Vote to be held on new name for Cecil Rhodes housing block

Claudia Jones could be honoured instead

Thursday, 3rd December 2020 — By Tom Foot

Cecil Rhodes House Simon Lamrock WhatsApp Image 2020-06-26 at 19.46.12

Cecicl Rhodes House

A HOUSING estate will vote on a new name next month following an anti-racism review by the council.

The tenants and residents association (TRA) of the Goldington Street estate in Somers Town will have the final say on a new name for its Cecil Rhodes House block.

Rhodes, who owned swathes of land in St Pancras, was an imperialist who founded territory of Rhodesia and is considered one of the architects of apartheid South Africa.

His links to the area include his grandfather, William, who was a churchwarden at St Pancras Old Church where his tomb “and many other members of the family” are buried.

The Goldington TRA has said the block should not be named after any individual, following calls from Labour councillors to name it after George Floyd, whose death earlier this year in America triggered the Black Lives Matter protests.

Claudia Jones, who founded the Notting Hill Carnival, has been suggested to the council’s committee, according to documents seen by the New Journal. Pupils at nearby Regent High secondary school have submitted a list of names to the council that will be merged with the TRA’s shortlist and published in the coming weeks.

The vote follows a review of names of council-owned buildings and statues that has so far identified no other Camden landmarks requiring a change other than Cecil Rhodes House and Beckford School.

QR codes will be attached to statues, including Sigmund Freud in Belsize Park and Mahatma Gandhi in Bloomsbury, bringing up information when scanned by phones.

Speaking in the summer, cabinet member Labour councillor Abdul Hai said: “There’s no place for racism in Camden and the continued celebration of Cecil Rhodes is at odds with who we are as an organisation and a borough.”

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