of monuments, buildings, and place and street names

This name change is the first phase of a wider review where we will be working with our residents, communities, organisations and local historians to understand the history of street names in the borough and to address any issues raised.

While we appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone, and responding to consultations such as this may be more challenging, we believe that now, more than ever, we should seek to send out a clear message in support of the diversity of our borough.

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Page last updated:

January 12, 2023

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