Biography of John Buchan
John Buchan (First Baron Tweedsmuir) was an early twentieth century novelist.
When and Where was he Born?
26th August 1875, Perth, Scotland.
Buchan was the son of a free church Minister.
Hutcheson’s Boys School. Glasgow University. Brasenose College, Oxford.
Timeline of John Buchan:
1901: Buchan finished his studies as a lawyer and was called to the Bar. He became private secretary to Lord Milner who was the High Commissioner for South Africa.
1903: He returned to Britain to become a director of the firm of Nelson’s the publishing house.
1907: He marries Susan Grosvenor.
1909: He had begun writing adventure stories in his spare time which culminated in the publication of his first novel “Prester John.
1914: At the start of the First World War he served on the staff at Army headquarters a post he held until 1917.
1915: Publication of his most famous thriller “The Thirty Nine Steps” featuring his spy Richard Hannay which he wrote in Broadstairs, Kent whilst recovering from an illness. Hannay was based on a young Army officer Lieutenant Edmund Ironside whom he had met in South Africa during the Boer War.
1917: Buchan is made Director of Information.
1927: He is elected Member of Parliament for the Scottish Universities.
1928: He wrote a biographer of Montrose.
1932: Buchan wrote a biography of Sir Walter Scott.
1935: He was raised to the Peerage as the First Baron Tweedsmuir as he was made Governor-General of Canada.
1937: He is made a Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.
When and Where did he Die?
11th February 1940, Montreal, Canada.
Age at Death:
1909: “Prester John”.
1915: “The Thirty-Nine Steps”.
1917: “Poems Scots and English”.
1919: “Mr Standfast”.
1924: “The Northern Muse”, “The Three Hostages”,
1932: “Sir Walter Scott”.
1907 To Susan Grosvenor.
Site of Grave:
St. Thomas of Canterbury Churchyard, Elsfield, Oxfordshire, England.
Places of Interest:
The British Library.
The John Buchan Centre in Broughton closed in 2012. The collection (and much more) moved to a new purpose-built museum in Peebles called the John Buchan Story, which opened in November 2012. (See www.johnbuchanstory.co.uk/ for more details). The new museum explores the variety and scale of Buchan’s public, personal and literary life through displays, personal memorabilia, photographs and books.
John Buchan Story, The Chambers Institution, High Street, Peebles, Scottish Borders, EH45 8AG.
John Buchan Society, c/o Kenneth Hillier, Green Mairn Street, Kings Newton, Malsonne, Derby, DE73 1EX.