Real-life Scrooge

December 23, 2011 by staff 

Real-life Scrooge, Campaigners are calling for former MP John Elwes to be remembered with a blue plaque outside his old London home.  The notorious 18th century miser is thought to have inspired Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol.

And this week, an internet petition was launched by historians and the publishers of a new Dickens e-book, who are keen to shout about the positive impact Mr Elwes managed to make.

The politician, who died in 1789 at the age of 75, is thought to have financed buildings that still stand in Piccadilly, Portman Square and Oxford Circus.

At the time, though, Mr Elwes was more famous for scrimping and saving – despite leaving a fortune worth £28million in today’s money. According to legend, the penny-pinching miser would go to bed as soon as darkness fell to save on candles and ate rotting meat instead of paying for fresh food.

During his 12-year tenure as an MP, Mr Elwes would walk all the way from his Berkshire constituency to the Houses of Parliament – claiming just 18p in expenses after being elected.

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