Joanna Lumley Launches £100,000 appeal to help save the house that inspired Peter Pan

By Richard Moss | 25 September 2013

She stepped in to help the Ghurkhas, now actress Joanna Lumley is backing a campaign to save the house that inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan.

a photo of Joanna Lumley with two little girls dressed as fairies
Joanna Lumley in the garden with two fairies.© Photo Rob McDougall
A £100,000 appeal for vital restoration work at Moat Brae House and Garden in Dumfries will be launched by the much loved Ab-Fab actress during her appearance at the Wigtown Book Festival in Dumfries and Galloway on September 28.

Lumley is Patron of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, which saved the Georgian town house  just days before the building was due to be demolished in 2009.

The new Windows Appeal is designed to raise money to make its windows safe and watertight as part of wider scheme to establish the house and its gardens as a centre for children’s literature.

Originally built in 1823 and designed by architect Walter Newall, Barrie played in the house and gardens as a child with his friends Stuart and Hal Gordon. Their games later inspired him to write Peter Pan.

a photo of Joanna Lumley with a little girl dressed as a fairy
© Photo Rob McDougall
“When I heard about it, it was just like Tinker Bell had gone ‘ping’ on my head with her wand – it seemed such a wonderful idea,” said Lumley who will be speaking about her book, Absolutely, during a sell-out event at the Festival.

“The Windows Appeal is marvellous – making the building wind and watertight is essential, and windows played such an important part in the story. Peter Pan came in through the windows, and the children followed him out through the windows. It is there that Mrs Darling waited for them to return.

“There is something very special about windows as the link between this world and the magical one of Peter Pan. The idea that you can sponsor a window and have your very own link with Neverland is wonderful.”

With 39 windows to restore the Trust is offering a range of sponsorship opportunities including the chance to sponsor the window that Peter Pan and his friends flew through.

The work is part of a wider restoration of Moat Brae House backed by grants from The Heritage Lottery Fund for Scotland, Creative Scotland and matching funds from other sources.

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 the work will see a new roof installed on the house, external walls repaired and defective walls, floors and ceilings replaced inside ready for the next phase of its development as a national centre for children’s literature.

“I love children and children’s literature,” added Lumley “the idea that this old and beautiful house can be saved and become a children’s literature centre for Scotland, welcoming in children from all over the UK and the world, is just brilliant.”

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Go for it Joanna! As Peter Pan said: 'All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.'
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