Men of the British Isles…and Their Sheds

We visited a kindly Irish couple and their three children today, and the father of the house showed me the spot in the backyard where he will build what he most needs: A shed. The garden shed has a place in the emotional life of the men of these Isles that is a bit difficult for outsiders to understand. There are even physical health promotion and mental health programmes that specifically target otherwise hard-to-reach men where they are, i.e., in their sheds.

I suppose the American parallel is the “man cave”, a work room, dark room, spare room, den or the like inside the home. As they immigrated from the UK to the US, perhaps men discovered that the houses were bigger in the latter, and one could therefore “move the shed inside”, so to speak.

Can a man have too many sheds? Consider the risks:

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

3 thoughts on “Men of the British Isles…and Their Sheds”

  1. Tending my fruit, tending my fruit
    Ah you’ve got to have a hobby
    A man must have a shed to keep him sane

    XTC, “Fruit nut”

  2. Inventor Emily Cummins, on her shed. Virginia Woolf of course thought you needed a room of one’s own, but AFAIK she said nothing about sheds. Clearly this is an example of C.P. Snow’s two cultures. You may write a book in a room of one’s own, but to invent something you need a shed.

Comments are closed.