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Thread: Slavery Streets

  1. #61
    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    It is more likely that rather than 'civic fathers' naming the street after James Penny that Penny owned the land and laid out the street.


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    A landowner could approach them and say 'i'd like to build a street here on my land, ok?' and the council rarely said no. The council even sometimes asked private men to build streets.

    See here for the earliest referece I can find on Parr Street (from 1780):

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    The age of the lease is expressed as 'three good lives and twenty-one years'.

    That would cover yourself, your son or daughter, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren....but only up to their 21st birthday!
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    I wonder... what's the earliest map that shows the thoroughfare as "Penny Lane"? I would trust Taffy, as a local expert, to know if it the road was definitely named for James Penny but he has indicated that he doesn't have information to that effect. As I recall, the housing on Penny Lane is probably Victorian, as is the railway bridge. Before the coming of the railways it was likely to have been a country lane... was it called Penny Lane back then or something else?

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    I can confirm that 'Penny Lane' is recorded on the Lancashire & Furness map of 1850/51.

    Properties called 'Oakfield, 'Grove House' and 'Grove Cottage' are the only housing indicated. The railway, and railway bridge are also indicated. The rest is farmland.

    I can't publish the map here, as it's copywrite protected.
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    For some reason 'Three Good Lives and Twenty-One Years' was the standard Liverpool lease. Other towns had their own particular standards.

    Penny "Lane" suggests that it was not intended by Penny to be a residential street when it was named. Lanes tend to be thoroughfares in the most literal sense of the word. For instance Cromptons Lane was named after Peter Crompton who owned Eton House (nowadays Bishop Eton). It was the lane that led to his dwelling.

    Penny lane must have been named before 1800 as James Penny died circa 1799.

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    Was it ever defined numerically what 'Three Good Lives and Twenty-One Years' amounted to? Or was that not the point here? As lives are variable, so to are the leases?


    Do we know the name of Penny's house?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    I think (although I do not have the book I read it in to hand) that they used the biblical 'threescore and ten' to mean a lifetime. That would be about 70 years perhaps? So altogether that would be 231 years I think.

    Penny lived in numerous places, but I can't find any reference to a mansion house as such. Towards the end of his life I think he was living at Mount Pleasant.

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Very interesting, thanks. There must have been a shift between thinking in terms of natural cycles - sunrise, sunset, life and death, three good lives [and 21 years] and increased use of linear abstractions...numbers and clock-time. The day's measured. Noon in Liverpool was always different than noon in London, until the railways regularised them. I guess the shift from agriculture to industry in the cities.

    Penny - ok thanks.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fortinian View Post
    I think (although I do not have the book I read it in to hand) that they used the biblical 'threescore and ten' to mean a lifetime. That would be about 70 years perhaps? So altogether that would be 231 years I think.

    Penny lived in numerous places, but I can't find any reference to a mansion house as such. Towards the end of his life I think he was living at Mount Pleasant.
    Information from the Liverpool Record Office and Local History Service places James Penny at a number of downtown locations:

    "James Penny is listed in the available Gore's Directory of Liverpool for the period as follows:
    1772, 1773 Capt. Penny, Church Street
    1774 Captain Penny No. 18, Old Church Yard
    1777 Capt. James Penny, 18 Church Street
    1781 James Penny, merchant
    1787 James Penny, merchant, Ranelagh Street
    1790 James Penny, merchant, Hope Street, Martindale Hill
    1796 James Penny, merchant, 2 Hope Street, Mount Pleasant Street
    James Penny, Junior, merchant, is also listed at this last address."

    He appears to have come originally from Ulverston in the Lake District. The family appears to have retained connections to the Ulverston area as well.

    "The burial register of St. James, Toxteth, 1790-1799, gives the date of death for 'James Penny, Mercht. Agd. 58 yrs' as 26th August 1799 and the date of burial as 29th August. James Gibson Epitaphs... in Liverpool Churches..., Vol. 3, p. 201, gives his date of death as 27th August 1799 and the death of his eldest son, James, as 7th August 1820, aged 47 years."

    Conceivably it is this Toxteth connection that might imply a link with Penny Lane, the land where Penny Lane is located (running from Greenbank Road to Smithdown Place) being, I should think, within the limits of Toxteth Park. That might imply that Penny Lane might owe its name to his son rather than the Liverpool merchant involved in the slave trade, and who for defending that trade was honored by the Corporation of Liverpool. The other alternative might be that, if the thoroughfare is indeed named for the merchant, someone named it after him because of his work as an anti-abolitionist.

    If it is not possible to establish a link between James Penny and Penny Lane, could it be that the connection is more traditional rather than factual, i.e., just be a coincidence of names? What's the true story?

    In his Street Names of Liverpool (Countryvise Press, 2002), Steve Horton evidently does not feel comfortable enough to attribute the name "Penny Lane" to a connection with merchant James Penny as he does with other such streets such as Bold Street, Bold Place, and Tarleton Street which have clear connections to families involved in the African trade, as he discusses on pp. 9-11 of his book in a section entitled "The Slave Traders of Liverpool".

    By contrast, he does attribute Greenbank Drive, Greenbank Lane, Greenbank Road as well as Rathbone Road in Wavertree to their origin with the anti-slavery Rathbone family whose mansion was Greenbank House, ironically (though the author doesn't say it!) located near the western end of Penny Lane, in a section titled "Liverpool's Slavery Abolitionists" on p. 12 of the book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    The age of the lease is expressed as 'three good lives and twenty-one years'.

    That would cover yourself, your son or daughter, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren....but only up to their 21st birthday!
    Are you sure it included the great grandchildren as wouldn't that be four good lives (if your own was counted)?
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    Very perceptive and thorough CG. Penny Lane could have been named after Pennys death by his son... or indeed named after his son. For example:

    Lots of people will tell you that Edward Falkner laid out Falkner Square and named it after himself. He certainly began building the square and wanted to name it Waterloo Square but he died half way through building, so his son (confusingly) Edward Deane Falkner completed it and asked the town council if he could re-name it in honour of his late father.

  12. #72
    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    This line, from a poem, is inscribed in wood at the site of St Thomas' Church, Park Lane:
    "Penny Lane, Slavery Shame"
    The poem has several other 'witty' rhymes about Liverpool life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fortinian View Post
    Very perceptive and thorough CG. Penny Lane could have been named after Pennys death by his son... or indeed named after his son. For example:

    Lots of people will tell you that Edward Falkner laid out Falkner Square and named it after himself. He certainly began building the square and wanted to name it Waterloo Square but he died half way through building, so his son (confusingly) Edward Deane Falkner completed it and asked the town council if he could re-name it in honour of his late father.
    Hi Fortinian

    As you say, Penny Lane, if it is named for a member of the Penny family, might not be named for the merchant but for his son, as per the example of Falkner Square being named for the son of Edward Falkner and not the father as many assume.

    I do note that the lane, though undesignated, appears on the 1765 map of Toxteth Park listed as being in the possession of the Earl of Sefton in Robert Griffiths' History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth (1907) on pages 14-15 though in very miniscule detail making it hard to make out the wording. At that time, there were just fields on either side of the road, one of them on the northwest side of the road midway between Greenbank Road and Smithdown Place being labeled "Dove Hey" I discovered on enlarging the map -- presumably the origin of the name "Dovedale Road". A similar map of about the same time can be seen opposite page 112 in Ramsay Muir's A History of Liverpool (1907) available on Google Books.

    Chris

    ---------- Post added at 02:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:42 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by marky View Post
    This line, from a poem, is inscribed in wood at the site of St Thomas' Church, Park Lane:
    "Penny Lane, Slavery Shame"
    The poem has several other 'witty' rhymes about Liverpool life.
    Thanks, Marky. I assume that the poem is recent though, not old, is that right?

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post

    I do note that the lane, though undesignated, appears on the 1765 map of Toxteth Park listed as being in the possession of the Earl of Sefton in Robert Griffiths' History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth (1907) on pages 14-15 though in very miniscule detail making it hard to make out the wording.
    A slightly larger version of the map [LRO].

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Toxteth Pk 1765.jpg 
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    Daz
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    Yep. That's it. Thanks, Daz. I am assuming then that what we know as Penny Lane is actually an old country lane, and would have been there even before James Penny came to Liverpool from Ulverston. The question then is whether it was named "Penny Lane" before he came to the city, which would negate the claim that the road is named after him.

    Chris
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  16. #76
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    The poem that includes "Penny Lane, Slavery Shame" was installed several months ago, together with a replica of the Liverbird from the Sailors Home.
    Located here on Google Streetview, still showing the remains of the church wall:
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...,41.7,,0,-1.44
    It caught my eye as the author has linked the street to slavery. This is one of the few mentions of slavery I've noticed on the streets of Liverpool.
    St James Church and Penny Lane are at opposite ends of the boundary of Toxteth Park. Half of Penny Lane (the Northern side) from Smithdown Place and everything from the railway bridge are within Toxteth.
    None of the later addresses mentioned for Mr. Penny would fall within the Parish of St. James.
    Last edited by marky; 12-01-2010 at 10:28 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by marky View Post
    The poem that includes "Penny Lane, Slavery Shame" was installed several months ago, together with a replica of the Liverbird from the Sailors Home.
    Loacated here on Google Streetview, still showing the remains of the church wall:
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...,41.7,,0,-1.44
    It caught my eye as the author has linked the street to slavery. This is one of the few mentions of slavery I've noticed on the streets of Liverpool.
    St James Church and Penny Lane are at opposite ends of the boundary of Toxteth Park. Half of Penny Lane (the Northern side) from Smithdown Place and everything from the railway bridge are within Toxteth.
    None of the later addresses mentioned for Mr. Penny would fall within the Parish of St. James.
    Thanks for this information, Marky. Yes I certainly agree that the downtown addresses that are listed for Penny would not have fallen within the Parish of St. James. Still, it's conceivable that as a wealthy merchant, he or his heirs could have purchased or inherited property in the area of Penny Lane. I am just trying to explore the possibility though that the idea that "Penny Lane" was named for James Penny might be a belief that somehow grew up without any foundation in fact. If the street is in fact named for James Penny well so be it... just as Tarleton Street off Church Street is named after the slave-trading Tarleton family (and I have written about and lectured on General Sir Banastre Tarleton in the past) but I would like to see verification that Penny Lane is named for James Penny or his family.

    Cheers

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Yep. That's it. Thanks, Daz. I am assuming then that what we know as Penny Lane is actually an old country lane, and would have been there even before James Penny came to Liverpool from Ulverston. The question then is whether it was named "Penny Lane" before he came to the city, which would negate the claim that the road is named after him.

    Chris
    Hi Chris,

    Penny Lane is just inside the boundary of Toxteth Park. It's not very long and leads to Greenbank, the home of the Rathbones. It's not a through lane, like, for example Ullet Lane. I'm guessing that it's no older than the Greenbank estate.

    The association with James Penny may have been posthumously awarded, if it does indeed have anything to do with him? It looks like the family have no connection to the area though.

    Daz
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    CG and Daz... I think the same thought has occured to us all.

    Earliest online newspaper ref I can find to Penny Lane is the sale of "Grove House" in 1852. Its listed as "GROVE HOUSE, situated in Penny Lane, Green-Bank near Wavertree".

    Interestingly in 1872, Joseph Boult of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society in a (very long-winded and opinionated) essay entitled: 'Gleanings in the early history of Liverpool and the neighbourhood', states that:

    "The names of Penny Lane and Penketh
    bear testimony to conflict, pinn-nidh, pinn-keit, both
    signifying battle-hill. The names of Penketh and Penny
    are of firequent occurrence on the ordnance survey. In this
    neighbourhood, at the junction of Penny Lane and Smith-
    down Road, are two fields, which, on Lord Sefion's
    map, circa 1764, bear the name of Higher Smetham
    Hey, and Smetham Croft, which are derived from the
    hamlet a certain poor man, Bohert de Smethdon, son of
    Thurstan, was obliged to surrender to King John, in
    exchange for Thingwall, the site of another local court."

    Whilst it is possible that Boult is right about Penny Lane he is almost certainly wrong about the origin of Smithdown (Smetham/don) as this was in the earliest records 'Esmedune'.

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    I didn't find Penny Lane on the 1841 Census here:
    http://www.liverpool-genealogy.org.u...41ST-IND-P.htm
    But, it is listed as PENNIES Lane:
    PENNIES LANE, PENNIES GROVE COTTAGE 511 WAVERTREE 10 04
    The above address is on the South side of Penny Lane and therefore is correctly recorded as Wavertree

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    Quote Originally Posted by marky View Post
    I didn't find Penny Lane on the 1841 Census here:
    http://www.liverpool-genealogy.org.u...41ST-IND-P.htm
    But, it is listed as PENNIES Lane:
    PENNIES LANE, PENNIES GROVE COTTAGE 511 WAVERTREE 10 04
    The above address is on the South side of Penny Lane and therefore is correctly recorded as Wavertree
    Hi Marky and Fortinian

    I think the 1841 listings of "PENNIES LANE" and "PENNIES GROVE COTTAGE" is potentially valuable and might indicate that the name of the lane has nothing to do with James Penny, the merchant. It could be that someone nearer our day thought that the street is named for James Penny and it is not. It also does though occur to me that there might be a connection between the designation "Penketh" and the name of the lane, conceivably. Could the road have once been known as Penketh Lane? I do know that Penketh Hall stood near the junction of Smithdown Road and Greenbank Road (Robert Griffiths, The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth, Liverpool, 1907, p. 148).

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    There is a PDF file for some of the slavery streets (click top-right on this page)@
    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...ead-the-signs/

    It's quite possible Pennies is Penny but has just been written down as heard rather than correctly spelt.
    I checked the 'street directory' section of Gore's Liverpool Directory, 1825...NO Penny Lane or any variant listed. EDIT: It's absence accounted for by the fact the directory doesn't cover the area this far out from town, though some Toxteth Park addresses are included.
    http://www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/index.asp
    Last edited by marky; 12-03-2010 at 12:07 AM. Reason: amended directory information.

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    Good find Marky, i'm sure you've noticed that Penny Lane isn't included in the English Heritage List. I think they have done the research we are doing and cannot find any positive link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    The other alternative might be that, if the thoroughfare is indeed named for the merchant, someone named it after him because of his work as an anti-abolitionist.

    By contrast, he does attribute Greenbank Drive, Greenbank Lane, Greenbank Road as well as Rathbone Road in Wavertree to their origin with the anti-slavery Rathbone family whose mansion was Greenbank House, ironically (though the author doesn't say it!) located near the western end of Penny Lane...
    Chris
    I would be interested to learn whether Penny Lane was actually part of the Greenbank estate of the Rathbones, given their pro-abolitionist stance? If the land was held by another, then that could support a naming just to spite the family?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    I would be interested to learn whether Penny Lane was actually part of the Greenbank estate of the Rathbones, given their pro-abolitionist stance? If the land was held by another, then that could support a naming just to spite the family?
    Hi Daz

    That sounds a bit unlikely to me, Daz. These people might have been political opponents, and felt passionately about their beliefs, but it was a gentlemanly time with a code of honor even between opponents. It would seem to me that to put the name of a man associated with slavery on the Rathbones' doorstep to spite them doesn't seem likely.

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    Cumbria produced a booklet that states:
    "James Penny (1741- 99) was born at Egton-cum-Newland in Furness"
    HTML
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=uk
    PDF
    http://www.creative-partnerships.com...-lowres-34.pdf
    He was honoured with the Freedom of the borough of Liverpool:
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a...87md62&cid=0#0

    I'd have thought definite proof of a link would be all over the internet by now. Maybe the International Slavery Museum have proof.

    Here's a street missing from the slavery streets list shown in post No.45:
    "Crow St. made in 1809 was named after Captain Hugh Crow, the most famous of the Privateer & Slave trade Captains" (source: 240 Years On, A short history of R. S. Clare, pub. 1988).
    Crow Street still exists, together with street-signs at each end, but as it's now within the factory complex it is a 'forgotten street'. I wonder how many other slave streets have been lost.
    Crow Street, Google Streetview:
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...89.16,,1,-0.99

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Hi Daz

    That sounds a bit unlikely to me, Daz. These people might have been political opponents, and felt passionately about their beliefs, but it was a gentlemanly time with a code of honor even between opponents. It would seem to me that to put the name of a man associated with slavery on the Rathbones' doorstep to spite them doesn't seem likely.

    Chris
    Hi Chris,

    Yes, if a neighbour had actually gone ahead and done it, it would've led to a duel no doubt...insulting a man's honour like that [decorum between gentlemen]. Still you have to admit it is a bizarre coincidence given the individuals mentioned and their opposing stance on the slave trade.

    I will be swayed by sound argument and good reason nevertheless.

    Cheers,

    Daz

    PS - is there a date for Roscoe's poem featuring Penny Lane?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Hi Daz

    Roscoe wrote a poem that mentions Penny Lane???? I don't think so. He has a poem titled "Mount Pleasant." As far as I know he wrote no poem that references Penny Lane.

    All the best

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by marky View Post
    Here's a street missing from the slavery streets list shown in post No.45:
    "Crow St. made in 1809 was named after Captain Hugh Crow, the most famous of the Privateer & Slave trade Captains" (source: 240 Years On, A short history of R. S. Clare, pub. 1988).
    Marky they probably turned a blind eye on this one. Captain Hugh Crow was known as "Mind your eye, Crow" on account of him losing his right eye as a child.

    ---------- Post added at 08:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:15 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Hi Daz

    Roscoe wrote a poem that mentions Penny Lane???? I don't think so. He has a poem titled "Mount Pleasant." As far as I know he wrote no poem that references Penny Lane.

    All the best

    Chris
    My mistake...I re-read Marky's original post 'Penny Lane, Liverpool shame' and thought it had something to do with Roscoe?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Hi Daz

    Roscoe wrote a poem that mentions Penny Lane???? I don't think so. He has a poem titled "Mount Pleasant." As far as I know he wrote no poem that references Penny Lane.

    All the best

    Chris

    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post

    My mistake...I re-read Marky's original post 'Penny Lane, Liverpool shame' and thought it had something to do with Roscoe?
    No. As I say I think that is probably a recent poem based on what I assume is the equally recent view that Penny Lane must be named for slave captain and merchant James Penny but that, as we have been discussing, might actually be mistaken if we can't find any documentation that the naming of the road was for Penny.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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