Published On: Mon, Jun 15th, 2020

Penny Lane: Who is Penny Lane named after? | Music | Entertainment


Penny Lane was released by the Beatles in 1967. The song was a double-A side with Strawberry Fields Forever, and was soon released on their Magical Mystery Tour album. The song has been listened to more intently as of late after anti-racism protestors drove attention to the song’s namesake in their recent efforts.

Who is Penny Lane named after?

Penny Lane, the song by the Beatles, makes reference to the road in Liverpool.

In the song, which is mainly written by Sir Paul McCartney, chronicles some of Sir Paul’s life growing up in Liverpool, mentioning many Liverpudlian landmarks and sights.

Penny Lane is one of these sights, and has since become a focus of Beatles pilgrimages in the fair city.

However, some people have now said the road was named after a slave ship owner from Liverpool, James Penny.

Penny was an opponent of the abolition of slavery, defending slavery to the UK Parliament, and was active in the slave trade until the American Revolutionary War, returning to the slave trade in the years before his death in 1799.

In response to the road name, protestors in Liverpool graffitied the road sign with the word ‘racist,’ claiming the road name was linked to the slave trader.

At present, the origins of the name is debated, with the International Slavery Museum tweeting: “There is some debate about whether Penny Lane was named after James Penny, but the evidence is not conclusive.

However, City tour guide Jackie Spencer, who runs Blue Badge Tour Guides, told the BBC she was ‘absolutely livid’ about the graffiti.

She said: “It’s pure ignorance. We’ve researched it and it has nothing to do with slavery.

“James Penny was a slave trader, but he had nothing to do with the Penny Lane area.”

While the debate rages on, one thing is for certain: the Beatles’ song is only about the street, and not about the slave trader.



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