MALTON'S links with Charles Dickens have been given a further boost with the refurbishment of the Counting House Museum.

The building, in Chancery Lane, was the office of Charles Smithson, the Malton solicitor with whom Dickens formed a close friendship.

Dickens frequently visited Smithson in the town, and is said to have modelled Scrooge’s Counting House in A Christmas Carol on the premises.

Work has been carried out both on the exterior and inside the building ahead of its reopening each Saturday from April 19, including the names 'Scrooge and Marley' are displayed in the windows.

The facelift, including the purchase of new period furniture and display units, was possible as a result of last year’s grant from the Two Ridings Foundation.

Manned by volunteer members of the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society, the museum features a range of colourful displays and information, relating to Dickens, his life, his work and his links with Malton, as well as more general information about those days, and pictures of Malton from the period.

John Collins, from the Society, said: "You can see 'Dickens’ Women' - there were several in his life - his homes, and those fellow writers he knew, including Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Makepeace Thackeray and Hans Christian Andersen.

“The Dickens Time Line is fascinating. It follows personal events, and publications throughout Dickens’ own life, while simultaneously identifying events happening - in England, from Queen Victoria’s coronation, to the first Fry’s chocolate bar, to the last public hanging - and around the world – the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the Crimean War, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln."

Mr Collins added: "Ebenezer Scrooge sits at a desk in his office, and Bob Cratchit greets you in. On the stairs is a display featuring all of Dickens’ novels, overlooked by the ghost of Jacob Marley. Another features cartoon illustrations of some of the children in his novels. "

He said: "During last year there were in excess of 500 visitors, not only Yorkshire folk but from as far afield as Europe, Canada and America."

Entry to the museum is free, with donations welcomed. It opens from 9am to 1pm every Saturday until October 24 and is also available for pre-arranged visits by interested groups and school parties.

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