A Brief History
Moat Brae was designed by Walter Newall for a local solicitor, Robert Threshie in 1823. The house and garden were in private ownership from 1823 to 1914. The house then became a nursing home which closed in 1997. Thereafter it fell into disrepair and was subsequently purchased by a local housing association. In August 2009, Moat Brae House was due to be demolished to make way for new social housing.
Saving Moat Brae
The loss of such an iconic building and its historic garden would have been a tragedy. In response, the Peter Pan Action Group, made up of concerned Dumfries and Galloway citizens, was formed. A successful campaign was launched to save the building and garden from demolition, beating the bulldozers by just three days, in spite of two court injunctions.
The creation, in 2009, of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, a company limited by guarantee with charitable status, Chaired by Roger Windsor OBE has ensured that the house and grounds have been saved for posterity and for the long-term benefit of Dumfries and its wider community.
Moat Brae Today
Rigorous fund-raising by Friends and volunteers over the last 5 years, together with a diverse range of successful grant applications, has enabled the Trust to:
- purchase the freehold of the property
- undertake Emergency Works to prevent it from collapse
- commission a Feasibility and Options Appraisal Study to determine the best uses for the building;
- engage with local volunteers, young and old, to run an ongoing programme of events and activities maintain the garden
- establish a Friends scheme and a membership scheme
- develop long-term strategic partnerships
- establish a capable and strong team of Trustees and staff drawn from the local community with a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise and;
- complete a programme of Phase A capital restoration works.
Historic Environment Scotland responded to the Phase A Capital Restoration Works with the following:
Historic Scotland are pleased to see the first phases of high quality repairs completed and Moat Brae’s external fabric returned to a sound condition through the hard work of the trust, their professionals and contractors. Unfortunately the building’s internal finishes were badly affected by dry rot. However Historic Scotland are also particularly pleased with the exemplary way the trust and their team have addressed this, in preparation for forthcoming restoration of interiors. Though extensive stripping out was necessary due to severe decay of built in timbers, special effort has been taken to retain and repair many of the partitions in situ so some authentic plasterwork will remain to act as model for rerunning missing sections of cornices to match. Some beautifully resigned original concealed sliding doors have also been discovered and retained in situ. Elsewhere salvageable joinery has been carefully stored for reinstatement. In areas damaged beyond repair, templates have been taken and sections of joinery and plasterwork have been retained and labelled so reinstatement in the next phase can be faithful to the original design.