Author Topic: Barrie's final illness and his flat  (Read 2252 times)

DeanChurch

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Barrie's final illness and his flat
« on: December 07, 2013, 05:58:32 PM »
What was the nature of Barrie's final illness? Mackail, in his biography, hints at cancer, which would not be surprising, given JMB's years of heavy smoking. Incidentally, the Dictionary of National Biography incorrectly gives the place of Barrie's death as his flat where he spent his last years. I have written to them to suggest that they correct this small error. Some years ago, the firm presently occupying the Robert Street building where Barrie's flat is placed kindly allowed me to see where he lived. It has been greatly changed since he was there, alas. In particular the huge fireplace is gone. However, the window with the magnificent view down the Thames remains.

GOSH

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Re: Barrie's final illness and his flat
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 11:35:02 AM »
Mackail does indeed mention that doctors suspected cancer, but this is never confirmed in his biography, or any other. Barrie had been suffering from severe pain in the spine, but doctors could not find what was the cause. Cynthia Asquith, in her own biography Portrait of Barrie also talks about "pains that either baffled diagnosis or were hopefully called neuritis" but makes no menion of cancer.  He was transferred to the nursing home in Manchester Street on 11 June, where he developed signs of broncho-pneumonia - which was probably the cause of his death, as he had become so weak from the undiagnosed condition. He died a week later, on 19 June.

Delighted to hear it was your suggestion that prompted the CIPFA to put up photographs of JM Barrie taken when he lived in his flat at the Adelphi. They did a good job and have them up in their board room, on the wall opposite the window with the amazing view.

mb0521

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Re: Barrie's final illness and his flat
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 05:54:51 AM »
Hi Dean Church. Do you have the contact details for the owner of the Adelphi building? Id love to go and have a look!

Brutus

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Re: Barrie's final illness and his flat
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 08:22:08 AM »
Hi. What is now referred to as the Adelphi is the Art Deco 1930s block built on the site of the old Adelphi buildings designed by the Adam brothers. The building where Barrie occupied a 3rd floor flat is the only one that survives in Robert Street, called Adelphi Terrace House or Robert Adam House.

As mentioned in a previous post here, Barrie's old flat was occupied by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) who allowed visitors. However, they moved out a while back and the building is undergoing renovation works. I don't know who the owners are, but you might be able to get the information from the architects doing the refurbishment (who misspelt Barrie's name!). Apart from the window overlooking the river, nothing remains of Barrie's flat nowadays. If you do get more details of the owners, please post these on this site, as it may interest others.

https://www.pilbrowandpartners.com/work/robert-adam-house-2-3-robert-street/
https://www.architecture.com/image-library/RIBApix/image-information/poster/design-for-alterations-to-a-flat-for-jmbarrie-top-floor-adelphi-terrace-house-3-robert-street-westminster-london-plan/posterid/RIBA94516.html