Introduction Castlegate (once named Low street) leads from the centre of Malton down to the river, the road continuing over the County Bridge and into Norton. In Victorian times the breweries were situated in Castlegate along with a variety of tradesmen and shops.
See the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
Castlegate in the 18th Century
I have been favoured by Mr. George Brown with a copy of a wood engraving, which, I understand, was used some time ago by Messrs. Thomas Taylor and Son, grocers, on one of their paper bags. Mr. Brown and others have also given me various interesting particulars relating to the buildings shown in this woodcut. The old house to the left of the picture was the "Rockingham Arms," whose landlord in the forties of last century was George Peterkin. This public-house occupied the whole of the space between the site of the old Post Office and Mr. Baker's butcher's shop. The quaint roof will be noticed, the horse block (one of the best examples in the town) and the wood post on the edge of the pavement. I cannot detect any sign of lighting, and believe I am right in saying that gas was only introduced into Malton streets in 1832, when the Gasworks were erected by Mr. John Malcolm. The Rockingham Arms was taken down about 1862.
Going over to the other side of Old Maltongate (then somewhat steeper than now), the old buildings shown in the woodcut have been greatly altered, especially the corner shop now occupied by Mr. Laverack. There is a marked difference between the present excellent shop windows and entrance and the insignificant front and doorway shown in the picture. At the time I have been speaking of the shop was occupied by Messrs. Horsley, chemists and druggists. The picture hardly conveys the fact that the streets were all cobbled with cobblestones from the sea. About sixty years ago old Clarkson Williamson and his son paved the town.
Next to this house dwelt Coultas Skelton, one of the Malton constables serving under "Old Tom Wilson." I believe that at that time there were two assistant constables, and the lock-up (or "Black Hole" as it was called) was situated in Finkle-st., just above Mr. Fuller's shop. It was no uncommon thing then to see naughty boys congregating before the house in order to ? the prisoners who were chiefly "drunks." I should very much like to know what the salary of these constables was, and what time they were expected to give from their own businesses. The Norton lock-up was in the place known as the "Round House."
On the other side of the house just mentioned, three doors from the Old Maltongate opening, there was half-a-century ago a saddler named Moorhouse.
Coming on the other side of Castlegate, the Dunlops lived in what I may almost call our Malton sky-scraper, now occupied by Mr. Walker Wilson. In those times the prospect from this house was difficult from to-day, for, where the brewery buildings now meet the eye, the roadway was bordered with old thatched cottage property.
In the woodcut the original shop of Messrs. T. Taylor and Son is shown, and readers will agree that it has a very different appearance from the present one. The site of Mr. Robson's shop, and probably the building also, is visible, previously occupied by Mr. James Moon, ironmonger; none of my informants can tell me anything about the little shop in between.
Some other interesting places are hidden by the corner (grocer's) shop. For instance, Carpenter's-yard came next to Messrs. Robson's - so called because at the bottom of the yard there was a dry dock about the width and twice the length of a vessel where carpenters worked on the keels. It was very busy down there in the early part of the last century. The hull and Malton Sloop Company had its offices where Dr. Deeley lived for many years, in Yorkersgate. Mr A.H. Taylor's present place of business (then inhabited by Mr. Johnson) was almost entirely burnt down about this time. I believe that there are still in Malton some men, now growing old, who well remember the way in which bits of indiarubber over shoes were snatched from the fire and chewed by themselves in and out of school time! The face of the building was largely spared and was incorporated in the present premises. Large additions were also made thereto.
Opposite these there was then still visible the bottom stone of one of Malton's two market crosses, and a pump stood near it. the latter was very handy for the fish market, in which the chief figures were Old Jennie Robson and Jack Jackson. A deep well still exists under the paved surface in front of 12. Castlegate. Recently, it was discovered to be unsafe, and was then protected by a large flat stone.
Next to what is now the Colonial Meat Supply shop came Chapel Lane-end opposite which, among others, dwelt Mr. Barnes, solicitor. The two Misses Jagger kept a wholesale spirit shop round the corner in Castlegate. They were sisters of the late Mr. Charles Jagger, solicitor. In the corner shop, which many of us will always remember as Mr. Jackson's, Mr. Joseph Moon, the hatter, was then located, the entrance being up several steps. Then (coming nearer to Butcher Corner, and next to the Misses Jagger) there was Mr. T.T. Smith's father, at that time a grocer. The corner grocer's shop shown in the woodcut was occupied by Mr. J. Watson, as the engraving shows. Succeeding this gentleman, the premises were occupied as the North Riding Bank, which "came to grief" early in 1826. Then the late Mr. Wm. Snow began his drapery business, and was in due time followed by his son. Next to the grocer's shop was a small butcher's shop (shown in the engraving), and occupied for some time by the late Mr. John Ineson, a well-known tradesman of his day.
Opposite Mr. Snow's present Yorkersgate shop was an old-fashioned millinery establishment (now in the occupation of Mrs. Manning), kept by an equally old-fashioned lady. In 1854 a Mr. Barnby followed (butcher), his successor being Mr. George Baker. Then the place was bought by Chas. Hartley and Mr. Geo. Bartliff.
In this days tradesmen were often guilty of blocking the footway with heavy goods. this fact is discernible in the picture, and it is only of recent years that reform has taken place.
The population of Malton, Norton, and Old Malton in 1837 was about 6,800, Norton having 1,425 only (now 3,842). The town was undrained at that time and divers old pumps were the only source of the water supply. It was 1861 before the town was drained properly. A little before the opening of Queen Victoria's reign, the charges for sending letters were as follows: - Bridlington, 6d; Driffield, 5d; Pickering, 1d; Scarborough, 6d; Whitby, 6d; and York, 5d. I fear I cannot say when our first Post Office in Chancery-lane was opened. I have always supposed that it would be upon the establishment of penny postage in 1840. The railway came in July of 1845, and was financed by the York and North Midland Railway Company.