The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust has been awarded a grant of £1.78m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver its plans for a Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling at Moat Brae.
Peter Pan author J M Barrie played in Moat Brae in Dumfries as a child and later said that these games inspired his famous children’s tale. The Scottish book industry has previously spoken to The Bookseller in support of the proposed new centre.
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 Heritage Lottery Fund Round 2 Capital Grant of £1.78m follows an award of £687,500 from Creative Scotland last month. The Trust needs £5m overall to fulfill its plans.
Joanna Lumley, who is the Trust’s patron, said: "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."
Project director Cathy Agnew said: “To have this level of support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, in addition to the recent awards from Creative Scotland, is a real vote of confidence in our ability and capacity to deliver the whole project. Our plans are now well on their way to being realised. We aim to start on site next autumn and to open in 2017.”
She added: “We will continue to build bridges and partnerships with a number of national organisations who will want to play their part in the successful future of Moat Brae by delivering quality activities and opportunities.”
Planning permission and Listed Building Consent have recently been granted to the Trust, which has produced designs for the final development of Moat Brae House and gardens with LDN Architects. These include exhibition space within the existing building and two new extensions on either side of the property; one to house visitor facilities including a shop and a café, and the other to provide a Learning and Education Suite.