House that inspired Peter Pan wins restoration cash

Moat Brae House is the subject of a 4m fundraising campaign. Picture: Allan Milligan
Moat Brae House is the subject of a 4m fundraising campaign. Picture: Allan Milligan
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THE Georgian townhouse that inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan is to receive a £300,000 restoration grant.

Moat Brae House, in Dumfries, is one of five historic buildings that will share £1.7 million as part of Historic Scotland’s building repair grant scheme.

The scheme, which supports reuse and renovation of buildings, will also see funds directed at a castle in Kilmarnock, a Gothic mansion in Shetland and a harbour that defended Scotland from American privateers.

Category B listed Moat Brae House, the inspiration behind JM Barrie’s children’s classic Peter Pan, will receive more than £300,000 towards its continued redevelopment. The Greek Revival villa was designed by Walter Newall and built in 1823.

JM Barrie played in the house and garden as a child, and later credited them as the inspiration of his most famous work.


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In 2009 the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was set up to save it from demolition and develop the house and garden as Scotland’s first Centre for Children’s Literature.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, said “One of the key elements of the historic environment strategy ‘Our Place in Time’ is that we work with partners to help to conserve and promote our built heritage, so it can be enjoyed by current and future generations, and schemes such as this are an important way of helping to achieving this.”

The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust’s £4m fundraising campaign was launched in August 2011 by Joanna Lumley.

The actress said: “It’s where JM Barrie stayed as a boy when he went to the school, Dumfries Academy, just next door, and it’s central to the part, not only of Dumfries and Scotland of course, but of children’s fairy stories.

“I don’t think anything has hit us quite as hard as Peter Pan until Harry Potter came along.”

The other recipients are Dean Castle in Kilmarnock, a category A listed medieval castle awarded £500,000 to carry out urgent repairs, including making the castle watertight and repairing fallen masonry.

The Battery on Lamer Island, Dunbar, has been awarded £56,344 towards comprehensive repairs that will improve public access. The Battery was built in 1781 in response to attempted attacks by American privateers, including Scottish-born John Paul Jones, who appeared at the head of a French squadron of ships off Dunbar harbour.

The Dunbar Harbour Trust is turning the Battery and harbour into an adaptive community space that can be used for education, entertainment or leisure.

Shetland’s most unusual building, Brough Lodge, is being transformed into a mixed-use commercial venue that will bring people to the island of Fetlar for arts and environmental courses and retreats, as well as offering short-stay holiday accommodation.

The Gothic mansion with Moorish influences will receive over £460,000 to complete all repairs and begin welcoming tourists to the island, which has a population of 61.

Cambo Stables, near St Andrews, in Fife, will receive £280,000 towards repairing its 19th century stable block that will provide visitor and educational facilities for the venue, while creating jobs for skilled craftspeople.

And Kirkhaven Hall, a category A listed former church hall in Glasgow’s East End, has been awarded over £112,000.