Tottenham's Black Boy Lane renamed after social justice campaigner John La Rose

Tottenham's Black Boy Lane was officially renamed on Monday because some residents said the signs were "offensive" and it was "time for change".

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

Poet and activist John La Rose founded the first Caribbean publishing company in Britain and the council said the change was part of a wider 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 Councillor Peray Ahmet , leader of Haringey Council "It was a series of residents, my predecessor and councillors who felt like it was time for change and Black Boy Lane was always seen as an offensive name by many.

"So it was felt that it was time for change, so we have done it," she explained.

Sign for Black Boy Lane in Tottenham Credit: ITV News

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

She added: "Our officers have been on site here and there is a community centre just down the road. And we are offering a compensation package of a few hundred pounds for each resident affected so they can use that for the necessary changes."

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

However, one shopkeeper said he was worried it could affect his business.

"No one is happy about changing the name, there are much better things to do than change the name of the road," said Ismail Demirci.

"We have had a lot of customers complaining about the name being changed and the road closed," he added.

Who is John La Rose?

  • John La Rose was born in Trinidad in 1927

  • In the 1940s John La Rose helped to found the Workers Freedom Movement

  • John arrived in Britain in 1961

  • Five years later he founded New Beacon Books, the first Caribbean publishing house and bookshop

  • In 1975 he co-founded the Black Parents Movement from parents involved in the George Padmore Supplementary School incident where a young black schoolboy was beaten up by the police outside his school in Haringey

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

"Initially I was thinking why does it need to be changed?" said resident Debbie Saunders.

She added: "Nothing's wrong with it we have grown up with this road name an we didn't find it offensive.

"Now I understand for some people it is. And understanding who it is named after, I ma happy about it now."

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