The roots of the Co-operative Movement probably lie with the Rochdale Pioneers in the mid 1840s. Malton may well have been a comparatively late starter (a society was formed in Settrington in 1874), and there is evidence of a failed attempt.
Late in 1884 a meeting was held in the Corn Exchange to consider the desirability of forming a Co-operative Society, Mr. Barker, an employee at Mr. Yates' foundry was appointed Chairman, Mr. Briddon, kitchen range fitter, of Malton, Mr. Dowson, goods guard and others addressed the meeting before it was adjourned until Saturday  It would appear that local tradesmen were apprehensive about the Co-operative Society becoming successful, and an interesting court case was heard in the summer of 1885 when Mr. Briddon claimed he had been illegally dismissed by his employer, Mr. Yates, iron founder, without notice … … 'because he had been instrumental in forming a Co-operative store in the town' He was claiming £26 damages for unfair dismissal and won the case. 
Eventually, the Malton & Norton Co-operative Society came into being on 21st March, 1901. The initial premises were the rental of an old brewery at 56 Castlegate (these were later purchased in 1908). A Mr. G Hillman was appointed manager, and Mr. G. Watson, a signalman, secretary. A dividend was paid in the first quarter. Sales during the first year were £3,769 and the membership was 285. In 1903, the range of goods offered was extended to include drapery, boots and hardware.
In 1908 a collective life assurance scheme was offered. In 1915 there was amalgamation with the Settrington society. Late in 1918 a further shop was acquired in Castlegate to house a boot and shoe department . Also in 1918 premises were acquired in Rillington and Norton. The picture here is believed to have been taken outside the Castlegate premises in the early 1900s. Coop1 In 1921 the warehouse at the back of the Castlegate premises was destroyed by fire and when considering the options for continuing the business, rather than re-build, the society purchased property in Wheelgate including 21 cottages known as Wheelgate Square. Further information can be had in the societys’ Jubilee Souvenir 1901-1951 booklet.
From the advertisement left ,it seems likely that the Co-op purchased the building occupied by and the business of Taylor & Rowntrees who had ‘Stores & Cafe: Wheelgate House, Malton’  This is confirmed in a report covering the opening of the new Wheelgate store on Saturday 7th October 1923 . This refers to the
buildings having previously been occupied by Messrs. Taylor and Rowntree, grocers, and by Mr. J.W. Robinson, pawnbroker. In opening the premises, Mr. George Cartwright said that "He was looking forward to the time when their premises would extend right down to the Butcher Corner"
 York Herald, 16 December 1884
 York Herald, 25 July 1885
 Yorkshire Gazette, 29 May 1920
 Malton Messenger, 22 April 1922
 Malton Messenger, 13 October 1923
 Yorkshire Gazette, 8 February 1919