The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust has been awarded a major grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver its plans for a Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling at Moat Brae – the Birthplace of Peter Pan – in Dumfries (Scotland). Peter Pan author JM Barrie has suggested that the tale of the boy who never grew up was conceived on the estate where he enjoyed playing pirates as a child. An extraordinary effort by local people and generous partner organisations has saved Moat Brae from destruction. Now the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust is restoring the derelict shell and plans to develop it as a centre for children’s literature, re-inventing the garden for play and active learning. The house will be returned to its rightful place as a landmark attraction in Dumfries – and a new generation of children will be free to explore a magical landscape in the footsteps of Peter Pan. The HLF Capital Grant of £1.78m comes hot on the heels of last month’s award of £687,500 from Creative Scotland and means the Trust is now well on the way to raising the £5m needed to create a major new visitor attraction at Moat Brae House and gardens.
Announcing the award, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Moat Brae and its gardens have an important place in the history of Dumfries. A new breath of life has the potential to transform them into a visitor attraction that could boost the town’s tourist economy and inspire children today and tomorrow, as they once inspired JM Barrie. We are delighted to be able to support this ambitious and inspirational project.”
The Trust’s patron, Joanna Lumley, greeted the news, saying: “These grants will make a sensational difference to Moat Brae and the plans for the future of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust. It means that we can now move swiftly towards our goals of restoring the house and garden in readiness for its role in the literary life of children in Scotland. Our aims are to nurture the memories of past writers and to encourage the emergence of new young talent: to respect our extraordinary literary inheritance and to enable children’s imaginations to fly, like Peter Pan.”