Signs at Beatles pilgrimage site Penny Lane defaced in racism row
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Signs at Beatles pilgrimage site Penny Lane defaced in racism row

Activists have claimed Liverpool street made famous by band’s song was named after a slave trader; the mayor has denied this, while a local museum says evidence is inconclusive

A local resident cleans graffiti from a wall on Penny Lane in Liverpool, north west England on June 12, 2020, after a wall and street signs were defaced (Oli SCARFF / AFP)
A local resident cleans graffiti from a wall on Penny Lane in Liverpool, north west England on June 12, 2020, after a wall and street signs were defaced (Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Road signs on Liverpool’s Penny Lane, immortalized by The Beatles in their classic 1967 hit, were graffitied over on Friday following claims it was named after a slave trader.

Black spray paint covered writing on four signs on the road in the northwest English city, while the word “racist” was also daubed on a wall above one sign.

Local residents later cleaned off the paint.

Beatles songwriter Paul McCartney signed one of the signs when he visited the area in 2018.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson earlier this week denied that the road was named after slave trader James Penny, although the city’s International Slavery Museum is researching its origins.

“There is some debate about whether Penny Lane was named after James Penny, but the evidence is not conclusive,” said a spokesperson from the museum.

A portrait of slaver James Penny (Thomas Hargreaves/Public Domain)

“This is an extremely important subject to the museum and the city of Liverpool, and we want to encourage the public to share evidence and research on this topic if they have any.”

Separately, a statue of Jamaican poet, playwright and actor Alfred Fagon in Bristol was attacked with what appeared to be a corrosive substance, the BBC reported.

Fagon was the first black person to have a statue in the southwest English city, which is at the epicenter of the broader row after a monument honoring slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down last week.

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