Tottenham’s controversial Black Boy Lane to be renamed after black author and activist John La Rose

Black Boy Lane in south Tottenham  (Google Maps)
Black Boy Lane in south Tottenham (Google Maps)

Tottenham’s controversially titled Black Boy Lane is to be renamed in honour of a late black writer and activist.

Haringey Council said the decision was made after residents raised concerns the road’s current name had racist connotations and was a source of hurt for black people.

It will be renamed after Haringey resident John La Rose - a black publisher, poet and essayist who was an influential figure in the struggle for social justice and recognition of authors and artists of colour.

Mr La Rose, who died in 2006 at the age of 78, played a key role in founding the UK’s first black bookshop New Beacon Books in Stroud Green, and later the Carribean Artists’ Movement.

A legal order issued on Thursday set the renaming process in motion after the council’s Corporate Committee voted to change the name of the street to La Rose Lane earlier this year. The name change will then happen officially on January 23.

Cllr Peray Ahmet, Leader of Haringey Council, said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to pay tribute to John La Rose with a new street name. 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.

“I understand that this is a decision which has generated passionate responses. Several rounds of consultation were held, and I know that the Corporate Committee took the full range of views into consideration when deciding to change the name of the road. It is time now to move forward with this.

“While every effort is being made to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible, we recognise the name change will cause some disruption for residents, so I’m pleased that we’re able to make a £300 voluntary payment to affected households. Our officers will be out and about in the area over the coming weeks providing practical support to residents who need it.

“I also want to be clear that this is just one small part of the work that we must do to ensure Haringey is a place where everyone feels welcome and included. I look forward to working with residents and communities on this important mission in the months and years to come.”

Mr La Rose’s grandson, Renaldo 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.”

House numbers and postcodes will not be affected, and organisations including the Royal Mail will continue to recognise the old name of the street for a transitional period to minimise inconvenience for residents.