Home to a multitude of council estates, the popular Brockwell Park and the south circular road, Tulse Hill is next on the chopping block amidst the culture wars. The district’s name derives from a family who held manors in the area during the early 17th-century and had links to slavery. As a result, Tulse Hill may now lose its name.
Lambeth borough council have been accused of pursuing a “vanity project” for their new scheme in which they ask residents what their views are on certain local names as part of a “community listening exercise”.
While the majority of the survey concerns street names, one section is devoted to Tulse Hill and explains that Sir Henry Tulse, formerly Lord Mayor of London, was a descendant of the Tulse family who gave the area its name.
The council adds that Sir Henry derived “much of his wealth” from participating in the evils of the slave trade.
Over a third of people living in Tulse Hill are black. 47 percent of the area is white.
This comes after London mayor Sadiq Khan offered £25,000 grants to Londoners to “decolonise” their street names.
In the survey, residents are asked their views on whether the area should be renamed, have information displayed to explain its history or whether an education programme should be launched like talks at local schools. Finally, the survey gives the option to do nothing.
Calls for various buildings to be renamed entered the front of the cultural conversation after the murder of George Floyd by an American police officer sparked widespread protests.
This prompted the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston, an infamous slaver, in Bristol in 2020, and accelerated the process of renaming Colston Hall.
The music hall’s management accepted that the name was “toxic”, and have now renamed it to Bristol Beacon.
Tulse Hill is not the only part of Lambeth facing renaming for links with slavery – several of its streets are also up for debate.
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The survey highlights streets which are named after Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, the third Baron Holland of Foxley and his wife Elizabeth Webster – both of whom owned slaves.
The streets that therefore may be renamed include Vassal Road, Holland Grove, Foxley Road and Foxley Square and Lord Holland Lane.
Other streets which may be renamed include Juxon Street, named after Archbishop William Juxon, whose family was involved in the sugar trade in Jamaica and whose family coat of arms has four African heads.
Rhodesia Road is also being considered for renaming, as it is named after the colonial name for Zambia and Zimbabwe derived from Cecil Rhodes.
Thurlow Road may face the same fate, as it is named after Edward Thurlow, a politician who actively opposed the abolition of the slave trade.
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Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden has accused the council of wasting money on a “vanity project”.
He said: “While people worry about the cost of living, Labour councils are wasting their cash on vanity projects like this. No wonder Conservative councils deliver more and cost less.”
A Lambeth Council spokesperson said that following the Black Lives Matter campaign in 2020 they have been working with communities “to see if there are local locations with possible links to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism”.
They added: “Lambeth is a richly diverse borough, and the council has been a pioneer since the ‘80s for naming new places and new buildings to reflect local people.
“This latest piece of work required no extra spending, and has taken Government legislation on the issue fully into account.”