Penny Lane road signs in Liverpool have been vandalised following slavery claims

It is debated whether the iconic landmark is named after slave trader James Penny

Road signs on Penny Lane in Liverpool have become the latest landmark to be vandalised following claims it was named after a slave trader.

Four signs on the road, made famous by The Beatles song of the same name, were spray-painted over this morning (June 12), with the word “racist” painted on the wall above one sign.

One of the them was autographed by Paul McCartney, who signed his name when he visited the area for an episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke in 2018, but it wasn’t damaged due to a screen protecting his signature, according to The Huffington Post.


Residents Emmett O’Neill and Lucy Comerford, who cleaned the graffiti off, hit out at those who defaced the signs.

“Penny Lane is very much a community and this is just absolutely disgusting. It is just wrong,” Comerford said.

O’Neill added: “Defacing Penny Lane signs is not going to change a lot. I just think it’s the wrong way to go about things.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said there was no evidence to suggest that the road is named after slave trader James Penny, explaining its name instead refers to a toll.

He also said he would support moves to rename other buildings and roads in the city that have links to the slave trade.


The International Slavery Museum in the city said research is being carried out into the origins of the name.

A spokesperson added: “There is some debate about whether Penny Lane was named after James Penny, but the evidence is not conclusive.

“We are actively carrying out research on this particular question and will re-evaluate our display on Liverpool street names and change if required.

“This is an extremely important subject to the museum and the city of Liverpool, and we want to encourage the public to share evidence and research on this topic if they have any.”

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

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