Category:Princess Elizabeth's Little House

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

Princess Elizabeth's Little House is a children's playhouse that was presented to Princess Elizabeth on her sixth birthday by the people of Wales, in 1932.

Officially named Y Bwthyn Bach (The Little House in Welsh), the 24-foor-wide playhouse is a working scaled-down "Wendy House" based on the design of a traditional two-storey Welsh cottage, and was the private playspace of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, with a "no adults allowed" rule.

From the point of view of the Royal Family, the house let the princesses play at being normal people with a normal house, and gave them fond experiences of living in something other than a grand stately home or a palace. From the point of view of the Welsh craftspeople who created the house, it would help the princesses to think fondly of Wales (which was a region of high unemployment) if they ever came into a position of power and influence – which in the case of Princess Elizabeth turned out to be a surprisingly good bet, as a short succession of surprisingly brief reigns (including one abdication) resulted in her becoming Queen Elizabeth II.

The house was designed by Edmund Willmott and built from spare materials left over from the building of a hospital. It was initially shown at the Daily Mail's Ideal Home Exhibition (after frantic re-thatching and rebuilding work prompted by a fire en route), and was then installed in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor.

Merchandising

We know of two commercial products that were inspired by the Little House:

  • Lines Brothers (Tri-ang) made quite a range of dollhouses between the Wars, and produced two dollhouse versions of the Little House, Princess Elizabeth's Dolls' House, catalogue numbers 3146 and 3147. The museum has an example of 3146 on display up high in Arch Two.
  • Dean's Rag Book Company produced a range of cloth and card cutout kits and sets, and launched a printed card make-your-own kit of Princess Eliabeth's Little House as a cutout book in April 1939. The book was later relaunched by Deans in 1953 with the ascension of Elizabeth to the throne as Queen Elizabeth the Second, as the Queen Elizabeth's Little House cutout book.

External links

The original "Little House"

The Lines Brothers dollhouse

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