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J M Barrie

Enter a search query below to explore the life and work of J M Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family, who inspired him to write Peter Pan

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Peter Pan
J M Barrie
Boy Castaways complete

Our Database

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Curated for over 40 years by Andrew Birkin, the main content of this database is research material he gathered in the course of writing his 1978 BBC television series The Lost Boys, as well as his later biography, J M Barrie and the Lost Boys (Yale University Press), while subsequent items were acquired through donation or purchase from numerous sources.

In addition to original photographs and documents, all scanned prior to donating them to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2003, the database also contains hundreds of audio clips, taken from conversations recorded by Andrew in the 1970s with Nico Llewelyn Davies, Jack's widow Gerrie, Daphne du Maurier, Lord Boothby and many others.

Photo: Barrie in his Adelphi flat, aged 73 in 1933. The book with the red spine is the sole surviving copy of "The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island" ...

J M Barrie and Peter Pan

"Who and what art thou?"

A brief introduction to Barrie and his most famous creation - what Peter Llewelyn Davies called "that terrible masterpiece" - Peter Pan

Photo: Nina Boucicault as Peter in the first London production of Peter Pan in December 1904. Denis Mackail saw her as a boy of 12 and later wrote: "Miss Nina Boucicault as Peter Pan, the best, as no one has ever questioned, because of this haunting, eerie quality, this magic, and this sadness which is a kind of beauty too. She was unearthly but she was real. She obtruded neither sex nor sexlessness, which has so far beaten everyone else. Above all she had the touch of heart-breaking tragedy that is there in the story from beginning to end; yet she never seemed to know it. Barrie, lucky in so many of his actresses, was never luckier than here."

Great Ormond Street
Hospital for Children

Great Ormond Street

J M Barrie gave the rights of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in 1929, and much of the work contained in this database has been sourced with the help of the hospital and with their permission.

Should anyone wish to make use of material on this site for commercial purposes, they should contact GOSH direct via their website.

Photo: Jean Forbes-Robertson and Gerald Du Maurier performing scenes from Peter Pan to children at Great Ormond Street in 1929.


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Copyright in works by authors other than Barrie cited on this website naturally remain the property of the original authors/publishers or their estates. Written permissions were obtained in 1978 by Andrew Birkin for all such works cited, and we trust that no objections will be made to publishing them on this website.

With some misgivings, we've decided to gradually remove our watermark from all letters and photos that would appear to be out of copyright. So much material has already been lifted from this site, mostly by professional authors and publishers who should know better than to raid without acknowledgement let alone any sort of donation, either to the running of the site or GOSH, but we don't want to penalise the great majority of visitors by spoiling the images for the sake of trying to prevent further theft. So pease, if you want to copy images for non-commercial purposes, feel free - but an acknowdgeent to this site would be appreciated. And if it is for profit, please give what you can afford to GOSH if not to us.

Photo: Nico and Peter Llewelyn Davies, working together at Peter Davies Ltd in 1937.


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