One of the universal aspects of children’s literature is its ability to communicate joy through playtime. This Saturday, children across Scotland will be able to play freely at the site of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie’s favorite childhood getaway, the Moat Brae House, in Dumfries, Scotland.
Once a playground to Barrie, the Moat Brae House will be rechristened as the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, featuring an extensive library, a mermaid lagoon, a tree house, and antique toys that make an appearance in Peter Pan. A highlight of this particular collection is the tinker bell, a small tin bell meant to be rung whenever a minuscule fairy of the same appears in the story, according to The Guardian.
Barrie began attending Dumfries Academy when he was thirteen years old. There, he befriended two brothers who lived in the Moat Brae House, not far from the Academy. Like any other child, Barrie visited his friends’ house often and dreamed up a fairy-tale world for the pastoral setting.
The house meant a great deal to Barrie, who recounted hours spent playing in the “enchanted” garden that directly inspired his immemorial work.
Today, the Moat Brae House — built in 1832 — has been restored thanks to the exhaustive efforts of one notable native to the area, Joanna Lumley, and the fund she created to rally support for the house.
The centre’s facilities are split among the three stories of the original home, according to the BBC: The ground floor will be a preserved museum space, the second floor will be a library and reading space, and the third floor will be home to interactive exhibits. The restoration cost more than eight million pounds, but has created a few more jobs for the area and a cultural gem for the nation’s curious children.
The restored Moat Brae House, which faced demolition several years ago, will serve as a tribute to Barrie’s memory. It will foster the imaginations of the children who still delight in the tale of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, even a century and a half after the author first encountered his beloved playground.
Featured Image Via The Guardian.