Fans follow in famous author's footsteps in Letchworth GC

MEMBERS of the 500-strong John Buchan Society will be re-tracing the steps of the famous author when they visit Letchworth GC this weekend. Mr Buchan is best known for writing The Thirty-Nine Steps, which became the inspiration for three Hollywood blockbu

MEMBERS of the 500-strong John Buchan Society will be re-tracing the steps of the famous author when they visit Letchworth GC this weekend.

Mr Buchan is best known for writing The Thirty-Nine Steps, which became the inspiration for three Hollywood blockbuster movies, but few people know he was sent to Letchworth GC to convalesce in 1915 after a period of illness.

His stay inspired him to write the novel Mr Standfast in which secret agent, Richard Hannay, is forced to work undercover, disguised as a pacifist, hunting down a German spy at large in the UK.

In the book Hannay begins his mission in Biggleswick, a dissident community known to have been modelled on Letchworth GC.


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This Saturday, visitors to the First Garden City Heritage Museum in the town will have the opportunity to see some Mr Standfast artefacts.

Also on display will be several photographs relating to the author's time in Canada as British Governor General between 1935 and 1940, including coverage of Canada's declaration of war against Germany.

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The society's chairman is Lady Stewartby, the author's granddaughter, and she is no stranger to Comet country.

Her husband, Ian Stewart, was MP for Hitchin between 1974 and 1983 and for North Herts from 1983 until he stood down in 1992.

If you or your family have any information or can shed any further light on Mr Buchan's time in Letchworth GC around 1915, the museum would be glad to hear from you on 01462 482710.

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