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Kirriemuir, Peter Pan Statue
|Population||6,061 (est. 2016)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Kirriemuir, sometimes called Kirrie, is a burgh in Angus, Scotland. Its history reaches back to earliest recorded times, when it is thought to have been a major ecclesiastical centre. Later it was identified with witchcraft, and some older houses still feature a "witches stane" to ward off evil. In the 19th century, it was an important centre of the jute trade. The playwright J.M. Barrie was born and buried here, and a statue of Peter Pan stands in the town square.
The history of Kirriemuir extends to the early historical period and it appears to have been a centre of some ecclesiastical importance. The Kirriemuir Sculptured Stones, a series of late Pictish cross slabs, are now on display at the Meffan Institute in Forfar and the Gateway to the Glens Museum in Kirriemuir.
Kirriemuir has a history of accused witches back in the 16th century. Many of the older buildings have a witches stane built in to ward off evil. This is a hard grey stone set into the local red sandstone of which they were built. A pond on the outskirts of town, known as the Witch Pool, was where the supposed witches were thought to have been drowned, but in fact it was a mill pond for the 19th-century Meikle Mill. Local amateur historians tend to think this referred to a "mickle" (small – it in fact means large) mill, but the reference is to one of John Meikle's patented chaff-separating machines, based on ideas he picked up in the Netherlands. The adjacent "Court Hillock" was shown, during excavation to make way for a housing development, to be no more than a spoil heap left from the excavation and cleaning of the pond.
Kirriemuir claims the narrowest public footpath in Western Europe; Cat's Close, situated between Grant's Pend and Kirkwynd. It is a mere 40 centimetres (15.75 inches) wide.
The family estate of Sir Hugh Munro, who created Munro's Tables of Scottish mountains over 3,000 ft in elevation (which are now called "munros"), is also located near the town, as is Kinnordy House, the seat of the Lyells.
Kirriemuir is represented within Angus Council by the Kirriemuir and Dean ward, from which three councillors are elected. As of 2012 these were: Ian Gaul (Scottish National Party), Ronnie Proctor (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) and Jeanette Gaul (Scottish National Party).
The town has three museums, the Gateway to the Glens Museum, Barrie's Birthplace and the Tayside Police Museum. There was once a museum of aviation, whose artifacts are now in the Richard Moss Memorial Collection at the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. There is a camera obscura, donated by Barrie, on the Hill, offering views to the south and south-west and of the higher hills to the north. Also on the Hill and offering views from its southern slopes is the town cemetery, where Barrie is buried in the family grave. There is a silver granite war memorial in the centre of the cemetery, a column surmounted by a kilted soldier looking down across the town and over the broad fields of Strathmore to the Sidlaws.
Every August, a local music organisation holds a music festival, Live In The Den, featuring local guitar bands. In 2011 the festival was not held due to severe flooding.
Kirriemuir sits looking south towards Glamis and the Sidlaws over Strathmore (one of the most fertile fruit growing areas in Scotland). Its position at the base of the Angus glens makes it an attractive centre for hill-walking on nearby Munros, fishing, partridge, pheasant and grouse shooting and deer-stalking. There is also an 18-hole golf course with views north to Glen Clova and Glen Doll. The town consists mainly of two areas – Northmuir and Southmuir.
Webster's High School is situated in Southmuir, while two primary schools are located in Northmuir and Southmuir respectively. Northmuir Primary School replaced Reform Street Primary School, which was in the town centre, and was demolished for the building of the Lyell Court Sheltered Housing complex. Southmuir Primary School moved to new premises in 2002, which had been built as part of an extension to Webster's High School. The earlier Southmuir Primary School building (once the original Webster's Seminary) was destroyed by fire on Sunday 29 October 2006 and has since been demolished.
The town has two main parks, one of which lies in the Gairie Burn glen and the other at the top of Kirriemuir Hill.
The Den can be split into two parts. The east Den lies to the east of Bellies Brae (The Commonty) and the west Den lies to the west of Bellies Brae. This park has a paddling pool. The Den is prone to flooding, as it lies in a deep valley. This last happened in December 2012. In the far west Den, there is a large Den Waterfall and the Cuttle Well.
The Hill with Neverland or the Peter Pan Play Park as it is sometimes called, is located in Northmuir. The popular play park was built in November 2010, which has a Peter Pan theme. Smaller parks include Davidson Park in the Southmuir and Martin Park which is off Slade Road.
Kirriemuir is home to the junior football club Kirriemuir Thistle. Kirriemuir also has a wheeled sports area in Martin Park and an all-weather sports pitch at Webster's Leisure Centre adjoining Webster's High School.
- J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan and Rector of the University of St Andrews, was born in Kirriemuir. He wrote of this "wee red toonie" as "Thrums" in his novels Auld Licht Idylls, A Window in Thrums, and The Little Minister. "Red" refers to the reddish sandstone from which the town's older properties are built. The town became a minor Victorian tourism destination in response to Barrie's novels. His birthplace on the Brechin road is now a museum owned by the National Trust of Scotland. A statue of Peter Pan stands in the town square in front of the old toll booth.
- Violet Jacob, poet and novelist, returned widowed from India in 1936, went to live in Kirriemuir, and died there in 1946.
- David Niven, actor, claimed Kirriemuir as his birthplace, but was actually born in London.
- Bon Scott, vocalist of AC/DC, was born at the maternity hospital in nearby Forfar in 1946 and lived in Kirriemuir until 1952, when his family emigrated to Australia. A plaque to his memory stands in Cumberland Close. On 26 January 2016 town officials approved plans for a statue of Scott in the Bellies Brae car park. This was unveiled by former AC/DC bass player Mark Evans in April 2016 during the town's annual "Bonfest" event.
- Sir David Wilkie, surgeon, was born here in 1882. He befriended Barrie in 1930, when he became Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, due to their common home town.
- Victoria Cross awardees: Captain Charles Lyell, Corporal Richard Burton and Private Charles Melvin resided in Kirriemuir.
- Scott McKenna, professional footballer playing for Aberdeen and Scotland, grew up in Kirriemuir and attended Websters High School.
Twin towns/sister cities
- http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/muckle SND: Mickle
- C. Michael Hogan, Eassie Stone, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham, 7 October 2007
- Election 2012 Results Ward 1 – Kirriemuir & Dean, archived from the original on 7 May 2012, retrieved 9 May 2012
- Inglis, Marjory (22 August 2011). "'A complete swamp' – flooding forces cancellation of Kirriemuir music event Live In The Den". The Courier. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Carol Anderson: "Jacob [née Kennedy-Erskine], Violet Augusta Mary Frederica", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK, 2004) Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Morley, Sheridan (1985). The Other Side of the Moon. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-340-39643-1.
- "Rock tribute to AC/DC star Scott". Crabsody in Blue. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Brown, Graham. "Angus shows way as plans for Victoria Cross memorials unveiled". Thecourier.co.uk. DC Thomson. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l'Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.