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J.M. Barrie

Tour Kirriemuir

Kirriemuir is ared sandstone town in the valley of Strathmore, Angus, situated on the Gairie Burn five miles north-west of Forfar. Described as the 'Gateway to the Glens', its settlement dates back at least to medieval times. Once a centre of handloom weaving and later jute processing, it now lies at the heart of rich farming land and has textile and and milling industries.

James Matthew Barrie whose birthplace you can visit, was born on May 9, 1860, in Kirriemuir. He was the ninth child and third son of David and Margaret (Ogilvy) Barrie. His father was a weaver. Barrie attended Glasgow Academy and Dumfries Academy. In 1878 he enrolled in Edinburgh University, where he graduated in four years with a master's degree.

Barrie's best-known play, 'Peter Pan', was first presented in 1904. It is the story of a boy who refuses to grow up and creates his own world of Indians, pirates, and fairies. It was adapted as a play with music (1950), and as a musical comedy (1954, revived in 1979) that was also performed on television. 'Peter Pan' was also made into a silent film (1924) and a feature-length animated cartoon (1952). Barrie retold the play in narrative form as 'Peter and Wendy' (1911). Because he wanted his creation to benefit youngsters as much as possible, Barrie donated his rights to 'Peter Pan' to a London children's hospital.

When he was six years old his older brother David (who was their mother's favourite) died. Barrie set himself to console his mother, and later attributed this as his start down the road to becoming an author. When he began writing stories and novels, he set the majority of the stories in a fictionalized version of Kirriemuir, which he called Thrums.

If you would like to Tour Kirriemuir on a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me: Sandy Stevenson

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