Malton's Charles Dickens claim is called into doubt

York Press: The building in Chancery Lane, Malton, which is claimed to have been the inspiration for Scrooge’s office in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol The building in Chancery Lane, Malton, which is claimed to have been the inspiration for Scrooge’s office in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

CLAIMS that a building in Malton was the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge’s counting house in one of Charles Dickens’ most famous tales have been questioned by a former mayor of the town.

Ian Reed, pictured, once a member of the old Malton Urban District Council, said he wanted to add a word of caution to the legend before “the truth gets in the way of a good story”.

He believes that the story of the red brick building in Chancery Lane being the inspiration of the novel A Christmas Carol is based on nothing more than a casual comment made in a council meeting some 40 years ago.

In a letter to our sister paper, the Gazette and Herald, he said: “In the early 1970s, while a teenage councillor on Malton Urban District Council, I remember the subject of this empty building coming up in relation to discussions about to property in the area.

“In trying to explain the location of the former France & Co solicitor’s office, Coun Alwyn Taylor referred to it in the meeting as “that building that looks like Scrooge’s office”.

“From that exact moment on, 40 years ago, the building was known and referred to by the council (and subsequent councils) as The Dickens House.

Mr Reed, who served as mayor of Malton from 1980 to 1981, said it was a more established fact that Dickens stayed at Easthorpe Hall, probably several times, between 1840 and 1845.

Mr Reed’s views were backed by the Charles Dickens Malton Society, which said it wanted to distance itself from “some of the more exaggerated claims”.

Secretary Linda McCarthy said: “When people come to us, all we say is that the building is supposed to be the one on which Dickens based A Christmas Carol; we don’t say it actually was based on the building.”

She said the links between Malton and Dickens were through his good friend Charles Smithson, a solicitor in the town at the time and with whom Dickens is documented to have stayed.

Comments (6)

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12:43pm Thu 20 Dec 12

roskoboskovic says...

hasn t the town of malton purchased a first edition of a christmas carol and isn t there a plaque outside the old solicitors office.
hasn t the town of malton purchased a first edition of a christmas carol and isn t there a plaque outside the old solicitors office. roskoboskovic

1:07pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Zetkin says...

Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed.

I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame.
Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed. I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame. Zetkin

1:20pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Bucktrout says...

Zetkin wrote:
Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed. I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame.
That's not Turpin's grave??
[quote][p][bold]Zetkin[/bold] wrote: Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed. I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame.[/p][/quote]That's not Turpin's grave?? Bucktrout

1:49pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Pedro says...

Bucktrout wrote:
Zetkin wrote:
Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed. I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame.
That's not Turpin's grave??
I want more details on this? How so? The cell that Turpin is said to have spent his last night in was probably not the one that advertised either. Just as horrible though.
[quote][p][bold]Bucktrout[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Zetkin[/bold] wrote: Interesting to see one of these unsubstantiated myhts getting nailed. I'd like to see the same done to Dick Turpin's fictional grave, and the baseless assertion that Guy Fawkes was born in an hotel that was renamed to cash in on his fame.[/p][/quote]That's not Turpin's grave??[/p][/quote]I want more details on this? How so? The cell that Turpin is said to have spent his last night in was probably not the one that advertised either. Just as horrible though. Pedro

2:56pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Turpinette says...

Turpin's cell was called in to doubt some time ago by the museum (it was more likely that the condemned cell was the small one next to it).

The grave assumed to be his was originally marked by a headstone marked RT33 - nothing more. He's not in the burial records for the parish, so the conspiracy theorists have decided the page must have been ripped out!

That particular graveyard has a lot of hanged bodies in it, so an assumption was made. Nor did he make the epic ride from London to York, that was 'Swift Nick' Nevision (his - or her - grave is in Haxby).

Guy Fawkes' plaque is in Stonegate with good reason: his mother's house, rented from the Misses Pearson, was accessed from an alleyway off Stonegate. Long since demolished it was probably closer to the Ye Olde Starre Inn's rear yard, where there was a known passageway leading from Lop Lane to the stables at the back of the pub (on the site of the back end of the pub), than the former Young's Hotel round the corner.

Whilst we're myth busting, Margaret Clitheroe's shrine site was decided at a council meeting in 1953, the building was chosen because it was empty at the time, and supposedly a lot of locals thought it was that building. This decision went ahead despite a councillor pointing out that it was the wrong one, and wasn't even on the right side of the street considering the harboured criminals fled out of the back of the house, over the shep pens and in to Colliergate.
Turpin's cell was called in to doubt some time ago by the museum (it was more likely that the condemned cell was the small one next to it). The grave assumed to be his was originally marked by a headstone marked RT33 - nothing more. He's not in the burial records for the parish, so the conspiracy theorists have decided the page must have been ripped out! That particular graveyard has a lot of hanged bodies in it, so an assumption was made. Nor did he make the epic ride from London to York, that was 'Swift Nick' Nevision (his - or her - grave is in Haxby). Guy Fawkes' plaque is in Stonegate with good reason: his mother's house, rented from the Misses Pearson, was accessed from an alleyway off Stonegate. Long since demolished it was probably closer to the Ye Olde Starre Inn's rear yard, where there was a known passageway leading from Lop Lane to the stables at the back of the pub (on the site of the back end of the pub), than the former Young's Hotel round the corner. Whilst we're myth busting, Margaret Clitheroe's shrine site was decided at a council meeting in 1953, the building was chosen because it was empty at the time, and supposedly a lot of locals thought it was that building. This decision went ahead despite a councillor pointing out that it was the wrong one, and wasn't even on the right side of the street considering the harboured criminals fled out of the back of the house, over the shep pens and in to Colliergate. Turpinette

3:05pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Turpinette says...

*Misses Pearsons

*SHEEP pens.

Sorry!
*Misses Pearsons *SHEEP pens. Sorry! Turpinette

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