Wendy houses are by now a big part of South African culture. These roughly built wooden sheds are used for anything from garden sheds and doll houses to site offices and temporary housing (and even more permanent housing in some cases). With the cost of building increasing, it is more cost effective to buy a much cheaper wendy house. Wendy houses are increasingly a form of accommodation for low-income people. The structure is usually erected in someone’s backyard. Although many people may view this as temporary accommodation, many families have lived in such a structure for years. Among the more affluent population, wendy houses are used as entertainment huts, children’s playhouses, or for storage, and it is probably true that in many areas you won’t find a yard with at least one wendy house in the backyard.
Originally, a Wendy house or playhouse was 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.
The original was built for Wendy Darling in J. M. Barrie’s play, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Wendy was shot by the Lost Boy Tootles after arriving in Neverland, so Peter Pan and the Lost Boys built a small house around her where she had fallen. It was inspired by the wash-house behind Barrie’s childhood home in Kirriemuir and first appeared in story form in The Little White Bird in which fairies build a house around Mamie Mannering—the prototype for Wendy—so protecting her from the cold
Hundreds of companies build, buy and sell Wendy houses in South Africa.
Coming soon – a directory of manufacturers and distributors of Wendy Houses in South Africa