CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

♫ It’s time to put up blue plaques… ♫: Tribute plan at Jim Henson’s former home

Council asked to give building consent

01 April, 2021 — By Richard Osley

HIS instantly recognisable characters – a frog, a pig, and a…well what is Gonzo? – has charmed generations of fans and left an enduring claim to be history’s greatest puppeteer.

So a judging panel could hardly refuse the idea of erecting a plaque to mark the former home of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

The bid to add 50 Downshire Hill in Hampstead to English Heritage’s list of famous abodes has now been published on Camden’s planning website, as building consent is required.

Mr Henson lived at the property from 1979 when he threw a housewarming party that coincided with celebrations marking the success of The Muppet Movie – a first foray for Kermit and co onto the big screen.

The Henson Organisation also bought 1b Downshire Hill which became a puppet workshop – some of the magical creatures you see in Labyrinth, the fantasy movie starring David Bowie as The Goblin King, were made there.

Mr Henson, who died in 1990, split his time between New York and London. He had also lived at 12 Frognal Gardens in the 1970s.

“Henson evidently liked Hampstead – as a lousy cook, he was a great frequenter of restaurants locally,” English Heritage’s application said.

“Henson also spent time with friends and colleagues walking and picnicking on Hampstead Heath – the local rabbit population is said to have inspired the hand-puppet special The Tale Of The Bunny Picnic.” Council officials are reviewing how the plaque will be fixed to the wall.

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