UK city says racist street names 'will not change' 8 months ago

UK city says racist street names 'will not change'

The city conducted a review of its streets in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement

Sheffield City Council has said that street names in the city associated with "racist, outdated and uncomfortable messages" will not be changed.

The city ordered a review of street names that "perpetuate" racism after protests in Bristol last year where the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down, the BBC reports.

The review included Sheffield Council, Sheffield Museums, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

However whilst it found that there were features across the city which "perpetuate racism, outdated and uncomfortable messages", it decided they would not be replaced, as a majority of respondents in the review did not want to see any changes.

These features included street named associated with people "heavily involved in slavery."

For example, Canning Street is named after George Canning, the former prime minister who campaigned against freeing slaves, while Gladstone Road is named after William Gladstone, another former prime minister whose father was one of the world's biggest slave owners.

Whilst the city has no statues dedicated to anyone associated with slavery, the review found that of the 100 monuments on the city council's asset register, not one was dedicated to a non-white figure.

In a statement, the council said: "We acknowledge this strong feeling and are not currently intending to change any of the existing street names or remove any statues.

"The report into statues and street names is only part of the council’s wider responses to making the city and its places, spaces and communities that make up the city.

"The report of the Race Equality Commission will be published in 2022 and we will act on its recommendations.

"The council has also recently established local area committees which will bring new ways of working with a much more local focus."

As seen on the council's website: "The Commission has considered a range of written and oral evidence received from organisations and individuals from Sheffield and other cities.

"It has looked at what people thought would work to tackle racism and racial inequalities in the city. Hearings for each theme were held between May and July 2021.