The culture wars have seen statues removed and reputations “canceled” – now entire areas are in the firing line for their presumed historical connections.
The south London district of Tulse Hill, home to sprawling town halls, a popular park and the South Circular Road, may risk losing its name as it comes from a family that owned mansions in the area in the early 17th century. and had connections to slavery.
The question is included in a “community listening exercise” initiated by Lambeth City Council, which has released a questionnaire in which residents can ask about their views on the names of certain localities.
Most of the study deals with street names, but a section is devoted to Tulse Hill, explaining that Sir Henry Tulse, who was mayor of London, was a 17th-century descendant of the former Tulse family after whom the area was named.
The Council points out that Sir Henry derived “much of his wealth” from the slave trade.
Residents are asked if the area needs to be renamed, if it needs information to explain its history, or if an education program such as talks at local schools needs to be launched. One last option is to do nothing.
Lambeth is the latest London council to launch a review of its place names and comes after the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan offered a £ 25,000 grant to Londoners to “decolonise” their street names.
The Council’s inquiry highlights a number of places, streets named after Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, the third Baron Holland of Foxley and his wife Elizabeth Webster, who both owned slaves.
These streets – which could all be renamed – include Vassal Road, Holland Grove, Foxley Road and Foxley Square and Lord Holland Lane. Also on the list is Lilford Road, which is “associated through marriage with the Vassall family”.