Last week Stroud district councillors voted to approve the recommendations of a review into street names and monuments in the district after residents raised concerns in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
The most notably included exploring how removal of the Black Boy clock and statue in Stroud could be achived
But many other recommendations have also been made, including undertaking a review of the street name Blackboys in Dursley.
Residents of the street, which has been dubbed ‘offensive’, appear split on whether the name should be changed.
There are eight properties on the street with a Blackboys address and the review panel recommended the council consults with the residents to consider renaming the street.
While the origin of the name is unclear, the panel’s report stated: “Regardless of the origins, it does not take away from the fact that this street name causes offence.
“Other reviews have taken place for similar names across the country which have resulted in name changes.”
The SNJ spoke to residents from four of the eight houses on the road. While one person declined to give their opinion, the other three offered contrasting views.
Scarlett O’Connor, who has lived on the road for six years, said a name change would make sense.
“I’ve thought from the moment I moved in it should be changed,” she said.
“It’s 2022, times have changed.”
Neighbour Linda Allen said she could understand the reasons why people wanted to change the name, but expressed reservations.
“I was quite shocked when I heard, she said.
“Everybody’s address along here will have to change, that means all your bills, everything. It’s a lot to sort out.”
Kim and Ian Williams were adamant that the name should remain.
“We’ve been here 26 years and never had anyone say they were offended by the name,” said Kim.
“Nobody has said anything. Nobody has come to the door up in arms about it.
“I think the world’s gone mad to be honest. I think it’s a nice name and if it’s changed my house number will be no good as it says Blackboys on it.
Other panel recommendations include consulting with the owner of Blackboys clock and the statue (both in Stroud) to move forward with its removal, progressing plans to restore the anti-slavery arch in Paganhill, Stroud, and reviewing the council’s street naming protocol to ensure discriminatory names are not used.
Stroud District Council leader Doina Cornell, who represents Dursley said: “This review was undertaken in response to the rightful challenge posed to us all by the Black Lives Matter movement and by local residents, to tackle systemic racism, and is part of a wider piece of work that the council has undertaken.
“I’m grateful to the panel for all the work they’ve put into this and how they have ensured that their recommendations reflect our community’s views as to what next steps are needed.”
Writing in her column in the SNJ last week Cllr Cornell added: “This is not about ‘cancelling’ or ‘removing’ history, but enriching our understanding of our past, so we can celebrate the best of it, the people and the events that we are proud of in our district.”