Sir JM Barrie
James Matthew Barrie was born in a cottage in Kirriemuir on May 9, 1860, the ninth child of a handloom weaver. Barrie was a natural storyteller from a young age.
Kirriemuir provided Barrie with the inspiration for the stories which first brought him fame and fortune. In 1904, Peter Pan was performed for the very first time. Barrie's tale of the boy who refused to grow up, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and the Wendy House (which was based on Barrie's first theatre - the wash house) was an astounding success and, only two years later, had grossed over £2 million.
Barrie's success as a playwright was guaranteed and he was only too happy to share his good fortune with the people of the town where he grew up and where he was still a frequent visitor. As a boy, Barrie would often climb up Kirrie Hill to watch the cricket matches that were played on the plateau on the top of the hill and in 1930, Barrie gifted the town with a specially-designed cricket pavilion. The cricket pavilion also housed a Camera Obscura, which to this day provides the most amazing views right across Angus.
Barrie died in 1937. As a baronet, his funeral service could have taken place at Westminster Abbey but instead it was held at St Mary's Episcopal Church in Kirriemuir. At his request, Barrie was buried in the family burial plot in Kirriemuir Cemetery.
Today, it is possible to visit Barrie's Birthplace and the Camera Obscura, a fitting reminder of JM Barrie's legacy to the world.