The John Buchan Story

Peebles, Scotland

Category: News (page 1 of 2)

Donation of books to Peebles High School

We recently hosted a group of pupils from Peebles High School, who had a good look around the Museum and learnt more about John Buchan.

They will be reading ‘The 39 Steps’ in their English class and we look forward to hearing about how they found it! Their last book was Macbeth, so this will be quite a contrast  (although both have suspense and intrigue?)

To help the school, the Museum was delighted to present them with a set of the books for them to use. Richard Hannay lives on!

TWEED DALE SOCIETY – 14th November 2017

The next talk, on 14TH NOVEMBER, is about the Chambers brothers, William and Robert. 

Born and raised in Peebles, who significantly influenced many major intellectual and cultural developments in the 19th century.  Their publishing innovations transformed the industry in Britain and the self-education movement.  

As Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, William led a major slum clearance programme and the restoration of St Giles Cathedral.  Robert promulgated new insights into evolutionary theory, which scandalized polite society.  

Their philanthropic ethos is exemplified by William’s gift to Peebles of the Chambers Institution, acknowledged by Andrew Carnegie as an inspiration for his own support for public libraries.  

The speaker, Rosemary Hannay, will be well known to many as the Curator of the Tweeddale Museum in the Chambers Institution since 1986, until her recent retirement. 

 

Non members of the Society are always welcome to attend the meetings. Tickets available from the Eastgate Theatre box office.

Farewell to the “Thirty-nine Steps”! Monday 16 October 2017

No! – not John Buchan’s famous novel but Ian Buchanan-Dunlop’s famous painting of the 39-Steps as he imagined them! We have been fortunate in the John Buchan Story to have had the painting on show since May 2016. However, its owner, Mrs Mary Law, has claimed her painting and will exhibit it in her own lounge!

Below is a photograph taken by Richard Carr (one of our volunteers) showing Lady Stewartby (on the left), Peter Worthington (Chairman of the John Buchan Story) and Mrs Mary Law who is obviously delighted to have her painting!

 

The Scribblings of Charlie Brown

Charles Brown, a former Merchant Navy Officer, an Engineer and Schoolteacher, is a keen fan of John Buchan.

He has sent us three of his scribblings:

Realms of Reality and Flights of Fancy.

“This is the bit of nonsense I made up after suggesting that walkers of the “The John Buchan Way” might like to try their hand at making up a wee story about the route they have enjoyed walking.”

Realms of Reality and Flights of Fancy

The Twa Fishers

I have included the translations of the lallands used in both texts.

Fishers TWIN Version

Capital Hills

You might also like this poem that I made up about the Pentland Hills.

Capital Hills

THE PENTLAND WRITERS and their “JOHN BUCHAN EXPERIENCE”

JOHN BUCHAN EXPERIENCE – Tuesday 11th April 2017.

On Tuesday evening in the ‘John Buchan Story’ located within Peebles Cambers Institution, a gathering of some volunteers who man the Museum in Peebles, together with other interested locals, enjoyed an evening of varied literary performance thanks to the efforts of the Pentland Writers Group.

Last autumn, the Pentland Writers had resolved to work on a project of creative writing based on the life, work and interests of Peebles literary hero, John Buchan. The group walked the John Buchan Way, around the hills and countryside between Peebles and Broughton, then spent time in the Museum gathering inspiration from the exhibits collected there. Additional history and background was provided by Lady Deborah Stewartby, granddaughter of the famous author.

In the period which followed, the individual members of the Writers’ Group created their own prose and poetry based on chosen aspects and artefacts in the Museum. The first public performance of their writing brought to life the Buchan past, both real and imagined, with a most interesting and entertaining collection of writing.

First to take the floor was Pete Macnab, who, as Treasurer of the Museum and Secretary of the Writers Group, had initiated the project. He focussed on the brief life of Violet Buchan, John’s youngest sister, who died at the age of 5. Photographs in the Museum show the decline in her health and her sad loss from bronchial illness not only devastated the family, but stole from us a lively mind and spirit.

Archie Hunter described the work of John Buchan in South Africa at the time of the Second Boer War. As a young (and probably ambitious) statesman, John Buchan had assisted in improving camps for the displaced tribes, which had a shocking record of illness and death because of their terrible conditions. Buchan had immersed himself in the work and the area, and a photograph with local tribesmen after a hunting exhibition may have been the source of the inkpot, adorned with the horns of a warthog, displayed in the Museum.

Next to take the floor was Anita John, local poet and author, who had taken as the basis for her work the letters from Alistair Buchan, fighting with the British Troops at Arras, to his mother. Alistair was to be killed on the first day of the battle almost one hundred years ago to the day. While no letters from his mother have survived, Anita imagined her side of the correspondence, and read a very moving series of letters reflecting the anxieties of the mother waiting at home for news, as well as the attempts of Alistair to offer reassurance to her.

With the audience clearly touched by the personal letters of war, real and imaginary, it was fitting that the next link from Stuart Delves, Convenor of Pentland Writers, highlighted the inclusion of Alistair Buchan in a published series of stories of Scottish soldiers at Arras, referring to the centenary of that tragic loss of life.

Stuart then read a passage from Buchan’s “Memory Hold the Door”, illustrating the author’s close affinity with nature and the Scottish Borders landscape which he loved, and in which he was most at home.

In the final section of the Writers’ programme, a varied and entertaining programme continued, with a good dose of humour added. John McCann imagined the author’s escapes as a boy into the hills of the area; Sara Innes wrote with a light touch in fine detail of the elements of fly- tying and brought the particular skills vividly to life; Pete Macnab returned with a lighter and very humorous contribution, apologising to both Burns and McGonagall, before reciting his “From a Fish”; A Canadian Head Dress, linked to the period when Buchan was Governor General of Canada, was the subject of a poem from Anita John; and the evening concluded with an imaginary conversation (with an ostrich no less) in which the ostrich feathers used in ceremonial headgear were cause for examination of the Meaning of Life – a very clever and amusing final piece from the pen of John McCann.

The audience had been thoroughly absorbed and entertained by the varied writings of the Pentland Group, which had brought life and body to the Buchan story and the Museum itself. It is hoped that this performance will be repeated as part of the Peebles Art Festival in late August, and can be heartily recommended if you are able to catch it.

 

The writers getting inspiration on the John Buchan Way

Ottawa Citizen: The Capital Builders: Novelist and Governor General, Lord Tweedsmuir had the Common Touch

Please click on the link below to read the a wonderful account of John Buchan as the Governor-General of Canada.

 

The Capital Builders: Novelist and Governor General, Lord Tweedsmuir had the common touch

 

 

Winners of the John Buchan Handwriting Competition 26 August 2017

We are delighted to announce the winners of the John Buchan Handwriting Competition for 2017. The entries were judged at the Broughton Horticultural Society Show on the 26th August. The task was to copy – in best handwriting – an extract from Buchan’s novel “Prester John”.

The winner of the 8 to 9 year olds (Class 150) was Faye Hewitson and of the 10 to 12 year olds (Class 151) was Beth Revell.

Congratulations to Faye and Beth from all at the John Buchan Story museum!

The winning entries are shown below.

 

2017 Winners of the Runagates Club

This year’s Runagates Club draw took place on the 27 August – the day after Buchan’s birthday! – in the museum just before the Pentland Writers presented their delightful “John Buchan Experience”. The photo shows John Buchan’s great, great, granddaughter, Dorothy holding the winning number, 49. The lucky winner with a prize of £390 was Sally Packe from Linlithgow. The second prize of £117 (=3x£39) was awarded to Eleanor Buchan from London with the lucky number of 52.

For further details of the Club please go to the Runagates Club page on this site.

Join us for a Literary Walk – 3rd September 2017

“WITCH WOOD”, BROUGHTON & THE JOHN BUCHAN CONNECTION

Start & finish from the Village Hall, Broughton
2.30pm-4.30pm
£6

The ‘John Buchan Story’ is organising a pleasant walk around Broughton to explore some of the literary connections in the area. Walk in the footsteps of John Buchan to uncover some of the places in his novel “Witch Wood” as well as dipping into some of his other works.

With a few stops to appreciate the writings of Buchan, his description of people, places & the local landscape, this promises to be a pleasant literary afternoon.

Tea/coffee and shortbread will be provided after the walk in the Village Hall. Cars may be parked in the Hall car park.

Something to look forward to!

Ursula Buchan read Modern History at Cambridge and was for many years a gardening journalist and author, but has recently turned more to social history, with a study of gardening in the Second World War. She has written 17 books so far. She is a daughter of John Buchan’s second son, William.

It’s been more than twenty years since the last full-length biography of John Buchan was published, so it’s good to know that another one is on the way. Ursula Buchan is at present engaged on writing a ‘life’ of her grandfather, to be published by Bloomsbury Publishing in late 2018, all being well. Ursula is very grateful that she’s been able to study the archives and photographs held in the Museum in Peebles, amongst many other places. Last year, she spent several weeks in Canada, doing research in the archives held by Queen’s University, and visiting the places where John Buchan and his wife, Susan, lived when he was Governor-General. She hopes to finish the book by the end of the year. When asked, she said it was the most fascinating project that she had ever attempted.

We are delighted to hear that Ursula Buchan is busy with her pen! We will keep you posted on her progress!

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