Christmas Carol book has North Yorkshire links

Actor Chris Cade who will be playing Scrooge as part of the Victorian Christmas events at the Castle Museum, York

Actor Chris Cade who will be playing Scrooge as part of the Victorian Christmas events at the Castle Museum, York

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , mark.stead@thepress.co.uk

A NORTH Yorkshire society devoted to the life and work of Charles Dickens is to keep a watching brief on a new book which claims their town was the inspiration for one of his most famous works.

An original copy of A Christmas Carol is believed to have been bought at auction in New York, complete with an inscription by Dickens. It is to Mrs Charles Smithson, wife of one of the author’s friends, where he confirms he used an accountants’ office in Chancery Lane in Malton as the setting for the tale.

The book is expected to be publicly unveiled next week. The building in Chancery Lane was once the office of Charles Smithson, a solicitor who lived at the 18th Century mansion Easthorpe Hall just outside the town, and Dickens travelled to Malton on several occasions to visit the couple.

Linda McCarthy, Charles Dickens (Malton) Society secretary, said the group was looking forward to seeing the full inscription.

“If there is tangible proof that A Christmas Carol was inspired by Malton, we would obviously be over the moon. However, we do have to wait and see.

“There have been rumours about this over the years, but nothing conclusive.

“There are provable links between Dickens and Malton, in the form of letters and correspondence between him and the Smithson family, and we know he stayed at Easthorpe Hall where he wrote part of Martin Chuzzlewit.

“It will also be very interesting to see how this book came to be up for sale in America and what its provenance is. Meanwhile, a one-man performance of A Christmas Carol will be staged at York Castle Museum as part of its line-up of festive events.

Actor Chris Cade will don an array of outfits to tell a short version of the classic tale on the museum’s Victorian street, Kirkgate, which will be stocked with Yuletide goodies from that period. Weekends will see a traditionally-dressed green Father Christmas paying a visit and the chance for visitors to make Victorian Christmas cards and taste mince pies through the ages.

The traditional Carols In Kirkgate events will be at 7.30pm every day between next Tuesday and Saturday.

Museum manager Helen Young said: “Many of the Christmas traditions we have today were first made popular in the Victorian period, and examples of these can be seen on Kirkgate this Christmas.”

All events are included in the Castle Museum admission price, with free entry to York Card holders. More details at yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:14am Thu 6 Dec 12

Woody G Mellor says...

As a lad who grew up in Malton I was always aware of the rumour. And to walk down Chancery Lane on a dark snowy night really is just like walking into the pages of Dickens famous tale.
As a lad who grew up in Malton I was always aware of the rumour. And to walk down Chancery Lane on a dark snowy night really is just like walking into the pages of Dickens famous tale. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Yorkshire lady says...

I'm really pleased that there is evidence to support the rumour that Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol whilst in Malton. What worries me is the association of the poverty suffered by the Cratchit family and Malton. Nothing much changed there then as far as I can see!
I'm really pleased that there is evidence to support the rumour that Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol whilst in Malton. What worries me is the association of the poverty suffered by the Cratchit family and Malton. Nothing much changed there then as far as I can see! Yorkshire lady
  • Score: 0

8:05pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Maltonian says...

If the inscription is as conclusive as suggested, then Malton needs to make the most of this fantastic literary link. It could prove to be a major tourist draw.
If the inscription is as conclusive as suggested, then Malton needs to make the most of this fantastic literary link. It could prove to be a major tourist draw. Maltonian
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Fri 7 Dec 12

jan1060 says...

Here we go agian - this 'link' gets talked about every couple of years. We've done Dickens Weekends, opened the Chancery Lane rooms as a tourist attraction, Dickens themed events, readings etc. It doesn't work anymore. The link is tiny - one location in one book, and as Yorkshire Lady says, is being known for being horrible to your staff and allowing them to live in poverty really good the basis for a tourism campaign?
Here we go agian - this 'link' gets talked about every couple of years. We've done Dickens Weekends, opened the Chancery Lane rooms as a tourist attraction, Dickens themed events, readings etc. It doesn't work anymore. The link is tiny - one location in one book, and as Yorkshire Lady says, is being known for being horrible to your staff and allowing them to live in poverty really good the basis for a tourism campaign? jan1060
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Mr Anderson says...

jan1060 wrote:
Here we go agian - this 'link' gets talked about every couple of years. We've done Dickens Weekends, opened the Chancery Lane rooms as a tourist attraction, Dickens themed events, readings etc. It doesn't work anymore. The link is tiny - one location in one book, and as Yorkshire Lady says, is being known for being horrible to your staff and allowing them to live in poverty really good the basis for a tourism campaign?
Are you any relation to Mr Scrooge by any chance?
[quote][p][bold]jan1060[/bold] wrote: Here we go agian - this 'link' gets talked about every couple of years. We've done Dickens Weekends, opened the Chancery Lane rooms as a tourist attraction, Dickens themed events, readings etc. It doesn't work anymore. The link is tiny - one location in one book, and as Yorkshire Lady says, is being known for being horrible to your staff and allowing them to live in poverty really good the basis for a tourism campaign?[/p][/quote]Are you any relation to Mr Scrooge by any chance? Mr Anderson
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Fri 7 Dec 12

TCJYork says...

Very interesting. I wonder what Mr Dickens would make of the versions of A Christmas Carol at Lamb & Lion and Golden Fleece in York this winter?
Very interesting. I wonder what Mr Dickens would make of the versions of A Christmas Carol at Lamb & Lion and Golden Fleece in York this winter? TCJYork
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree