Controversial renamed Black Boy Lane street sign 'vandalised within 24hrs' on Tottenham street

Black Boy Lane graffiti
Graffiti on the new La Rose Lane street sign in north London Credit: BPM Media

A controversial renamed north London street has had one of its new signs graffitied over within 24 hours of being put up.

Black Boy Lane in Tottenham was officially renamed La Rose Lane on Monday (January 23) following a council review after anti-racism protests in 2020. Street signs were unveiled on Monday, but by Tuesday morning one had already been graffitied over with the new name - which pays tribute to Black publisher John La Rose - crossed out in black paint. Haringey residents were consulted on the name change in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, but the council did admit that "significant numbers of residents" were opposed to the name change. Haringey Council acknowledged "the name continues to have a negative impact on Black residents and visitors to our borough due to its racial connotations".

The street appears to have been named Black Boy Lane in reference to the nearby Black Boy pub, with the pub's name tracing back to the late 17th century.

Political and cultural activist John La Rose

This marked a time when Britain was involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and although the historical origin of the pub's name is not clear the council noted: "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." It added: "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." La Rose Lane celebrates John La Rose, a former Haringey resident, publisher, essayist, poet, and champion of Black history and equality.

He is part of a Caribbean tradition of radical and revolutionary activism whose input has reverberated across continents.

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