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Beatles’ Penny Lane “in danger of being renamed” if slavery links are proven

Written by on June 15, 2020

It’s yet to be confirmed that the iconic address was named after slave trader James Penny.

Liverpool’s Penny Lane, which was made famous across the world by The Beatles, is “in danger of being renamed” if links to slavery are discovered, the city’s regional mayor has claimed.

Road signs at the Liverpool location were vandalised last week after it was claimed they are linked to notorious 18th century slave trader James Penny.

Steve Rotherham, Liverpool’s Metro Mayor, has admitted the road could be renamed if the connection is conclusively proven.

“If it is as a direct consequence of that road being called Penny Lane because of James Penny, then that needs to be investigated,” Mr Rotherham told Sky News today (June 15).

“Something needs to happen and I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed.”

But Mr Rotheram added “there is no evidence that is the fact”.

He said: “Just imagine not having a Penny Lane and the Beatles’ song not being about somewhere.

“I don’t believe it is associated with James Penny.”

Mr Rotheram also said he had “done a bit of reading on this” and suggested that it may instead be associated with a toll that was once paid in pennies to cross the road.

He added: “It’s for other people to decide whether they think it’s appropriate that road sign is taken down, if indeed there is any link to either slavery or other incidences.

“I’m not pretending or I wouldn’t presume to tell people in communities in the Liverpool city region what they should be thinking.

“It needs to be investigated and then, if it’s found as a direct link then action can be taken.”

Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum has also said evidence linking Penny Lane to James Penny is “not conclusive”.

It comes after a series of monuments linked with slave trade were either defaced last week in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests including the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.

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