The Beatles made Penny Lane famous and now it’s possible the Liverpoool laneway will get a new name.
Last week, four of the street’s roadsigns were vandalized, one with the word “Racist” painted over it. Some believe the street was named after James Penny who transported slaves in the 1700s, according to the BBC. Following the graffiti incident, Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham says the city is looking into the origin of the street’s name.
“If it is as a direct consequence of that road being called Penny Lane because of James Penny, then that needs to be investigated,” he tells Sky News. “Something needs to happen and I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed.”
The possible name change is in line with the worldwide push to remove monuments dedicated to racist figures from history in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
However, both the Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum and local tour guide Jackie Spencer say there is likely no connection to the slave trader.
“We’ve researched it, and it has nothing to do with slavery. James Penny was a slave trader, but he had nothing to do with the Penny Lane area,” Spencer tells the BBC.
Rotherham says research will be conducted and “then, if it’s found as a direct link, then action can be taken.”
The Beatles’ 1967 hit “Penny Lane” was based on the area frequented by the bands’ members in their youth, thanks to its prominent bus terminus and roundabout.