So far, in my gallery of Old Maltonians, not a single innkeeper, but this week I have pleasure in reminding my readers of the public spirit shown by Mr. W. Davison of the George Hotel.
Mr. Davison became a member of the Local Board of Health, for St. Michael's Ward, in 1891, his fellow-members of the same ward being Mr. Joseph Coning and Mr. George Hudson. When, in 1894, an Urban District Council was formed, he kept his seat, and continued this public service until his death in 1899, aged 66 years. I have heard him described as one of the most capable Councillors Malton ever had.
In 1893 Mr. Davison became a Poor Law Guardian for his parish, and served as Overseer for several years. He was vice-chairman of the Joint board of Guardians for five years.
One of the most useful public, or semi-public duties performed by Mr. Davison was that of hon. auditor for several societies. His qualification for this duty was a spacial one, gained during his service with Messrs. Dove and Sons, ironmongers of York, in whose employment he was for over a quarter of a century, later as chief cashier. It is difficult to over-estimate the value performed to a society or community, by those who kept the accounts straight, or, as a French proverb has it, "wind up the clock every Saturday night."
Whilst in York, Mr. Davison acted as superintendent of, successively, the Navigation-rd. and St. Lawrence Sunday schools. It is interesting to know that at the latter place his work brought him into close connection with the rector, whose daughter became famous under the writing name of John Strange Winter. Some of her stories, notably "Bootle's Baby," gave pictures of garrison life in York. Mr. Davison left York in 1879, succeeding, on his father's death, to the proprietorship of the George Hotel, which has always been very popular with commercial men and others.
Strictly speaking, Mr. Davison was not a Maltonian, having been born in Northallerton, and his first business experience having been gained in Leeds and York But apart from this technicality Mr. Davison did so much public work in Malton, and he and his family were so intimately associated with with our life, that he fully deserves to be in this series of articles. At his death he left a widow, five sons and six daughters. On elf the former, Mr. J.W. Davison, F.S.A.A, who inherits his father's aptitude for figures, is the City Treasurer for York.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians No 27, Yorkshire Gazette, 30th March 1912
(Obituary) Mr. William Davison, of the George Hotel, Malton, died on Sunday night 19th March 1899, after only a few days’ illness, having succumbed to an attack of paralysis. He was a native of Malton, being the son of the late Mr James Davison, who also kept The George for many years. In early life deceased was apprenticed to a firm in Leeds, but before completing his apprenticeship he went to Messrs. Dove and Sons, ironmongers, York. With this form he remained for 27 years, rising to the position of chief cashier. Whilst in York he took much interest in Sunday school and kindred work, and he was for some time superintendent of both Navigation-road and St. Lawrence’s Sunday schools. At the latter place he worked in conjunction with the Rector, father of “John Strange Winter,” who was known to deceased. Owing to the failing health of his father, Mr. Davison left York in 1879, and on his father’s death he succeeded him as landlord of the George Hotel. In April, 1891, he was elected a member of the Malton Local Board of Health for St. Michael’s Ward. In 1893 he was elected one of the Poor-law Guardians for his parish, and he also served several years as overseer. All these offices he held up to his death. After the election of the Guardians under the new Act of 1894 deceased was elected vice-chairman of the Malton joint board, which office he filled until last year. He also held the office of honorary auditor to several of the agricultural and other societies and clubs in the town and district. Mr. Davison was 67 years of age. He leaves a widow and eleven sons and daughters, all grown-up. One of his sons, Mr. J.W. Davison, is City Accountant for York. - The remains were interred in the Malton Cemetery on Wednesday morning. There were over a dozen mourners of the deceased’s own family, and all the public bodies in Malton were represented in the procession. The Malton and District Licensed Victuallers’ Association (of which deceased was president), the Malton Agricultural Club, and the legal and medical professions were represented.
Report – Yorkshire Gazette, 25 March 1899
George Dinsdale was a character Malton will not soon forget. In his later days he presided over the public weigh in Railway-st, and in the intervals of his work wrote “poems” and did other odd jobs, if the last word may be permitted in this connection. Any stranger who happened to go into the close little room where George Dinsdale sat on his tailor’s board and looked after the weigh, would certainly be told how very similar his (George Dinsdale’s) life story was to that of Charles Kingsley’s “Alton Locke,” tailor and poet. Indeed, the old man would be almost certain to draw with his trembling hands out of a safe place the tattered letter which Charles Kingsley wrote to him acknowledging the communication explaining the parallel just mentioned. Here is a copy of it:
Eversley Rectory, Winchfield
Nov. 17th, 1871
Mr. G. Dinsdale.
I was much interested in your letter and the enclosed verses. It is very gratifying to me to find one who has seen and experienced so much and can bear testimony to the correctness of my sketches in “Alton Locke.” But it is more pleasant to me to find in the little poem you have sent me so hearty and cheerful a tone of manliness.
George Dinsdale’s own poetry was chiefly remarkable for the local history or legend enshrined in it. It was there that I first learned the story of the little house on the island spanned by the old stone Ridings Bridge; and how romantic young couples used to walk through the brows Wood by the river where now a long series of thebest residential houses in Malton stands. Occasionally, but very occasionally, there came from his pen a line which suggested that under more favourable circumstances George Dinsdale might have written really presentable minor verse. What examples we have, however, of his work are halting in execution and not remarkable for thought.
George Dinsdale was one of the first of our Malton postmasters, and presided over the tiny office in goldie’s yard – practically the only accommodation for the public being a small window and window ledge. It has been stated that he kept a commercial hotel there. He died in what I shall always call Miss Preston’s schoolhouse at the top of Old Maltongate, and was buried in the Friends’ burial ground.
Good, childlike old man! He intended his poems to be a gift to his fellow creatures. He never had any money to bestow, for what he earned seemed to run away as fast as he had got it, but he always had a pinch of snuff to spare for anyone. He meant well all his life, and since sentence is not passed on what we poor folk actually accomplish, but rather on what we aim for, he is sure of his reward. If it had fallen upon me to write his epitaph, these are the lines I should have handed to the sculptor:
“Not strong of arm, nor greatly gifted mind.
Then didst thy best, and truly loved thy kind.”
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 29, Yorkshire Gazette, April 13th 1912
1822 – 1905 The son of Thomas and Frances Dodsworth, and shown as a cabinet maker’s apprentice, living in the Cattle-market, in the 1841 census. He married Mary Ann Dowson in 1848. By the time of the 1851 census he is described as ‘joiner and cabinet maker, employing 2 men and 3 apprentices’ and living on the low side of the Market-place. Around this time he was in partnership with James Percy, also a joiner and cabinetmaker, for this partnership was dissolved on 12th January 1853 . In the 1861 census Martin was then employing 10 men and 8 boys, having moved to Yorkersgate. A small distraction from the main business may be indicated by the patent petition in May 1861 granted to Martin and William Smith of New Malton, Piano Forte Maker, for the invention of ‘an improved boot and shoe cleaning machine’ . The business has reached significant proportions when in the 1871 census he is employing 24 men and 7 boys and 1881 24 men and 10 apprentices being described as builder, cabinet maker, upholsterer and brickmaker.
Martin was in business with John Wood, a builder of Malton, as Brick and Tile Manufacturers in Rillington. This business association was dissolved on 12th February 1873  and Martin carried it on in his own name.
Business difficulties surfaced early in 1884 when Martin became bankrupt. He failed with liabilities of £4,403, and assets of £3,005. A meeting of his creditors in York, in March 1884 was reported in the newspapers . These reports described his premises and stock in trade. An application for discharge was refused in July 1884 . There was the announcement of an auction of the sale of Martin’s assets  (including a newly erected messuage and shop in Saville-street near the Market-Place and occupying one of the best business sites in the town) followed by a report of the auction – a freehold brickfield of over 5 acres and a number of cottages situated in Rillington (withdrawn at £400), a leasehold shop and house in Malton (sold to Mr. John Harrison, music dealer for £580), and two life assurance policies (bought by Mr. Hill, of the York Union Bank) . At a hearing of the Scarborough Court in October 1884 a certificate was granted stating that the debtor’s failure was the result of misfortune without misconduct – Martin alleged that his failure was due to undertaking the clearing of the debts of his deceased father .
 London Gazette, 18 January 1853
 London Gazette, 12 July 1861
 London Gazette, 14 February 1873
 Yorkshire Gazette, 29 March 1884
 Yorkshire Gazette, 16 July 1884
 Yorkshire Gazette, 16 July 1884
 Yorkshire Gazette, 19 July 1884
 Yorkshire Gazette, 22 October 1884
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