South Scotland

Dumfries Peter Pan house project launched

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Media captionScotland's first Centre for Children's literature is to be created at the house reputed to have inspired the story of Peter Pan

Ambitious plans are being unveiled to turn the house which inspired the story of Peter Pan into a Scottish centre for children's literature.

It is hoped the Moat Brae scheme in Dumfries can be completed by 2015.

Author JM Barrie played in the grounds of the building as a child but the property has fallen into disrepair.

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.

A second phase of marketing to generate financial support is planned for next year and will be aimed at the "national and international audience" for Peter Pan.

"What we want Moat Brae to become is Scotland's first centre for children's literature," said project development director Cathy Agnew.

She said the trust had been working closely with the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, Seven Stories in Newcastle, the Scottish Book Trust and the Wigtown Book Festival to develop the plans.

She said the centre could become a place to celebrate children's stories and "their history, their heritage and their past".

"It is a very fitting legacy for JM Barrie - this was his enchanted land which was the genesis for his character of Peter Pan," she added.

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