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Penny Lane not named after slave trader James Penny

News 23/06/2020

The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool has concluded that there are no connections between the Penny Lane street in Liverpool to a known slave trader James Penny.

The origin of the street name, made famous in the Beatles song of the same name, came into question after a press officer suggested that it was named after the slave trader called James Penny. A new statement now retracts the museum's suspicions about the name origin.

"After speaking with Liverpool slavery historian Laurence Westgaph, Tony Tibbles, our Emeritus Keeper of Slavery History (also former Director of Merseyside Maritime Museum) and historian and blogger Glen Huntley, we have concluded that the comprehensive research available to us now demonstrates that there is no historical evidence linking Penny Lane to James Penny," the statement read. "We are, therefore extending our original review and setting up a participative project to renew our interactive display."

On another note, a Liverpool street called Arrad Street, is named in recognition of James Penny's birthplace in Ulverston in the Cumbria region.

"Penny Lane about that time would have been a fairly rural country lane," local historian and tour guide Ralph MacDonald told Rolling Stone. "So that struck me. It would be very off that a lane in the middle of the country would be named after somebody in the same way that prestigious streets in the town center would."

As part of the recent uprisings stemming from Black Lives Matter protests around the world, the Penny Lane street signs were defaced, with black paint sprayed across 'Penny' and the word 'Racist' written above, prompting an investigation into the historical significance of the famous street.

MacDonald also explained that he and a group of historians had worked on this for more than a decade and was taken aback by the sudden large media interest in street names. He also noted that his research has yet to unearth the precise reason behind the name of the street.