London street sign for former ‘Black Boy Lane’ vandalised after renaming

<span>Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A street sign in Haringey has been vandalised less than 24 hours after the road was renamed due to concerns over racist connotations.

Black Boy Lane in Tottenham, north London, was officially renamed La Rose Lane on Monday after a consultation by Haringey council, which began in June 2020 in light of the Black Lives Matter protests the same year.

The new signs have “La Rose Lane” in prominent text with smaller, bracketed text underneath that says “formerly Black Boy Lane”.

On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the official renaming, Peray Ahmet, the leader of Haringey council, tweeted a picture of the street sign with “La Rose Lane” crossed out with black spray paint.

In the tweet, Ahmet said she was “really sad and disappointed to have been sent this today … what could this ever achieve beyond mindless vandalism”.

In a statement, Haringey council said the decision to rename the street was “made in response to concerns raised by residents that Black Boy Lane had racist connotations and was a source of ongoing hurt for black people”.

In a separate statement on its website, the council said “a significant number of residents of the street were against [the name change] at that time [of the consultation]”.

It is thought the original name of the road referred to a nearby pub with a similar name that could be traced back to the 17th century.

The road was renamed in honour of John La Rose, a black publisher, writer and local political activist who founded New Beacon Books, the first specialist Caribbean publishing house, bookshop and international book service in Britain.

Ahmet said: “I am sad and disappointed that one of the La Rose Lane street names has been vandalised within 24 hours of us marking such a historic moment. We had a memorable launch yesterday where we celebrated the life and legacy of John La Rose with his friends and family present to remember an iconic figure.

“La Rose Lane makes visible a political history few people will know about because it has been rendered invisible. A history of struggle and resistance, which transformed this nation. When people see John’s name they will have the opportunity to discover and learn.

“I fully understand that this is a decision that has generated passionate responses and our corporate committee took those full range of views into consideration when deciding to change the name of the road.

“An act of mindless vandalism will simply not be tolerated in Haringey. Now is the time to move forward and come together to honour the legacy of John La Rose and the many other black residents who have made such a huge contribution in the borough.”