Farewell Tulse Hill? London suburb may 'disappear' over slavery links

Farewell Tulse Hill? London suburb could ‘disappear’ over former lord mayor Sir Henry Tulse’s links to slavery – as Labour council is accused of wasting money on ‘vanity project’ as it asks residents whether area should be renamed

  • Lambeth Council is conducting a questionnaire over its historic place names 
  • Residents have been asked if places with ties to slavery should be renamed 
  • Tulse Hill is named after 17th century merchant and Lord Mayor, Sir Henry Tulse
  • Sir Henry’s wealth largely came from slavery, leading to a retrospective debate

A south London district could be renamed in the future due to its namesake’s historic connections to slavery.

Tulse Hill was named in honour of 17th century merchant Sir Henry Tulse, who served as Lord Mayor of London in 1684 and whose family’s wealth was largely drawn from the slave trade.

Now, Lambeth Council has asked residents for their views of the names of certain areas, The Telegraph reports.

The survey reportedly asked residents if the area should be renamed, whether it should have an information stand about its history or if an education programme should be launched in local schools.

Another option was to take no action whatsoever.

Tulse Hill could soon be renamed if residents object to its namesake’s links to slavery

It is the latest conflict in Britain’s culture wars, which has seen statues toppled and reputations ‘cancelled’ as a new generation of activists reassesses the past.

Lambeth is not the only borough look at its history, after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan offered £25,000 to local authorities to ‘decolonise’ their street names.

Other problematic street names mentioned in the survey are those named after slave-owning couple Henry Richard Vassal-Fox, third Baron Holland of Foxley, and his wife Elizabeth Webster, including Vassal Street, Holland Grove and Foxley Road.

Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden criticised Lambeth Council for spending public money on what he called ‘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.’

Other street names which may bite the dust include Rhodesia Road – named after the former British colony of what is now Zimbabwe – and Juxson Street, which got its name from Archbishop William Juxson, who family was involved in the slave trade.

A spokesman from Lambeth Council said the authority had worked closely with local communities following the 2020 Black Lives matter protests, in order to stamp out racism.

He added: ‘Lambeth is a richly diverse borough and the council has been a pioneer since the 1980s for naming new places to reflect local people.

‘This latest piece of work required no extra spending and has taken government legislation on the issue fully into account.’

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