Let’s escape to one of England’s Wendy Houses.
What’s a Wendy House, right?
According to Wikipedia, “A Wendy house or playhouse is a small house for children, large enough for one or more children to enter. Size and solidity can vary from a plastic kit to something resembling a real house in a child’s size. Usually there is one room, a doorway with a window on either side, and little or no furniture other than that which the children improvise.”
Something, oh, like this little dandy on the grounds of Mona Vale, a historic homestead in Christchurch, New Zealand:
Such a playhouse would suit any young Wendy … or Jane, as the case may be.
The original “Wendy House” was, as you might have guessed, built for Wendy Darling in J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play, Peter Pan. When Wendy was shot by one of the Lost Boys, Peter and the boys built a small house around her body, attempting to construct the cottage that their beloved Wendy had once wished for:
“I wish I had a darling house
The littlest ever seen,
With funny little red walls
And roof of mossy green.”
But, just as Peter Pan refused to grow up, even “big girls” hold fast to dreams of dwelling in a cottage like Wendy’s. How can we resist? The temptation is particularly irresistible in the face of houses such as these …
That’s beguiling brick Marycot at Chartwell, constructed for Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter, Mary. Below is a whimsical Wendy House on the grounds of Eaton Hall in Cheshire, England.
I think my favorite may be the marvelous Mawley Hall Wendy House in Shropshire, a wooden model of the estate’s summer house, built in the 1970s. It stands about 6 feet tall and contains scaled-down furnishings for little lords and ladies.
Last on our tour through Neverland is “Y Bwthyn Bach” (The Little Cottage) at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, given to the queen on her sixth birthday in 1932 “on behalf of the people of Wales” and renovated within the past few years by Princess Beatrice.
Lucky for us, the video below gives a precious peek inside (!) the queen’s cottage:
Now, if we could just find some of that “Drink Me” potion that shrunk Alice to miniature size …
But (sigh) they probably only have that in Wonderland.