Most people are familiar with Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol and the central character Scrooge, but not many will know that Ebenezer Scrooge was based on an Edinburgh worthy.
Dickens visited Edinburgh in 1841 and while passing time visited the graveyard of the Canongate Church.Here he came across the gravestone of Ebenezer Scroggie,Mealman died 1836. Dickens misread this as 'meanman' and 'Scrooge' for Scroggie. Two years later A Christmas Carol was published to great acclaim. Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie was born in Kirkcaldy a cousin of the famous economist Adam Smith. He found great wealth in Edinburgh as a merchant vintner and town councillor. Noted for his licentious behaviour,generosity and parties,he could not have been more unlike his character in the book.Dickens had entered in his diary following the visit:
'to be remembered through eternity only for being mean seemed the greatest testament to a life wasted.'
Unfortunately the gravestone of Ebenezer Scroggie was removed in the 1930s and even the use of his forename fell out of favour with parents not wishing to bestow it on their sons.