Road signs on Liverpool’s famous Penny Lane have been defaced and covered in graffiti in a series of attacks described as “mindless.”
Images shared on social media this morning show all the signs for the Mossley Hill road which is a major draw for Beatles fans have been sprayed over so that the word Penny is no longer visible.
Graffiti with the word ‘racist’ has also been sprayed on a wall behind one of the signs, while the words ‘Penny was a slave trader’ have been sprayed near another of the road signs. The International Slavery Museum said it was not certain whether the street, immortalised in a song by The Beatles, was named after the slave trader.
The graffiti comes after it was suggested by some people on social media that the road – famously sung about by The Beatles – was actually named after prominent slave ship owner James Penny.
However this is widely disputed, with local politicians and historians saying there is no evidence this is where the street name derives from.
Following the toppling of the statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol last weekend, Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson has been speaking with people on social media about how the city can do more to acknowledge its past links to the shameful slave trade.
When asked if he would rename Penny Lane this week, the Mayor said : “My understanding is that there is no evidence that “Penny Lane” is named after slave trader James Penny.
“It is debated and said that there was a toll bridge that cost a penny there hence its name.”
Yesterday the head of the city’s International Slavery Museum said the street would be removed from a display on the city’s slavery links if it was established it was not linked to James Penny.
However this explanation is clearly not accepted by someone, who has today defaced all the Penny Lane road signs with what appears to be spray paint.
Local councillor and Liberal Democrat leader in the city, Cllr Richard Kemp said the move was ‘disgraceful’ and has immediately asked the council to sort it.
He said: “I’m really annoyed about this, this is just based on a rumour that has gone around that Penny Lane is named after James Penny – which just isn’t true.
“If it was the case then that would be something to be debated and discussed, but it isn’t – so this mindless graffiti is just disgraceful.”
The International Slavery Museum, at the Albert Dock, currently has an interactive display which informs visitors that Penny Lane was named after James Penny, the anti-abolitionist who was said to have defended slave trade to the British Parliament.
It has been in place since the museum opened in 2007, and Penny Lane is named alongside Tarleton Street, Cunliffe Street, Great Newton Street and others.
However, with historians disputing the link, the boss of the International Slavery Museum confirmed a review of Penny Lane’s inclusion in that display is underway because of the emerging evidence.