Landmark Building in Wandsworth to Be Renamed After Protests

Chinese developer had planned to name building after supporter of blackshirts

Artist's impression of the Ram Quarter development

Greenland Group, the Shanghai based developer of a major project in the centre of Wandsworth has agreed to change the name of an apartment block after protests from the Jewish community and a local MP.

They had originally intended to name the block containing 80 flats after Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe, who was a member of the British Union of Fascists the organisation led by Oswald Mosley between the wars. Verdon Roe was an aviation pioneer and the founder of the Avro aviation group. The company say they were unaware of his political views when they chose to mark his memory in this way. He had built his first biplane in stables in the Wandsworth area in 1907 and he is believed to be the first Englishman to have made a powered flight in this country. A green plaque in his honour had been put up by Wandsworth Council in 2011.

The decision was objected to by the Board of Deputies and Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, who said, “In Wandsworth we pride ourselves on having a cohesive community where everyone is welcome. It would send the wrong message at a time when hate crimes have risen to name such an important new building after a well-known fascist.”

A statement from the Greenland Group said, “Wandsworth Council has made a request of Greenland Group to change the name of the building following an objection by a local Member of Parliament of which Greenland had not been informed. Greenland Group has no attachment to the name, and is happy to be steered by Wandsworth Council.”

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said, “It sends absolutely the wrong signal for buildings to be named after fascists and racists.”

On hearing of the change of plan Ms Allin-Khan tweeted, “Community leaders agree - it's insensitive to name Wandsworth's landmark building after a well-known fascist. Glad developers listened.”

March 15, 2017