Historical Kirrie property placed on the market

A KIRRIEMUIR property that is immersed in local history has been placed on the market.

Bell’s Cottage at 7 Brechin Road is situated right next door to the house where author of Peter Pan, Sir J. M. Barrie was born in 1860.

The category B listed property dates back to 1798 and holds a number of hidden gems and stories which are of great historical importance to the town of Kirriemuir and Angus as a whole.

Bell’s Cottage looks out onto J. M. Barrie’s First Theatre, the little wash house where he practised his plays as a young child. This row of handloom weavers cottages were referred to as ‘The Tenements’ in Barrie’s novel ‘The Little Minister’.

At one time Bell’s Cottage was the home of Bell Lunan, a lady who has often been described as ‘a most loved woman in Barrie’s life’. It is thought that Bell was the physical inspiration for Jess in Barrie’s ‘A Window in Thrums’. Like Bell, Jess was an invalid who sat all day by her window and watched the people of Thrums go about their daily lives.

A National Trust for Scotland brochure explains that in later life when Barrie visited Kirriemuir he was “at his happiest when sitting in Bell Lunan’s old fashioned kitchen at number seven talking about the old days when he had mischievously hidden her stick or used her box beds as hiding places.”

In 2002 the property hit the headlines when renovations to the property revealed not only a secret window but also a time capsule containing a zinc tea caddy.

It soon emerged that the tea caddy contained a letter that had been written in 1933 by Isabella Lunan - the grand-daughter of Bell.

The owner of the cottage at the time had been aware of the window as it was visable from the outside but had long been boarded up on the inside. During the renovations uncovering the window revealed three newspapers dated from 1902, 1909 and 1922 - one of which had an article about Barrie himself.

Along with the tea caddy pieces of wood and a cheese grater were also found.

The letter by Isabella Lunan said: “This old tea caddy belonged to Mrs John Addison (Belle Lunan), Sir James Matthew Barrie’s oldest friend.”

It goes on to say that Barrie paid tribute to Bell at the opening of Kirriemuir Public Hall on August 26, 1933.

He said she was “the one woman of all women outside my family that I loved, she was my friend from my infancy all through my life.”

Tayside Property Online, the agency through which the house is being sold, say: “We are pleased to bring to the market this traditional, red sandstone, former weavers cottage situated next door to J.M. Barrie’s Birthplace.

“Bell’s Cottage has certainly retained much of its original character having been well maintained by sympathetic owners over the years. Features include original fireplaces, exposed beams, window shutters and interesting nooks and crannies including an original salt store inset into the sitting room wall.

“This is a rare opportunity to purchase a unique home of character and charm with interesting historical and literary connections.”