Sadiq Khan has unveiled £25,000 grants to help people change street names as part of a diversity campaign launched following Black Lives Matter protests.
The Mayor of London has announced a £1 million fund that will be shared out among community groups, including those wishing to campaign to alter potentially offensive road names.
Grants of up to £25,000 will support groups through all aspects of the process of changing street names, which could include enlisting consultants and compensating residents.
The Untold Stories fund is part of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, which was established following Black Lives Matter protests to diversify artwork and statuary that came under scrutiny for commemorating figures linked to empire and slavery.
‘London’s diversity is its greatest strength’
Mr Khan said: “London’s diversity is its greatest strength but for far too long our capital’s statues, street names and buildings have only shown a limited perspective on our city’s complex history.
“I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure our public realm presents a more complete picture of everyone who has made London the incredible city it is today.”
Street names linked to the transatlantic slave trade include Milligan Street in Tower Hamlets, named for the slave trader Robert Milligan, whose nearby statue was removed from its plinth in 2020.
Hackney and Ealing councils have already moved to change the names of Black Boy Lane and Havelock Road – named for imperial commander Sir Henry Havelock – but grassroots groups largely lack the funding for the renaming process, which the Telegraph previously revealed could cost several hundreds per household in compensation.
It is understood the Untold Stories grant scheme could help local groups pay for all costs linked to the process, including seeking expert advice and funding the necessary consultations with residents, emergency services and Royal Mail.
Councils typically charge residents for changing street names, a cost which could also be covered by the grant programme.
Untold Stories will also help fund the development of new artworks, in a bid to better reflect modern London’s diversity in public spaces.
Binki Taylor, of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, said: “The commission holds a strong desire for the outcome of its work to be a public realm that genuinely reflects the cultures, histories and narratives of all Londoners.”
She added that it was an “act of empowerment for local people”.
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