Forget that most people probably didn’t spend summer holidays at Frinton, ( v. exclusive Essex resort ) where my family would be huddled in a beach hut on wet August afternoons while the kettle boiled on the primus stove and the wasps hovered over the jam doughnuts. Waiting for the summer thunder storms to pass, we would play Happy Families.
This was first published before the Great Exhibition of 1851. Eleven families, Bun the Baker, Bones the Butcher, Block the Barber, Grits the Grocer, Pots the Painter, Bung the Brewer, Chip the Carpenter, Tape the Tailor, Soot the Sweep and Dip the Dye. Four members of each family Mr / Mrs / Miss and Master. Mr Bun the Baker, Mrs Bun the Baker’s Wife, Miss Bun the Baker’s Daughter and Master Bun the Baker’s Son.
The characters were illustrated by Sir John Tenniel, famous for Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass.
AA Milne’s ‘ Winnie the Pooh’ books also have a good set of characters Pooh, Kanga and Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger etc. Everyone knows an Eeyore and a Piglet . Then there’s the Little Grey Rabbit books with Squirrel (flighty), Hare (selfish) and the very good Little Rabbit who does all the cooking and housekeeping for the other two. Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland also have characters we all recognise from our own friends and family.
Fascinating subject – I’m sure someone’s written a book about this ………. and I haven’t got round to mentioning Beatrix Potter.