Comissioner to open Buchan museum

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THE new John Buchan Museum opens in Peebles next week.

The exhibition, which pays tribute to the famous writer, will be officially launched by Canada’s High Commissioner Gordon Campbell at the Chambers Institution next Saturday.

But museum trustees have to raise a further £75,000 to secure the collection’s future.

Chairman of the museum trustees John Scott Moncrieff said: “My fellow-trustees and I are most grateful to the charitable trusts and members of both the John Buchan Society and the Buchan family, along with many well-wishers, both local and as far afield as Australia and North America for their efforts in raising £225,000 in order to be part of a celebration of the life, work and enduring legacy of this most remarkable of Border Scots.”

The museum commemorating the writer of The Thirty Nine Steps, was in the former free church in Broughton for 28 years.

But it closed in 2011 and fundraisers have spent the last three years trying to rise the £300,000 needed.

Described as one of Scotland’s greatest writers, Buchan was a novelist, biographer, poet, historian, journalist, critic and publisher, as well as a Colonial officer, intelligence officer, propagandist, MP and, finally, Governor-General of Canada.

The writer had strong connections with Peebles – his parents, brother and sister lived at in the town’s Bank House (demolished in the 1970s). Brother Walter served as Town Clerk and Procurator Fiscal from 1906 to 1948, sister Anna wrote about Peebles under her pen name of O. Douglas till her death in 1947, and brother Alastair is commemorated on the war memorial in the quadrangle.

Museum president, Lord Tweedsmuir said: “I well remember my father, William Tweedsmuir, saying that my grandfather, JB, would have been amazed and delighted that 70 years after his death, his books are so widely read and enjoyed by so many people. The idea of a museum to commemorate him would have astonished him.

“This has been a complex project to bring to fruition and I hope I will have a chance to thank many supporters at the opening.”

Initially the museum will only be open from November 3 to December 6, before opening permanently at Easter 2013 by which time the museum hopes to have raised the final £75,000.

Chairman of the museum’s local committee, Ian Buckingham said: “We are delighted to secure the new home for the museum in such wonderful premises as the Chambers Institution. Its central location in Peebles, as well as its association with the Buchan family, will deliver an interesting new attraction in the town, for tourists, as well as local people.”

He also appealed for volunteers to assist in the running of the ‘John Buchan Story’, and anyone interested in being involved can pick up an information pack from the museum.

The opening ceremony will be carried out at 11.30am by the High Commissioner on behalf of the museum’s patron, H.E. David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada.