Penny Lane signs vandalised after speculation over link to slave trade

Road signs in Liverpool’s Penny Lane have been vandalised after speculation over whether 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 on Friday morning, with the word “racist” painted on the wall above one sign.

By midday, the graffiti had been cleaned off by residents Emmett O’Neill and Lucy Comerford.

Black Lives Matter protests
Emmett O’Neill cleans a road sign for Penny Lane (Peter Byrne/PA)

One of the signs featured an autograph by Sir Paul McCartney, who signed his name when he visited the area for an episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke in 2018.

A screen placed over the sign to protect the signature meant it was not damaged by the graffiti.

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

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

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

Responding to a post on Twitter, he said: “We will have a discussion and debate with the black community and others to see what action we should take.”

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