Mayor Confirms The Beatles 'Penny Lane' Street Safe After Week of Controversy

The street the song is named after has come under fire for a potential link to a slave trader

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has confirmed Penny Lane will not be renamed.

Controversy about the iconic street’s name erupted over claims it was named after the slave trader James Penny.

Mayor Anderson took to Twitter to write, “As Mayor of City let me be clear the name of Penny Lane is not being changed. There is no evidence it’s named after James Penny.”

Penny Lane was brought international fame in 1967 when The Beatles released the song of the same name.

The song was primarily written by Paul McCartney and tells the story of various sights and characters he recalls from his youth in the city. The song was originally slated to be included on The Beatles legendary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but was instead released as a double A-side single with “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

During recent protests, signs bearing the street’s name were spray-painted over with the word racist painted over them.

While the link between Penny Lane and James Penny has not been verified, Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham told Sky News, “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.”

Rotherham said “I don’t believe it is associated with James Penny” and added “there is no evidence that is the fact.”

The city’s International Slavery Museum told the BBC it wasn’t able to confirm whether the street was named after James Penny with a spokeswoman saying “more research is needed.”

Local Liverpool tour guide Jackie Spencer told the BBC, "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 evidence suggesting a link between James Penny and Penny Lane is thin, Rotherham did say he would take action if one was found.

“It needs to be investigated and then, if it’s found as a direct link then action can be taken.”

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