Mr. Nicholson was the most proper of our Malton stationmasters. I only remember seeing him once without a frock coat and a silk hat - and then I was so astonished that I rushed to my father and asked him if anything was the matter with the gentleman. He walked with precision, wore his hat slightly aslant - or was it that his head leaned a little to one side? - and duly impressed me, one of the youngsters of the town, with the importance of his personality. I believed that Mr. Nicholson was the N.E.R., and that the N.E.R. was Mr. Nicholson. I expected that he ran the trains, compiled the time-table, paid the porters, and indeed managed the whole concern. Even when growing knowledge and widening experience showed me that this was not the case, I continued to cling to my belief that Mr. Nicholson was greater than either of the Scarborough or York stationmasters.
Of course, Mr. Nicholson was in command at the time of the flood - the Malton flood of 1875. I mean, but I do not recollect what measures he took when the Rye burst her banks to stem the furious rush of brown water which stopped the traffic and caused sightseers to throng the station. If he did not succeed in at once expelling the unwelcome visitant, at any rate he did everything that could be done to minimise the trouble caused by the waters. I doubt whether the railway or the coal strike more severely tested the mettle of the Malton staff than did the flood. No train could run into the station. Passengers from Thirsk had to alight in the Orchard Field; from Driffield at Norton; and I have been told that Scarborough travellers only got as far as Rillington, whilst Yorks ones were stooped at Castle Howard.
Mr. Nicholson was always ready to uphold the honour of Malton when great personages visited the town. Such events happened not infrequently during the time the late Duke of Clarence was stationed at York. The royal Duke honoured Mr. Nicholson and through him ourselves, by entering the stationmaster's house and sitting down there as if he had been an ordinary guest. Rumour says that the chair used on that occasion was ever afterwards an ornament! Probably the Duke inspected Mr. Nicholson's, for our stationmaster was fond of art and possessed a particularly good collection of wager colours of the Goathland district. The gentry round about were never better received than when Mr. Nicholson presided over the fortunes of our station.
When well on in life Mr. Nicholson retired to the house on the Mount associated in many minds with Mr. Clegg and his family. The one-time stationmaster and Mrs. Nicholson would be met with regularly walking round the town, and for most of us, at any rate, although out of office, he still seemed to retain the authority which that office had given to him. He died in January, 1900, aged 68 years.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, 26 April 1913 Mr. Nicholson
Another of our oldest tradesmen has passed away in the person of Mr William North, hosier, &c., on the High Side, market Place, Malton, whose death occurred rather suddenly on Saturday morning last, from heart failure, at the age of 72 years. The deceased had been in business in Malton for the last forty years. He succeeded the late Mr Witham in the business on the High Side about thirty-seven years since, and his son, Mr. J.S. North, has since added the watchmaking and jewellery department, now carried by him. Mr North, who was a holder of original shares in the Malton Gas Company, assisted in building the Mount terrace, on the Horsemarket Road, and was engaged in other building enterprises in the town. He leaves a widow, (a sister of the late Mr R.B. Kirby, watchmaker, &c.), and two sons. The funeral took place at Malton cemetery on Tuesday afternoon, and was attended by a number of relatives and friends, with several tradespeople and others. The service was read by the Rev. J. Hancock, Congregational minister, Malton. Mr G. Piercy, Malton, was the undertaker. Several beautiful wreaths were sent by relatives and friends. Malton Messenger, 18th September 1909
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