Cross-party review group to examine statues, monuments and place names
A message from Camden Council's Leader on our commitment to reviewing the existing naming of buildings, streets, public spaces and memorials within the London Borough of Camden.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone who is calling to end racism and inequality around the world and here in Camden. These calls must translate into real change – and we want to work with Camden residents to challenge racial inequality at every level.
“We have seen across the country that some statues, monuments and place names are causing real pain and grief right now for communities. I myself feel very uncomfortable that certain figures are on a pedestal when what they stand for is so incompatible with our values and, in some cases, inextricably linked to racist brutal oppression.
“In Camden we have a history of honouring great activists and amazing individuals who dedicated their life to freeing others from oppression and dismantling inequalities. Camden has a long association with the Anti-Apartheid Movement and in 1985 this was recognised through the naming of Mandela Street. More recently, tenants at our Bourne Estate chose to name their new block after Olaudah Equiano, a man who experienced the horrors of slavery himself, before becoming a leading black campaigner for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
“However, there are a few places in Camden whose names have troubling associations – and we need to have an urgent, informed and open discussion with our communities about changing these. We need to act fast – but also act in a sensitive and consistent way.
“We are setting up a cross-party review group, chaired by Councillor Abdul Hai, our Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion, to urgently take stock of place names in Camden and make some decisions on a way forward that takes full account of equality, heritage and community considerations. This group will work with tenants and residents’ associations, our schools and community institutions, to ensure that there is full discussion and education on these important issues. I also encourage any resident to get in contact about concerns they may have to contribute to the wider debate. Our work will also feed into the commission being led by the Mayor of London that is examining the diversity of London’s public realm.
“We stand together in Camden in rejecting racism – in educating all generations and in moving forward together towards an equal society.
Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council
- A cross-party Working Group will meet for the first time in the next two weeks to consider existing naming of buildings, streets, public spaces and memorials within the London Borough of Camden.
- The group will be chaired by Councillor Abdul Hai, our Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion, and will also include, but not be limited to, Cllr Awale Olad, Cllr Sabrina Francis, Cllr Nazma Rahman, Cllr Richard Cotton, Cllr Gio Spinella and Cllr Tom Simon. The group will also draw on non-political representation and expertise.
- The Working Group will consider buildings, streets, public spaces and memorials in Camden both within and outside Council ownership
- The Working Group will consider approaches to engaging with building owners and communities, and will also consider guidelines for future memorials and naming opportunities.