AN appeal is being launched to help save a museum which celebrates Malton’s link with Charles Dickens.

The Counting House Museum in Chancery Lane, said to be Dickens’ inspiration for Scrooge’s office, closed on December 16, with the lease reverting back to the Fitzwilliam (Malton) Estate in April next year.

However, Malton Town Council and the Malton and Norton Area Partnership has now pledged £2,000 towards the cost of securing the future of the museum, which is run by the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society, if further support can be found.

Paul Emberley, Malton Town Councillor and chairman of the Malton & Norton Area Partnership, said: "We're very pleased the town council and the area partnership have just decided to pledge a total of £2,000 towards the costs associated with securing a sustainable future for the Counting House Museum in Malton.

"It's a timely response this Christmas, as the Dickens connection with Malton is just too important to ignore.

"However, to secure the long-term future of the museum, it urgently needs additional funds, but more especially it needs help from more volunteers."

The Counting House museum is managed by the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society and houses information and displays about Charles Dickens, his life, family and colleagues, along with a collection of artefacts and pictures of the town.

Dickens was said to be a regular visitor to Malton where his best friend, Charles Smithson, worked as a solicitor at his office in Chancery Lane, which is now the museum.

It is said that Dickens was inspired to base Scrooge’s Counting House on Smithson’s office.

When Smithson died aged 39, Dickens attended his funeral in the town and dedicated an early edition of A Christmas Carol to Mrs Smithson.

Clair Challenor-Chadwick, who helped establish the annual Dickensian Festival in Malton, said she would support the fundraising appeal to help secure the future of the museum and was consulting with the Heritage Lottery, the Board of Dickens Gift to Yorkshire Charitable Trust, The Dickens Museum in London and the national Dickens Fellowship.

"I will work with local stakeholders, trusts and foundations to pull together a rescue package," she said.

"We do, however, need new support from individuals and local businesses who have a vested interest in creating a healthy visitor economy to Malton in the hard pressed winter months.

"What better way to do that than to create a bigger and better Dickens Festival and a first class visitor attraction welcoming visitors from far and wide, building on the legacy and message of A Christmas Carol.

"We cannot let all of the hard work of volunteers over the past decade fall by the wayside. The Counting House and Malton’s connection to A Christmas Carol is the jewel in Malton’s crown."

Anyone who would like to make a donate to help save the museum, or is able to volunteer, should email Linda McCarthy at