Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Moat Brae House prospectus launched

Moat Brae © Copyright Darrin Antrobus

When I mentioned Moat Brae for the first time, way back in 2008 – Tourism opportunity missed, it was really to have a dig at the “50% by 2015% demand by the Scottish Government, which was their subtle request for the tourism industry to increase its turnover by 50% by 2015. The stick was there, but no apparent carrot to help meet the call.

Moat Brae, with its connection to Peter Pan and author JM Barrie seemed to be an ideal tourist trap (or magnet), but had been left to the vandals, with a quick search showing reports of damage dating back to 2003, and no real help to save the house, which might even have been looking at demolition if the damage and decay continued.

Since then, there has been a number of stories that suggested good news and the start of work to save and restore the house, but these always turn out not be the start of real work on the structure, but of plans.

When the name of Moat Brae bubbled up to the top of my news feeds this week, the wording suggested that work was about to start:

BBC News – Dumfries Peter Pan house project launched

But it turns out that its just another planning announcement and prospectus launch, and reveals that the trust looking after the house has yet to complete its purchase:

The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust is currently raising funds for the upgrade of the building and has secured Joanna Lumley as a patron for its plans.

She said: “I am so thrilled and proud to be here to launch these exciting plans for the future of Moat Brae House and garden.

“There is such wonderful potential to create a fantastic National Centre for Children’s Literature.

“I want to help raise the profile of this admirable project so that Peter Pan fans from all over the world can support this wonderful restoration.”

The house and garden were in private ownership between 1823 and 1914.

It subsequently became a nursing home which shut in 1997 and fell into disrepair.

A local housing association then bought the property and planned to turn it into a residential development.

However, a campaign was launched to stop those proposals and ownership of the building was transferred to the PPMBT for £1 in 2010 with the goal of creating an “attraction of international significance”.

The group is now launching its prospectus with its vision for the historic site which Barrie described as an “enchanted land” which was “certainly the genesis” of Peter Pan.

The trust’s first goal is to raise £750,000 to fund the agreed final purchase price of the building and undertake urgent repair works.

While I like to think I am a realist, and understand how long these projects can take, I hadn’t thought I’d begin to wonder if I would still be writing this Blog by the time the house was opened.

Nor am I criticising the trust – hats off to the members for perseverance.

However, I think those (at the Beeb) responsible for writing the leader for the articles might want to keep the headline a bit closer to reality.


Just after the prospectus was launched, Historic Scotland granted the project £250,000 towards emergency repairs to secure the property from further decay, but this still leaves it short of the £615,000 being sought to complete the these repairs alone.

Urgent repairs funding has been awarded to the house which inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan after playing in its gardens as a child.

A grant of £250,000 is being given by Historic Scotland to help restore the Moat Brae building in Dumfries.

Development director Cathy Agnew said the funds would help in its goal of raising £615,000 before the end of the year to carry out emergency work.

She said it would let the trust take the “first steps to deliver this project and save Moat Brae”.

BBC News – Dumfries Peter Pan house project secures repairs funds

Another update

Busy time down in Dumfries, and following the above stories there was yet another, as Joanna Lumley – already noted as a patron of the Moat Brae House project – unveiled a statue of Peter Pan at the entrance to the town:

The Peter Pan statue was provided by the action group, the People’s Project, which is working to improve the appearance and reputation of Dumfries.

Ms Lumley said she was amazed at the work which had gone into the wood-carving.

“I absolutely love it – I am so impressed that it is all made out of one enormous spruce tree trunk,” she said.

“It is absolutely enchanting and it is standing outside the garden centre so everybody who is driving past on the road can see it.”

BBC News – Joanna Lumley unveils Dumfries Peter Pan statue

Yet another update

There must be a regular traffic jam in Dumfries these days, as I just spotted news that the people from the Buildings at Risk register have been there for a look as well, and updated the entry for Moat Brae House:

Moat Brae House, SCT Ref No 2215, Dumfries and Galloway

2013 – Still updating

Five years on from first noticing Moat House, and this is still Work in Progress.

A land deal has been agreed towards plans to create a national centre for children’s literature in a house that helped to inspire the Peter Pan story.

Dumfries and Galloway Council approved plans to transfer ground it owns near Moat Brae for just £1.

It will allow the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust to take forward its overhaul of the Dumfries building.

Work is currently getting under way to begin the restoration of the house where JM Barrie played as a child.

It is now owned by the PPMBT (Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust), which is spearheading a £4m scheme to restore and redevelop Moat Brae as Scotland’s first Centre for Children’s Literature.

Dumfries Peter Pan house project secures £1 land deal


Aug 2, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment


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