WHO would have thought fast food chain McDonald’s in Westgate Street and Ebenezer Scrooge would have anything in common?
The famously anti-Christmas Charles Dickens’ character was believed to have been inspired by real-life James Wood who operated one of the earliest private banks in England from the same building in Westgate Street in 1802.
He became one of the wealthiest commoners in the country and was well known throughout Great Britain for his eccentricity and meanness.
The link between Scrooge and the building will be permanently remembered in Gloucester thanks to a new commemorative plaque installed as part of the restaurant’s facelift.
McDonald’s has undergone a major £750,000 revamp and part of it included unveiling the plaque to celebrate Dickens’ heritage.
Gloucester Historic Buildings Ltd helped to finance the cost of the plaque to mark the famous connection.
McDonald’s operations manager Jacqui Cozens said: “We’re thrilled to be able to play a part in the regeneration of the area and bring an extra boost to the local economy.
“We wanted to help the community celebrate the connection Gloucester has with such an iconic character and there seemed no better time to do just that than during our latest refurbishment.
“It’s not just about providing a fresh, new environment and commemorating Gloucester’s history though, I also believe in investing in people and I’m delighted to be able to create around 10 new jobs as a result of the redesign.”
Scrooge, the central character in A Christmas Carol, has become a byword for antipathy at Christmas time in particular and meanness in general. McDonald’s is unlikely to start stocking humbugs though.
City council leader Paul James said: “We are a city with 2,000 years of history.
“During that time we have thrown up many colourful characters of which ‘Jemmy’ Wood is certainly one. I am delighted that we are to have this plaque which will help more people understand the fascinating story behind one of Gloucester’s most colourful historic characters.”