The Beatles Penny Lane: Liverpool street sign stolen by drunk students in the 1970s finally returned

The Penny Lane street sign in Liverpool, made famous by The Beatles, was stolen by drunk students in 1976 but has finally been returned
The manager of The Beatles Story Mary Chadwick, with Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, holding a Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returned to Liverpool 47 years later which will go on display in The Beatles Story museum (Kevin Matthews/PA Wire)The manager of The Beatles Story Mary Chadwick, with Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, holding a Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returned to Liverpool 47 years later which will go on display in The Beatles Story museum (Kevin Matthews/PA Wire)
The manager of The Beatles Story Mary Chadwick, with Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, holding a Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returned to Liverpool 47 years later which will go on display in The Beatles Story museum (Kevin Matthews/PA Wire)

Almost half a century after being stolen, a Liverpool street sign made famous by The Beatles has been returned. The Penny Lane sign went missing 47 years ago after being pinched by drunk students. Earlier this year, The Beatles Story Museum was contacted by an anonymous former student who said he wanted to send the “totally pristine” sign back to the city. The man, who described the petty thieves as “worse for wear” when they stole the sign, said: “Because I am getting on a bit now, I want to return it to the Pool, where I spent six very happy years as a student, undergrad then postgrad, including meeting my wife of 44 years. Obviously, Liverpool is where the sign should now spend the rest of its days.”

The sign is not the only one to have been stolen from the road, in the Mossley Hill area of the city but museum bosses say it is the oldest one to be returned. Councillor Dan Barrington, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “The removal of street signs is a criminal offence which can lead to a prison sentence. However, given the history of this case and the fact this Penny Lane has got back to where it belongs after what looks like a long and winding journey, then I think we can all agree to just let it be.”

A Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returnedA Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returned
A Penny Lane street sign which was stolen by drunk students and has been returned

The sign is on display in the museum on Liverpool’s Albert Dock. Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “Penny Lane is so much more than a simple street that inspired a song all those years ago – it’s a music time capsule immortalised by those four boys who shook the world.

“But the true meaning of the song isn’t in the street name or sign – it’s the sights and characters that Paul McCartney recalled from his time growing up here. It’s the nurse, banker, fireman and barber who all brought the street to life – they are the real treasure of Penny Lane.

“That being said, it’s great to see something which holds so much significance finally returned to its rightful home after nearly half a century. Penny Lane is in our ears and in our eyes – and this time it’s for keeps.”

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