Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Hackney residents invited to help rename public spaces

Published:Saturday | December 19, 2020 | 12:14 AM
Hackney Councillor Carole Williams
Hackney Councillor Carole Williams

Hackney Council has called on its predominantly African and Caribbean residents to share ideas for names to replace existing ones on public spaces named after former slave owners in the east London borough.

The council has formed a community steering group of local historians, community leaders, councillors and young people who are now researching the public spaces.

The series of online events, titled ‘Representing African and Caribbean Communities in Our Public Place Names’, is pitched as “an opportunity to meet the community steering group, ask questions and join breakout rooms to crowdsource ideas”.

The first was held on Wednesday, December 9, and gave participants a chance to share stories on Hackney’s black history which could inspire names to better reflect Hackney’s diversity.

Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources, Councillor Carole Williams welcomed the initiative. She said: “The names of slave owners and those responsible for taking the lives of so many black people should not be honoured in our community.

“2020 has been an important year for taking real action in the fight against racism. This is a small part of that big fight. We hope residents take the opportunity to join us as we face our history and look forward to a more inclusive Hackney.”

The event feeds into the launch of the Hackney Naming Hub - an online platform to crowdsource names to help make the borough’s spaces more inclusive to the people of Hackney. It seeks to address under-representation in the public realm, and welcomes ideas that acknowledge the achievements of diverse and migrant communities, as well as people with disabilities, a release noted.

Following recommendations from the community steering group, the council has already agreed to rename Cassland Road Gardens, named after slave owner Sir John Cass. Residents will be invited to take part in a consultation to agree on a new name early next year. Ideas shared via the Hackney Naming Hub and the online events will be considered as part of this.

Steering Group member Ngoma Bishop said: “We’re happy to be working with Hackney Council to ensure that residents and people working or studying in the borough are involved in all aspects of the process, and not only consulted but instrumental in the selection of alternative names for our borough.”