Review, Rename, Reclaim

Review, Rename, Reclaim is a collaboration between the Council and community leaders, cultural experts, historians, teachers and young people that share one thing in common; a passion to make Hackney’s public spaces more representative of the communities that live here.

In June 2020, the Council launched a naming review to listen to the views of residents, partners and others about how to tackle public spaces named after slave and plantation owners.

The naming review complements the Council’s Black Lives Matter motion and builds upon a long history of fighting racism in the borough. Read Mayor Philip Glanville’s statement on the structural racism faced by black communities.

The Review, Rename, Reclaim project gives us an opportunity to rethink the names of spaces where communities live, learn, work and play to ensure they appropriately reflect our diverse community.

In the future, we hope this project will further public knowledge and understanding of the inclusive, anti-racism values of Hackney.

Mission statement

The names of former slave owners and colonialists no longer have a home in Hackney. Review, Rename, Reclaim will ensure existing names are identified, reviewed and renamed to ensure our anti-racist values are upheld.

We’ll invite residents every step of the way as we review the names of parks, streets, buildings, plaques, murals and statues named after those who do not represent our values of inclusivity, equality and justice.

We’ll reframe contentious legacies linked to the history of African enslavement with education and deeper context.

Using an open, inclusive and democratic approach, we’ll rename our public spaces with names we can be proud of for years to come.

The community steering group

The community steering group is a collective of local community leaders, cultural experts, historians, teachers and young people.

They have a dual role in advising the Council on how to make inclusive decisions on issues raised within the naming review, and to make recommendations for new names of public spaces named after slave owners.

The process

The Council will work collaboratively with the community steering group. Through regular meetings, their collective expertise will be shared to act upon recommendations for the naming review.

Together we will identify the names and symbols of historical slave owners, profiteers and unethical colonialist.

Through active community engagement, public consultation and learning, we’ll achieve the process of renaming contentious sites. Alternative names will be crowdsourced with residents and will be shortlisted for a final public vote.

The renaming framework is in 6 stages as outlined below.

Consultations and engagement

We will work closely with residents and businesses living and active on roads identified by the review. Contact will be made to those affected by any name changes from Spring 2021.

Changing the name of Cassland Road Gardens will be the first action of the naming review. The renaming of the gardens will set an example of best practice with active learning and reflection to make sure future renaming is an example of best practice.

Other names identified for review include Sir John Cass, Cecil John Rhodes, Sir Robert Geffrye and Francis Tyssen.

Contested figures


Learning, engagement and how to get involved

Whilst we can’t change the past, nor want to rewrite history, we do want to better understand it and how the past can remain present in our contemporary lives.

This programme will promote public history learning as well as support a more representative and relevant heritage that we can be united in celebrating.

Whilst the Review, Rename, Reclaim programme is responding to the removal of names that represent slave owners, profiteers and unethical colonialists, we will be will prioritising African and Caribbean names and heritage to contribute to reparations.

Page updated on: 12 April 2021

Review, Rename, Reclaim