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Renaming Cecil Rhodes House

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The official renaming

Cecil Rhodes House was officially renamed Park View House on Monday 13 September 2021.

The renaming marks a new chapter in our local history, and we would like to thank our residents and everyone involved in making this change happen.

There is no place for racism or discrimination in Camden, and we strive collectively for a more just and equal borough.

Read the Cabinet report here

Resident questions and answers

Who can I contact if I need support to update my address?

Our Tenant Participation team is here to help residents. Please email [email protected] or call 020 7974 5986 if you need support.

You can also come along to our drop-in support sessions on Tuesday 14 September and Saturday 18 September, from 10am to 12pm at Doreen Bazell Hall.

Will the Council reimburse me for any costs to update my information?

If you are charged for updating your address, we will reimburse you. You must keep all receipts as evidence of your payment to claim – email [email protected] or call 020 7974 5986 for support.

When will the Cecil Rhodes House signs on the building be replaced?

The new Park View House signs will be installed on Monday 13 September. 

Do I need to inform Royal Mail of my new address?

No, we have updated Royal Mail. As your postcode will stay the same, changing the name of the building should not affect any letters or parcels sent through Royal Mail. Other delivery services such as DHL, Parcelforce etc. also use the Royal Mail address list.

Will post addressed to Cecil Rhodes House still be delivered to me? 

Yes. Any post addressed to Cecil Rhodes House will still be delivered even after the building has been renamed because your postcode and the street name will stay the same.

Will the emergency services know my address has changed?

Yes, we have informed all emergency services. The building’s new name will be updated on their systems on Monday 13 September.

Will my updated address affect my council tenancy? 

No, your tenancy with the Council will remain the same.

Will this affect my residency, immigration status or UK Visa?

If you have previously applied or are in the process of applying for a UK visa, you may need to update your address as part of your application. This can be done online and there is no cost. If you need any support, please let us know.

Will I need to update my council tax details?

No, your address will be automatically updated at midnight on Sunday 12 September. Any letters you receive from the Council after this date will be addressed to Park View House.

Will I need to update my electoral registration?  

No, we will update your electoral registration. However, if you are not yet registered and register to vote after Monday 13 September, please make sure you use Park View House as your address.

Will the Council inform my child’s school?

We will notify all schools and nurseries in Camden about the name change. If your child attends a school outside of Camden, you will need to notify them about the change before the building is renamed.

We will also contact all early years providers in Camden, but we strongly recommend that you also contact your provider to make sure they have your up-to-date information on their database.

What council services will the Council update?

We are updating all our internal databases. We use these databases across all departments, from Council Tax to Parking. There are some databases that are managed on behalf of the council by external organisations and we have notified them about the change.

Do I need to contact my mortgage provider to update my address?

Yes, you will need to contact your mortgage provider to let them know your address has changed.

If I’m selling my flat, will the new name cause problems?

We are writing to all estate agents currently advertising properties in the block to let them know about the name change. If you are selling your flat in August or September, please let us know and we will contact the estate agent you have chosen to advertise with.

I rent my property to sub-tenants, do I need to inform them?

We have written to all residents living at Park View House including private tenants and homeowners who do not live in the building. However, if you are a landlord, please write to your tenants to sure they are aware of the building’s name change.

Who was Cecil Rhodes?

Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) was a central figure in the growth of the British Empire. He was prime minister of the Cape Colony, which is now South Africa.

He created a political system of racism, discrimination and segregation which led to apartheid in South Africa that didn’t end until 1991. The effects of apartheid can still be felt today.

In 2020, Camden Council launched a review into individuals memorialised across the borough. The Council and the local community felt Cecil Rhodes should not be commemorated.

We held a webinar on Monday 14 September 2020 for residents to learn more about Cecil Rhodes and the reasons for renaming the building.  

Watch the webinar here

Why was the block called Cecil Rhodes House?

The block was named in 1957 by St Pancras Borough Council, which was the local authority at the time. There was a Rhodes family connection to Somers Town as the family owned a farm in the area, but Cecil Rhodes never lived in Somers Town.

The resident ballot

All Cecil Rhodes House residents were invited to take part in a resident ballot in February 2021 - this included council tenants, leaseholders, private tenants and non-resident leaseholders.

Residents could vote from four shortlisted names, two named after individuals and two neutral names. The names were:

Inayat Court

In celebration of Noor Inayat Khan, 1914 – 1944

Courageous and trailblazing, Noor Inayat Khan was the first woman spy to be dropped behind enemy lines in France during the Second World War.

Born to an Indian Muslim father and American mother, Noor and her family were living in Bloomsbury when she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and trained as a radio operator at the start of the Second World War.

In 1942, the Special Operations Executive recruited her as a radio operator and spy. That June, she became the first woman to be dropped behind enemy lines in occupied France.

Although Noor escaped capture and continued to send secret messages back to London for months under the code name Madeleine, she was eventually arrested by German forces and after 10 months in prison, was sent to Dachau concentration camp and executed in September 1944, aged just 30.

After her death, she was awarded both the Croix de Guerre by France and the George Cross by Great Britain – the highest civilian honour for heroism and bravery.

Bill Richmond House

In celebration of Bill Richmond, 1763 – 1829

Famous bare-knuckle prizefighter Bill Richmond was the ‘world’s first Black sports superstar’.

Born into slavery in 1763, Bill was spotted fighting soldiers as a teenager in New York and brought to the UK by Earl Percy, a general fighting with British forces in the American War of Independence. Once in the UK, Bill trained as a carpenter and met his wife Mary in Yorkshire before moving to London in 1795.

He became a boxer aged 41 and was one of London’s best known sportsmen – winning 17 out of his 19 fights and eventually running a boxing academy where he trained other boxers including poet Lord Byron. He was also one of 18 bare knuckle boxers who were ushers at the coronation of King George IV in 1821.

Bill is buried in St James’ burial ground (near Euston station).

Fleetside Court

The River Fleet is the largest of London’s underground rivers. Starting its journey from Hampstead Ponds, the river runs through Kentish Town, Camden Town and past St Pancras Old Church before flowing down to the River Thames.

From the time of the Romans, the River Fleet was used to transport goods. But as the city’s population increased, local residents and businesses used the river to dump waste and so it was used less and less as a transport route.

Eventually the Fleet was covered in the 17th century and in the 1850s, the well-known engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette incorporated it into the underground sewer system that runs below London today.

Thanks to Bazalgette, the Fleet now plays a vital role moving sewage away from the local area, protecting you and other Londoners from diseases.

Park View House

Home to a medieval history and famous landmarks, St Pancras Gardens is the park view opposite Goldington Estate.

In the 17th century, the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church and the land surrounding it were used as burial grounds. In 1863, new railway lines were laid on the land which sparked controversy as graves were dug up to make space.

Once the railway station on Euston Road had been built, the gardens were opened to the public in 1877 and were later restored in 2000 by Camden Council, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The gardens are home to famous landmarks including the Hardy Tree and the mausoleum - the mausoleum (pictured above) influenced the design of the iconic red telephone box.

The result

77% of eligible households took part in the ballot to choose a new name for their building.

Park View House won, with nearly two thirds of the votes.

The journey to the renaming

It was important to Camden Council that residents living in the building and the local community had a say in the renaming project. It is only with their help that this change has been made possible – thank you to everyone involved.

Below is a timeline of activities that led to the renaming.

July 2020

  • A cross-party working group of Camden’s Councillors was set up to review the borough’s memorials and statues after the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.
  • The working group identified Cecil Rhodes House and Beckford School as priorities for the renaming project.

August 2020

  • We wrote to residents living in Cecil Rhodes House and non-resident leaseholders with a property in the block, to let them know we planned to rename the building and that we wanted them to be involved.

September 2020

  • We held an engagement webinar for Cecil Rhodes House residents to explain who Cecil Rhodes was and why we were going to rename the building. We suggested new names and listened to residents’ feedback.
  • Somers Town History Club carried out research into the local area, including iconic residents.
  •  Goldington Estate's (the estate Cecil Rhodes House is on) TRA helped to create a longlist of potential names for the block.
  • We spoke to Cecil Rhodes House residents, shared the list of names and where they have come from and listened to feedback and invited them to suggest extra names.

October 2020

  • London Fire Brigade selected the names from the longlist that meet the emergency services criteria.

November 2020

  • Over 600 pupils from Regent’s High School held a ballot to choose their preferred names from the list approved by the fire brigade – these names would make the final list that residents could choose from. 

January 2021

  • The final shortlist of four names was agreed with the Goldington Estate TRA – Inayat Court, Bill Richmond House, Fleetside Court and Park View House.

February 2021

  • The resident ballot opened on Wednesday 10 February and every resident living at Cecil Rhodes House was invited to vote – this included Council tenants, private tenants, leaseholders and non-resident leaseholders.
  • Residents received a ballot booklet outlining the shortlist of names and their backgrounds and could vote by phone, online or by post.
  • The ballot closed on Sunday 28 February.

March 2021

  • We announced the most popular name chosen by residents, Park View House on Wednesday 17 March.

April to August 2021

  • We notified Her Majesty’s Land Registry and other external organisations – this included the Royal Mail and the emergency services – and updated internal council systems and databases ahead of the name officially changing. 

September 2021

  • The building was officially renamed Park View House on Monday 13 September, marking a new chapter in Camden’s local history.