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
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
‘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.
Easter Weekend (from Good Friday) until end of October [Mon-Sat
(Museum closes over the winter but can be open by arrangement)
Admission: Adults: £2 Children: free
‘The John Buchan Story’ is located in the historic county
town of Peebles.
The Chambers Institution, High Street, Peebles, Scottish
Borders EH45 8AG
The Chambers Institution, founded by publisher William Chambers,
also houses the Tweeddale Museum and Art Gallery.