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Edinburgh 'was home to the real Ebenezer Scrooge'

20th December 2010

A host of organisations in Scotland want greater recognition of an Edinburgh merchant who is thought to have accidently inspired Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol.

Edinburgh World Heritage, the Cockburn Association, the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and the city's tour guides want a memorial to be erected to Ebenezer Scroggie, on whom Dickens based the tight-fisted Ebenezer Scrooge after misreading an inscription on his grave, the Scotsman reported.

The author believed that Scroggie's headstone referred to him as being a 'meanman' and wrote in a notebook that to be remembered for being cheap is the 'greatest testament to a life wasted'.

However, the inscription on the grave of the merchant, who was known in his day for his pleasant nature, generosity and parties, actually labelled him as a 'mealman' in reference to his career as a corn trader.

Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association, told the newspaper: 'These kind of stories are part of the cultural heritage of the city and of course it should have greater recognition, particularly at the graveyard.'

Last month, the Victoria and Albert Museum started a new fundraising drive to preserve the handwritten manuscripts of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
 

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