It's one of the most famous streets in music, but Penny Lane in Liverpool may be undergoing a name change soon.
Statues and monuments to racism are being torn down across the world as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement (including petitions to replace statues of Confederate leaders with ones of Britney Spears and Dolly Parton). Now, the street immortalised in the Beatles song of the same name, is under threat because of its alleged connections to the slave trade.
Many believe that Penny Lane is named after 18th century slave merchant James Penny, who denounced the proposed abolition of slavery in parliament. In recent days, 'Penny was a slave trader' and 'Racist' have been spray-painted near signs on the street.
However, the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool tweeted that the evidence linking Penny Lane to James Penny was 'not conclusive' and that they are 'actively carrying out research on this particular question.'
Our thoughts on Penny Lane’s history, the research into its name and the need to be responsive to new evidence. pic.twitter.com/PAweUw2vCK
— International Slavery Museum (@SlaveryMuseum) June 12, 2020
The Mayor of Liverpool, meanwhile, told Sky News that "if it is as a direct consequence of that road being called Penny Lane because of James Penny, then that needs to be investigated. Something needs to happen and I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed.”