The Fascinating History of Penny Lane

We’re going to take a solid guess that “Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…” is playing in your head right now. In which case, you’re welcome! The Beatles put this half-a-mile Liverpool street on everyone’s radar, and now you can get a taste of Penny Lane whether you live in Liverpool or not, with Mecca Bingo’s 1p UK bingo room, Penny Lane

Other than its idyllic name, what makes Penny Lane special enough to have been paid tribute to by one of the world’s most iconic bands? As the story goes, Paul McCartney was sitting at a bus shelter waiting for John Lennon to meet him on Penny Lane – a main street close to the artists’ homes in Liverpool. McCartney took inspiration from the lively street and did what he does best – wrote a song! 

The song serves as a symbol of the artists’ lives in Liverpool, both individually and collectively, celebrating their upbringing and the time in their lives before they became international pop sensations and legends in their own right. Today, the area has become highly sought after not only by Liverpool’s large student population, who flock to the area to enjoy the array of cafes, bars, bistros and charity shops, but of course by The Beatles fans, who visit during guided tours and on individual pilgrimages in search of inspiration, nostalgia and memorabilia (the street signs themselves are a fan favourite, but more about that later).

The barber in the song “showing photographs of every head he’s had the pleasure to know” is, of course, long gone, but the shop continues to operate as a barbershop. The pretty nurse selling poppies for Remembrance Day was said to be Beth Davidson, who married Lennon’s childhood friend Pete Shotton. And while many of the references have long since changed, the shelter in the middle of the roundabout later became Sgt. Peppers Bistro, a popular restaurant that paid tribute to The Beatles but has also since closed.

The controversy of Penny Lane

In 2006, Penny Lane was almost Penny Lane no more. A proposal to rename a number of streets in Liverpool that were associated with Liverpool’s role in the 18th-century slave trade (serving as a stopover for slave ships travelling between Africa and the United States) was brought to the Liverpool city council. Penny Lane was thought by several historians to be related to James Penny, a slave ship owner and opponent to the abolition of the slave trade. 

The council, however, modified the proposal to exclude Penny Lane, as thanks to The Beatles, the street was more widely associated with the song, and held an iconic place in Liverpool’s history and an exceptionally positive association.

The alleged association to James Penny was proven unfounded by the city’s International Slavery Museum in 2020, in the wake of the June 2020 George Floyd protests, when no historical evidence was found linking the street’s name to James Penny in any way.

Fun facts about Penny Lane (the street and the song)

  • Penny Lane, in all its fame, has, unsurprisingly, been the target of street sign thefts by fans since the song was released in 1967. The constant tourist theft led City officials to eventually begin painting the name on buildings, rather than being displayed on traditional signs. This was practised up until 2007  – 40 years after the release of the song – when more theft-resistant street signs were installed. To this day, however, there are still signs being stolen on occasion.
  • The Beatles weren’t the only legends to have been associated with Penny Lane! Down from the bus shelter, Queen’s frontman, Freddie Mercury, was a resident at number 60 (now a pub called The Dovey)  in the late 60s! His stay was short-lived, but it certainly adds to Penny Lane’s claim to fame.
  • The song was a #1 hit in America but never reached the top spot in the UK. Instead, it spent three weeks at #2, behind Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Release Me”.
  • Kate Hudson received an Oscar for her role as a groupie named Penny Lane in the 2000 film Almost Famous.
  • The Beatles appeared for the first time ever with facial hair in the promotion of the Penny Lane single. The clip shows the band trotting on horseback around Angel Lane in London.
  • At one point in her life, Julia, Lennon’s mother, worked as a cinema usher on Penny Lane.
  • The famous barber from the song was identified as James Bioletti – he used to cut the hair of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison when they were younger!

Penny Lane online bingo

Now for the fun part! Whether you’ve had the pleasure of visiting Penny Lane or simply enjoy the song, you’ll be happy to know that our online bingo site hosts a legendary 1p bingo room, Penny Lane, where you can play 90-ball bingo for a penny a ticket! Not only is Penny Lane open 24/7, but you can purchase up to 120 1p bingo tickets in each game, making Penny Lane our best value bingo room.

As with all standard 90-ball bingo games, Penny Lane has three prizes up for grabs in each session; 1 line, 2 lines and full house. There are a number of incredible features too, including the Mega Ball Booster and Maxi Ball Booster jackpots, where a full house within a predetermined number of calls could see you winning a minimum of £10,000! The Penny Weekender also offers an attractive prize pot, making Penny Lane a good place to be at any time.

Play bingo at Penny Lane with Mecca Bingo

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