|Happy Fiftieth Birthday Mr Benn|
Pilgrims already starting to arrive at his birthplace to mark the occasion
Mr Benn is fifty this year. This means some fans of the cartoon character making the pilgrimage to his birthplace which is two adjoining terraced houses in Festing Road, West Putney. One where the author David McKee lived in the 1970s and next door where he placed his character Mr Benn.
He always drew the street as the start of the adventures but he felt that Festive was a more upbeat name for the road and lent itself less to being confused with “festering”.
The present owner of 54, Hugh Thompson who has lived there for 16 years is very well aware of the local heritage, not only has he organised a commemorative paving stone but had the local walkway named Festive. He also has prepared for the pilgrims a Mr Benn Loves You(MBLY) pack of photos, cartoons and a copy of a letter from David Mckee saying why he loved living in Festing Road.
Recently Fulham based sisters Laura and Karen Friend were spotted outside Mr Benn’s birthplace.
Laura said, “We grew up with the often repeated Mr Benn episodes on TV and love the dressing up, as fans the house has iconic meaning for us.
” We read about the anniversary so we thought we would make the pilgrimage. When a man came out of the house we thought he was going to tell us to bu**er off but he entertained us with history, news, art, photocopies and Mr Benn model. It made a lockdown Friday magical. Hugh Thompson puts a lot of care and joy into being custodian of the house that people of a certain age adore.”
March 16, 2021