JM Barrie and the Pavilion

James Matthew Barrie, author of Peter Pan, was born in a cottage in Kirriemuir on May 9, 1860, the ninth child of a handloom weaver.

Despite fame and fortune he never forgot his birthplace.

J M Barrie gifted his native Kirriemuir with a Sports Pavilion and Camera Obscura. The competition to select a design was won by Dundee architect Frank Thomson who won the open  competition. According to his daughter, when Barrie asked for something for the children to be included, Thomson suggested a camera obscura, reflecting his own interest in photography.  The Pavilion cost a total of £2,500 to build.  Local materials were used wherever possible in its construction.

Barrie's design brief stipulated that the building was not to be ornate or call attention to itself. It was to settle into the landscape.

On 7 June 1930 the Pavilion, the new home of the cricket club, was opened. It was a great day for the town. The first item of the day was the unique award of the Freedom of the town to J M Barrie, followed by the opening of the Pavilion. This in turn was followed by a cricket match with Barrie's own team, the Allahakbarries, watched by a crowd of 5,000 spectators.

J M Barrie opening Kirriemuir sports pavillion

Kirriemuir Regeneration Group were proud to be able to re-open the pavilion  - BY  the people of Kirriemuir, FOR the people of, and visitors to, Kirriemuir on 7th June 2015 -  the 85th anniversary of the original opening.

Barrie also gifted a Geographic Indicator which is situated on a platform at the rear of the pavilion.  This gives the names of the hills which may be seen  and the various distances, in direct  line,  to them - from nearby Catlaw in  the north to  Ben Lui   in the Trossachs, 71 miles distant to the west.

The pavilion and camera obscura remain, with only a few minor interior changes, just as they were when J M Barrie performed the opening ceremony in 1930.

Sir James Barrie could have been buried in Westminster Abbey with all the ceremony that would have entailed, however, he left instructions that he wished to be buried in the family plot ‘with his ‘ain folk’. His grave, which simply gives his name as James Matthew Barrie, is in the cemetery on the hill near the pavilion.

Sir James Matthew Barrie

Further reading on JM Barrie click here