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The John Buchan Centre at Peebles

June 5, 2013

I have written about walking in the steps of John Buchan in previous blogs. Buchan was, himself, a great walker. You can find out much more about the interesting writer by visiting the John Buchan Centre in Peebles, which is now open for the summer. Below are some extracts from their website which you can visit at

John Buchan is a national figure within both a Scottish and UK context. Through his prolific writing and by his many and varied contributions to public life, he was a highly influential figure, particularly during the inter-war period. His final role as Governor General of Canada, and the popularity of film adaptations of his novel The Thirty Nine Steps, have also helped to give him an international reputation which continues to this day. As a novelist, historian, journalist, politician, soldier and public servant, his influence can be seen in numerous areas of the first half of the twentieth century.

‘The John Buchan Story’ explores Buchan’s life and writing, showing the variety and scale of his personal experience and literary output, beyond simply The Thirty Nine Steps. It also portrays his family’s broader associations with Peebles and illustrates some of their achievements. His parents had grown up in Tweeddale and family holidays were spent with relatives in the area, so Buchan developed a passion for the Borders countryside and its people.

The Museum illustrates Buchan’s sense of adventure, including time spent in South Africa. Exploration and travel were a source of rejuvenation for Buchan, who often found expression through his writing.

‘Then, while pinned to my bed during the first months of war….I gave myself to stories of adventure. I invented a young South African called Richard Hannay… and I amused myself with considering what he would do in various emergencies.’

In 1935, Buchan was appointed Governor General of Canada. He was made a Baron and took the title Lord Tweedsmuir of Elsfield. He helped develop a sense of Canadian unity and travelled extensively through the provinces. It was in Canada that John Buchan’s long journey came to an end and he died in1940.

Visitors to the ‘John Buchan Story’ can follow the path through the many stages of his life, using his novels and other works as a backdrop to the exploration of this intriguing man – one of Scotland’s distinguished sons.

Opening times:

Museum closed for the winter – reopens Friday 29th March 2013

Easter weekend – end October [Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm; Sundays 1pm-4.30pm]

Admission: Adults: £2 Children: free

Open at other times and for large groups by arrangement

‘The John Buchan Story’ is located in the historic county town of Peebles.

The Chambers Institution, High Street, Peebles, Scottish Borders EH45 

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