Shortlist revealed for Cassland Road Gardens renaming

Cassland Road Gardens sign being removed.

The Cassland Gardens sign was removed on December 5, 2020 and can now be viewed in Hackney museum as an educational artifact. - Credit: Wayne Crichlow

Hackney people are being invited to help rename a green space in their borough by voting for one of four shortlisted choices. 

The former Cassland Road Gardens was named after Sir John Cass, director of the Royal African Company, who profited from the transatlantic slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The change comes as part of Hackney Council's Review, Rename, Reclaim project, which aims to ensure the names of public spaces reflect Hackney's diversity.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and the council's equality lead, Cllr Carole Williams, said the naming review has taken the council on an "insightful journey into the often hidden history of Hackney": “This is the first location to be renamed as part of the review and it already feels like a step in the right direction as we make our public places more inclusive to the community who live here today.

"We look forward to seeing who Hackney decides to name their garden after."

Political refugee Frank Owuasu.

Political refugee Frank Owuasu passed away in 2018. - Credit: Emma Davies


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Since the announcement to rename the gardens in July 2020, local residents have submitted suggestions such as SJ Celestine Edwards, a Dominican-born activist who lived in Hackney from 1891.

Cassland Road resident Kathleen 'Kit' Crowley has also been put forward for the vote.

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She was born in 1918, contributed to the World War Two effort by working on the railway as a porter, and also spent 32 years working at Wentworth Nursery.

Kit has been described as a role model for the children of the Windrush generation on the former Gascoyne Estate in south Hackney. 

Nigerian-born political refugee Francis 'Frank' Owuasu, who came to Hackney in 1967 and founded the African Community School with his wife Kome, will also be considered as well as Ralph Adolphus Straker, an influential campaigner for racial equality. 

Cassland Road resident Kit Crowley. 

Cassland Road resident Kit Crowley. - Credit: Emma Davies

Residents can cast their votes for Celestine, Crowley, Owausu or Straker Gardens until April 11.

To find out more about Review, Rename, Reclaim, visit hackney.gov.uk/naming-review

To suggest names for future renaming projects via the new Hackney Naming Hub, visit hackneynaminghub.commonplace.is

Suggestions can also be submitted by calling 020 8356 4501 or emailing NamingHub@hackney.gov.uk 

Campaigner Ralph Straker.

Campaigner Ralph Straker. - Credit: © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

S J Celestine Edwards portrait.

S J Celestine Edwards, 1894. - Credit: The National Archives

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