Rhodes has fallen: Cecil Rhodes House renamed to Park View House

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The decision to change the name of Cecil Rhodes House to the Park View House was been marked in a public event on Monday. The Camden estate was renamed after a vote to find consensus on the issue earlier in the year. Among the options available to local residents were Bill Richmond Court, named after the 18th century Black Boxer, and Inayat Court, a nod to Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, a female British special operative of Indian descent who served during the second world war. 

The Mayor of Camden, Cllr Sabrina Francis, unveiled the plaque that cemented the renaming of the block, to a round of applause. 

Rhodes, a 19th century businessman and politician (he served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, which is now South Africa) was also a well known imperialist and white supremacist. During the nineteenth century, his work contributed to the expansion of the British empire and the colonisation of parts of Southern Africa.

Onlookers will likely question what role the Black Lives Matter protests and subsequent discourse around statues, as well as Britain's historical legacy, played in the successful attempt to remove his name from the estate. Regardless, it's been a long time coming. Attempts to rename the estate date back to the 1980s.

You may remember that a statue of the British Imperialist was decapitated last year in Cape Town, South Africa. As recently as 2015, the 'Rhodes must fall' movement ushered in a fresh push to decolonise national memorials not only in South Africa but in the UK too. The topic as a whole attracts a lot of international attention, but in recent years, the history of Cecil Rhodes and his role in the expansion of the British empire has been fleshed out extensively. With this latest decision, the residents of Park View House have made it clear that they do not wish for Cecil Rhodes to be associated with the estate moving forward.

Mayowa Ayodele

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