Page 31. " Wendy Moira Angela Darling "
Wendy Darling Mends Clothes in the Underground Home
Public DomainWendy Darling Mends Clothes in the Underground Home - Credit: Oliver Hertford

J.M. Barrie has often been credited with inventing the name Wendy.  Supposedly it derives from a young girl called Margaret Henley, who liked to call Barrie "Friendy" but had difficulty pronouncing the R. As a result, "Friendy" became "Fwendy" and ultimately Wendy.

The truth is not quite so straightforward.  Some historians claim the name was in use long before Peter Pan was published, and is Welsh in origin.

Doctor of Folklore Leslie Ellen Jones Ph.D. says on the History of Wendy:

"If Wendy is derived from a Welsh name, my candidate would be Gwendydd (pronounced Gwen-deethe, "white day"), which was the name of Myrddin (Merlin)'s sister (as in the poem Ymddiddan Myrddin a Gwendydd ei Chwaer). Barrie's "Wendy" was invented at a time when ancient Welsh names were becoming popular again, as an expression of intellectual nationalism."

There is also a suggestion on the same site that Wendy may have been a boy's name:

"I must admit to being annoyed when I tell people my name. They always insist on mentioning Peter Pan. During my family reseach I have come across the name Wendy twice in the 1881 census of England, one born 1840, and one born in 1880. The magazine Family History also states that Wendy, along with the names Marian and Shirley were once boys' names, and that in 1797 a boy named Wendy was apprenticed to some one in Glos."

Barrie certainly boosted the popularity of the name. According to Baby Names Hub, "Records indicate that at least 257,512 girls have been named Wendy since 1880 in the United States." In the UK, says Baby Names, the name peaked in the 1960s and has been in decline ever since.

Page 33. " She got out her house-wife "

"House-wife" was the term used to describe a personal sewing kit. A larger version of a house-wife was used by soldiers in WWI and held additional items such as a shaving kit and other toiletries.



Page 36. " He sometimes had to give them a hiding "
A Child Wearing a Dunce Cap in the Classroom
Public DomainA Child Wearing a Dunce Cap in the Classroom - Credit: New York : Underwood & Underwood, publishers
In Victorian England, the expression "Spare the rod and spoil the child" was taken quite literally. Drawing attention to oneself was not recommended unless one had a cast iron constitution. For naughty children, there was no refuge; they were disciplined both at home and school. 

In the 19th century, children could be switched by a birch branch, twitched by a cane, pummeled by the paddle or terrorized with a tawse (leather strap). But corporal punishment was viewed as only one half of the solution. The second half of the game was shame. The Victorian era was notorious for embarrassing their children into acceptable behavior or better performance. If a child chose not to do well in school, or was simply behind the learning curve, he was forced to wear a cap bearing the word, "Dunce."


A Cane was Often Used for Corporal Punishment in a Victorian School
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA Cane was Often Used for Corporal Punishment in a Victorian School - Credit: llamnudds