Actress Joanna Lumley has hailed the transformation of the house which inspired Peter Pan author JM Barrie as proof that “dreams really can come true”.
Moat Brae, a Georgian property in Dumfries, was saved from demolition a decade ago, and has now been restored as an international visitor attraction.
An £8 million fundraising effort by the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (PPMBT) – of which Lumley is patron – allowed the property to be turned into Scotland’s new National Centre for Story Telling and Children’s Literature.
The house was where in the 1870s a young Barrie and his friends played the games that inspired the author to write the famous tale of Peter Pan.
It is hoped that more than 30,000 people a year will visit the new visitor attraction – with the centre potentially boosting the local economy by some £1.3 million a year.
Lumley said: “Moat Brae proves that dreams really can come true. Children and young people from Scotland and far beyond now have a place that’s dedicated not just to Peter Pan, but to the love of all children’s stories and literature.
“They can come here to play, daydream and build their creative imaginations, just like JM Barrie did.”
The centre is home to the original “Tinker Bell” – a small bell JM Barrie bought to be rung when the fairy character appeared on stage in the original production of the story – and a dolls house which is nearly 6ft tall.
It opened its doors to the public on Saturday, after welcoming both Lumley and Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
She said: “It’s a pleasure to see the house and garden which inspired JM Barrie being saved and given a positive new future.
“It’s a remarkable feat which shows what can happen when the Scottish Government and its agencies work together with local authorities, charities, businesses and the community to achieve a shared vision.
“Moat Brae is a fabulous new attraction for the whole of Scotland, and will provide a magical experience for children and young people from every part of the world.”
Dame Barbara Kelly, PPMBT chairman, stated: “Moat Brae is a magical place. Its opening to the public, after a decade of hard work by so many people, is a great moment for Moat Brae, for Dumfries and for Scotland.”