Transport for London (TfL) has been urged to reconsider the name of a station in the capital over fears over its “offensive” association with slavery.
Newham councilors called on the transportation agency to consider renaming the Maryland station during a discussion of the names of electoral districts in the borough.
If approved, the decision could pave the way for overhaul of other train and underground stations, with stops such as East India and Canning Town also highlighted for its past associations with the slave trade.
Maryland, which is on the Great Eastern Main Line connecting London to the east of England, was reportedly given as the station’s name by a slave family who owned plantations in the Mid-Atlantic state.
The name has now been proposed as a new neighborhood in the borough following a boundary shake-up, but Labor advisers say it could cause “deep disappointment” to African-Caribbean residents. Another suggestion from New Town was put forward.
In a council report, politicians said they would consult with TfL to rename the station.
Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said Maryland’s current name “does a disservice to the diversity of the borough.”
While Anthony McAlmont told members that the use of Maryland is “offensive” because: “Anything that has to do with slavery offends some of us.
It has been suggested that the name derives from the merchant Richard Lee, who owned plantations in the American colonies, and may have brought the Maryland name back from his estates there.
A report from the Boundaries Commission states: “We have received suggestions from Council and a resident that the Maryland neighborhood be renamed New Town because of the name’s possible links to a prominent figure in the colonial governments of North America. North.
He adds, however, that: “Other evidence casts doubt on the origins of the name and points to earlier derivations of place names.
“The Council recognizes that there is uncertainty on the matter. ”
It has been argued that British places taking their names from American localities are extremely rare and that the most likely origin of “Maryland” is in fact the Old English word “mære” which means border.