The John Buchan Story

Peebles, Scotland

Category: News

THE PEATLAND 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

PENTLAND WRITERS PRESENT THEIR ‘JOHN BUCHAN EXPERIENCE’ – Tuesday 26 September 2017

 

PENTLAND WRITERS PRESENT BHF

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!

The John Buchan Society – July 2017 Newsletter

The latest John Buchan Society’s Newsletter is launched!

JBS-Newsletter-14.7.17

Click here to download

Multimedia in the Museum – 14th April 2017

We are pleased to announce that our multimedia is now operational thanks Russell Eggleton of Peebles-based Abound Design & Interpretation Ltd. The presentation features various aspects of John Buchan’s life and work. So visitors to the museum will be able to experience Buchan’s scenes from the films, his work as a statesman as Governor-General of Canada,  the background to “Greenmantle” – just to mention a few of the exciting features.

“Huntingtower” – the Missing Film!

This 1927 film has long been lost. However, thanks to the National Library of Scotland we are able watch “SIR HARRY LAUDER VISITS THE REGENT PICTURE HOUSE, GLASGOW, TO VIEW HUNTINGTOWER” –- simply click HERE

              Harry Lauder as Dickson McCunn with the Gorbals Die-Hards in Huntingtower, 1927. During the filming, John Buchan visited the sets in Elstree and exchanged fishing stories with Harry Lauder.

© 2017 The John Buchan Story
Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No. SC042519

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