Baker's Chronology

George Brown of Norton wrote and Mr Thomas Baker published these volumes of a Chronology of Local Events in Malton, Norton, and District. The first two volumes covering 1869 to 1898, and 1899 to 1906 were priced at 1s and 6d respectively. There can't be many towns where an individual has had the foresight to keep and publish such a diary.

1869 - 1898 see transcription

1899 - 1906 see transcription

The Telephone Comes to Malton

It would appear that the telephone could have been in use around ten years before the telephone exchange in Malton was actually opened. Early in 1893 [1] it was reported that the National Telephone Company had begun to lay the trunk line from York to Scarborough, possibly two years or more earlier i.e. in 1890. However, the Earl Fitzwilliam did not allow the wires to cross the town. An opinion was voiced at the annual meeting and dinner of the Malton Farmers' Club when a Mr. Page, a corn merchant of York, spoke about the town and district suffering from the want of telephonic communication because Earl Fitzwilliam would not allow it to pass through … and further that no one man should have so much power in any town, village or hamlet as to cripple its trade. A telephone exchange and call office was eventually opened at Malton on 25th March 1903 and looped in to the York - Scarborough trunk line. The exchange offered a service during the week from 5am to 10pm, and on Sundays from 6am to 10am and from 5.15pm to 7.30pm. There was no direct dialling. Rental of a line was very expensive with few, if any individuals being able to afford rental and the cost of calls. The call office at the Post Office gave residents the opportunity to try the service. Click here to see a transcript of the directory for 1903 which shows a significant correlation between the listing and the prominent landowners and businessmen of the time.

[1] Leeds Mercury, 14 January 1893

Coronation of Queen Victoria 1838

Coronation celebrations were organised in Malton . An arch adorned with flowers, evergreens and the leaves of trees was erected across the road near the Talbot Hotel. On the top was a crown made of red and white flowers, and on each side of the arch was the word 'Victoria' made of white flowers. A procession took place consisting of the police, gentry, schools, friendly societies etc. An excellent and substantial dinner was provided in the Market place while the gentry dined at the Talbot Hotel [1].

One year earlier, on Monday, 26th July 1837, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom and Great Britain. There was a public procession in Malton comprising the Borough Bailiff, gentlemen of the town, band, Oddfellows and 100s of inhabitants. It stopped at the town hall and other places, and each time the Borough Bailiff read the proclamation and the national anthem was played. The gentlemen had dinner provided by Mrs Kimberley at the Talbot Hotel as described in the notice here. [2]

[1] Yorkshire Gazette of 30 June 1838

[2] York Herald, 1 July 1837

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The New Malton Spa

In 1841, A.B. Granville wrote his 'Spas of England and Principal Sea-Bathing Places.' This included a 22 page chapter titled 'New Malton Spa'. Unfortunately there is very little coverage of anything specific to Malton except in the closing pages. 'The saline-chalybeate spring at this place was celebrated nearly two centuries ago. Attention was first directed to it by Mr. Simpson's 'Treatise on the Malton Spa' in 1669, and afterwards by the general work on mineral waters in 1734, by Dr. Short, of Sheffield... ... The water has been found highly efficacious in many chronic diseases; particularly affections of the liver, indigestion under its various forms, and general languor of the system. It is taken in doses of from one to four half pints, at short intervals; the early morning being considered the most favourable time for that purpose... ... This Spa, however, has ceased to be a resort to persons from a distance; which is rather a matter of surprise when (apart from the valuable properties of the well) we take into account the very superior and extensive accommodation at the hotel, and the attractive character of the surrounding country' Exactly where the well was I am not sure but it may be in the grounds of the Talbot Hotel, hinted at by 'The present handsome pagoda over the well was erected by the late Earl Fitzwilliam, about five and twenty years ago, and stands prettily in the gardens adjoining the hotel.'
Alternatively, it may have been in the grounds of Mr. G. Longster's property since in 1855 he is announcing in the local newspaper that he 'begs to inform his friends and the Public that the Spa and Spa Gardens are now OPEN for the present season' [1]
[1] Malton Messenger, 5 May 1855

Malton Race Course

Malton and Norton have a long connection with racehorse training. The London Gazette in 1692 advertises "a plate as has been usual, will be run for on Langton Wolds, near Malton ... " The course was on the summit of Langton Wold - the last race was run there in 1862. A National Hunt course was constructed in Orchard Field and the first race ran in 1867 but the course was closed in 1870. In 1882 the first race was held a steeplechase track at Highfield. This was next to the I'Anson family gallops. In 1886 the National Hunt Steeplechase was staged at Malton for the first and only time. Malton trainers have produced winners of all the major races - starting with Blink Bonny who won the Derby and Oaks in 1857. More details can be seen in 'A Long Time Gone' by Chris Pitt which covers defunct racecourses, and 'Malton Memories and I'Anson Triumphs' by J Fairfax-Blakeborough for which a synopsis can be seen here


If a Victorian Maltonian found they wanted a new life, emigration to America and Australia was possible. In 1855 Kirton Waudby based in Wheelgate, was advertising emigration as an 'Agent to the American and Australian Line of Packet Ships' and 'begged to announce to such as are anxious to Emigrate that by applying to him all necessary information will be applied' [1]
[1] Malton Messenger, 2 April 1855

Malton Horse Procession

This started as an annual event in 1884, taking place on 2 June 1884 when £20 was offered in prizes. There were nearly 100 entries and the procession stretched nearly a mile. The concept behind it was to promote the well-being of animals. Afterwards in the Corn Exchange there was tea and a prize giving hosted by Hon. C.W. Fitzwilliam M.P. who commented ‘every animal shown evidenced great care and attention on the part of the driver, and perfect trust and confidence between horse and man.’ A full list of prize winners concluded the report. [1] The Horse Procession was traditionally held every Whitsun holiday Monday and was a chance to entertain people in the town, rather than them travelling into the country or to the coast. The procession would consist of the police, volunteers, fire brigade, Local Board and tradesmen to dress their rulleys, carts etc and parade through Malton and Norton. In 1885 the prize fund was doubled to £40. [2]
A detailed report of the 21st such event appears in the Malton Gazette dated 17 June 1905. The number of entries over the 21 years had grown from 90 to 161. The report describes the route taken by the procession, the issues caused by the frequent closing of the railway gates at the level crossing and ‘the difficulty too, was increased in consequence of the extent of the motor traffic.’ [3]
The Horse Procession did not take place in 1915 due to the war. It was reinstated in 1924.
The Malton Horse Procession Society was dissolved in April 1921 due to the shortage of horses in the district due to the fact that tradesmen were ‘using motor vehicles instead of horses nowadays.’ [4] Three years later the procession was ‘resuscitated’ [5] Leeds Mercury, 10 June 1924. By 1928 a motor carnival had been incorporated in the proceedings. It would appear however that in May 1931 the Horse Procession Society was again wound-up [6]

[1] York Herald, 7 June 1884
[2] York Herald, 26 May 1885
[3] Malton Gazette, 17 June 1905
[4] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 20 April 1921
[5] Leeds Mercury, 10 June 1924
[6] Leeds Mercury, 26 May 1931

Malton Golf Course

A public meeting was held in Malton Museum early in 1910 to discuss forming a golf club. Mr. G. Reed reported that a “fairly good ground had been secured, about one-and-a-half miles from Malton, near Roxburgh Farm, on the York Road.” It was 74 acres in extent, ample space for a nine-hole course. Mr. Gervase Markham was elected Captain. [1]

In March 1923, at a meeting in Malton museum, members met to consider the future of the club given that the lease was to expire in April 1924. The membership was reported as 36 men and 14 ladies. They thought the time had come 'to look out for a new ground.' Captain Gibson at Welham Park offered ground at a rental of £32. There was discussion about building bunkers, as should the golf club leave Welham, Captain Gibson did not want to have the problem of filling the holes in. The meeting concluded by resolving to form a new club with subscriptions at 40s for men and 21s for ladies; entrance fees to be 21s and 10s6d respectively. [2]
The new Malton & Norton course opened on Thursday 23 August 1923 by Rear-Admiral Sir Guy Gaunt, M.P. for Buckrose, who drove the first ball [3].

[1] Whitby Gazette, 18 February 1910
[2] Malton Messenger, 3 March 1923
[3] Malton Messenger, 25 August 1923

The Sebastopol Cannon

Early in 1859 a cannon captured during the Crimean war at Sebastopol was presented to Malton. A meeting considered several sites where it could be sited but chose one between the 'Town Hall and Mr Marshall's house' in the Market-place. [1] Subsequently, at a date not known, the cannon was moved to the end of Yorkersgate.

A meeting of the Malton Board of Health in September 1879 decided 'to protect the Sebastopol Cannon on the York-road with an iron fencing, and to plant shrubs around it' [2] It was enclosed in iron railings by Ralph Yates a 'number of years' before 1888.

A newspaper report [3] tells of Mr. Yates attending a Local Board meeting 'to consult the board with reference to an account due to him for enclosing the Sebastopol gun and for the general improvement to the approach to the town in Yorkersgate. Although it was some years since the work was carried out applicant had not received the sum due to him.' Mr Yates quotation for this work was originally £15 and he reduced this by £5 as his contribution [4].

[1] Leeds Mercury, 19 February 1859

[2] York Herald, 25 September 1879

[3] Yorkshire Gazette, 3 March 1888

[4] York Herald, 1 March 1888

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The Middlecave Windmill

There used to be an old windmill for the grinding of corn in Middlecave, on the site of the Uplands. The mill was carried on by Mr. David Blair, grandfather to Mr. D.S. Blair, and a large number of the smaller farmers took their corn to be ground at this mill. If we remember rightly, the sails of the mill were blown off, and eventually the mill was pulled down and Mr. Ed. Rose built the Uplands on the site [1]
In 1862 this was operated by Mr. David Watson, whose wife Ann hanged herself 'after being in a desponding way for some time.' [2] Mr Watson can be seen at Middlecave in the 1861 census. However the 1851 census shows a David Blair as a miller in Middlecave and he returns in the1871 census.
[1] Malton Trades and Industries: No 3. Milling Yorkshire Gazette 25th November 1911
[2] Yorkshire Gazette, 23rd August 1862


Traffic in Malton over the years has often been a topic of conversation. The railway crossing causing queues of carts and pedestrians, and eventually motor vehicles. On 14 July 1906 a census was taken, from 8am to 8pm, of the number of trains passing through (155), the number of times the gates were closed (106), the number of vehicles, motor cars, motor cycles and cattle detained (605) and the number of passengers who went over the crossing (7,732). Following the report of the census results the railway company prepared some plans to replace the crossing with an over-bridge but nothing became of that [1].

[1] Yorkshire Gazette, 21 June 1919


There was an early presence of a theatre in Wheelgate and referenced in 1806 as being 'a large newly erected building … … now used as a theatre, and in the occupation of Messrs Huggins and Clark, Comedians' [1]

The Malton Theatre was opened on Wednesday 19th November 1823 under the management of a Mr. Smedley. Immediately after its opening the Rev. C.A. Binns, assistant curate for Malton, preached a sermon in which he warned of the dangerous consequences which he thought would ensue from attendance at the theatre. A defence was published by Mr. Smedley. There was further correspondence in the newspapers. The newspapers concluded 'these lucubrations are likely to prove of great service in the enlightenment of the Maltonians, who for some time past have been showing signs of that malady whose prominent symptoms are the why? and wherefore? [2]

The advertisement here was published in the Malton Messenger, 2 October 1858 for the playing of a drama "The Corsican Brothers" with "all the astonishing Spectral Effects." In September 1881 it was reported that the Theatre Royal had been re-opened following some months of restoration and structural alteration. The stage had been enlarged, the pit reseated, and a new dress circle formed. A new system of ventilation had also been installed and it was stated that the theatre "was now one of the neates that any provincial town can boast" [3].

A programme for 'amateur theatricals' at the Theatre Royal in 1888 can be seen here

In 1912 a petition in favour of an Opera House in the Market Place had been signed by 266 residents. A counter petition had been signed by six. On the grounds that the safety of the public was not safeguarded Malton Urban District Council rejected the plans. [4]

[1] York Herald, 22 February 1806

[2] Sheffield Independent, 6 December 1823

[3] York Herald, 30 September 1881

[4] Yorkshire Evening Post, 1 August 1912

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1887 Queen Victoria's Jubilee

Work was underway in February 1887 canvassing subscriptions to provide a treat to the poor and aged, and the school children on Jubilee day. Further effort were made to get support for a scheme to provide something of lasting benefit. The favoured scheme was the provision of a small public park between New and Old Malton [1].
The idea behind this was to bring together cricket, athletics, bicycle, football, curling and bowling activities, plus a swimming pool, as well as a public recreation ground [2].
This idea was defeated by Earl Fitzwilliam declining to provide ground for the purpose. The more general commemorations were also scaled down to the treat for the school children and a knife and fork tea for the labourers [3].
One of the Guardians of the Poor, George Foster, presented sixpence to each pauper on out-relief [4].
[1] Driffield Times, 19 February 1887
[2] York Herald, 26 February 1887
[3] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 1 April 1887
[4] York Herald, 27 June 1887

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1902 Coronation of Edward VII

Robert Metcalfe chaired the Malton Coronation Celebration Committee. To see the Malton Coronation Souvenir Booklet click here. The date of the Coronation was delayed due to the King being diagnosed with appendicitis. The Committee sent a telegram of sympathy and received the following response from the Queen "To Robert Metcalfe, Malton - The Queen thanks you for kind sympathy. The King is progressing favourably." [1] Eventually the Coronation took place on 9 August 1902.
Malton Photographer, Randolph Smith evidently took photographs of the celebration activities as it was reported that the King had accepted "an album of photographic views of the local Coronation celebrations." [2] Despite the extent of the celebrations Malton adhered to their budget, the Malton Urban Council passing accounts amounting to £200 for the celebrations in the town [3].
[1] Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 28 June 1902
[2] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 8 September 1902
[3] Yorkshire Evening Post, 28 August 1902

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1937 Coronation Celebrations

Wednesday 12th May 1937 saw substantial celebrations in the town. The flag was hoisted at the Town Hall by the Boy Scouts at 8.45am. A United Religious Service took place at 9.00am at St. Michael's and from 10.15am there were children's sports followed by adult sports, a 'March of Children' headed by the Malton White Star Band and at 6.00pm a procession through the town. At 8.00pm there was a wireless relay of the King's speech and from 9.00pm to 3.00am a Grand Coronation Ball in the Milton Rooms. There were many prizes for the various competitions. See the Malton Council published programme booklet here. The back page gives the names of those involved in the organisation of the celebrations.

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The Middlecave Windmill

There used to be an old windmill for the grinding of corn in Middlecave, on the site of the Uplands. The mill was carried on by Mr. David Blair, grandfather to Mr. D.S. Blair, and a large number of the smaller farmers took their corn to be ground at this mill. If we remember rightly, the sails of the mill were blown off, and eventually the mill was pulled down and Mr. Ed. Rose built the Uplands on the site [1]
In 1862 this was operated by Mr. David Watson, whose wife Ann hanged herself 'after being in a desponding way for some time.' [2] Mr Watson can be seen at Middlecave in the 1861 census. However the 1851 census shows a David Blair as a miller in Middlecave and he returns in the1871 census.
[1] Malton Trades and Industries: No 3. Milling Yorkshire Gazette 25th November 1911
[2] Yorkshire Gazette, 23rd August 1862

Malton and Appleton Agricultural Society

This is believed to have been formed when a proposed Malton Agricultural Society was merged with that of Appleton-le-Street in 1873 [1] At that point it was agreed to hold the annual show alternately in Appleton and Malton. A meeting at the end of September 1875 proposed that the show should always be held in Malton since accommodation etc was limited in Appleton. This was a controversial proposal and the meeting agreed to postpone the decision until after the annual meeting in October 1876.
[1] York Herald, 2 October 1875

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Longster's Spa Gardens

There were occasional events in 'Longster's Spa gardens' one such being advertised in the Malton Messenger of 21st August 1858.

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So what was Christmas like in Malton 100 or more years ago. See what Malton traders were offering in December 1913 here and here.


An Act of Parliament was passed in 1773 'to prevent the committing of abuses in the weighing and packing of Butter, in the Town and Borough of New Malton, in the County of York.' and can be seen here.

The Post Office

Charles l made a postal service available to the public - the recipient paying the postage! The postal service evolved through a network of mail coaches, uniformed postmen (1793), mail trains, money orders (1838) and the uniform penny post in 1840.

On 1st November 1888 the Malton Post office, under the guidance or Mr Ashwell, moved from Butcher-corner to Yorkersgate and into the premises formerly occupied as a drapery shop by Mr Charles Pullon. Leeds Mercury, 24 October 1888

Mr Ashwell was a member of the Temperance movement. He was promoted to the post-mastership of Reigate in Surrey in 1896 [1]

[1] Hull Daily Mail, 15 December 1896


At the time of writing the relentless wintry weather still holds the countryside in its icy grip, and many prophecies are being made as to the length of time the spell is likely to endure.  Many villages in the East Riding wold country have been cut off for days, and while the conditions are not so severe in the immediate neighbourhood of Malton they are bad enough.  It has been a rare time for winter sports, and the Old Hand could not but think it was a pity that the old Malton Curling Club was defunct.  The curling pond still stands at the botton of the cricket field a mute reminder of the palmy days of Malton when the game was in full swing.  Curling was introduced into Malton by William I'Anson, and it was, therefore, fitting that the present William I'Anson should skip the winning team which carried off the International cup at Kandersteg, Switzerland.  This was in 1907, when the Malton team comprised Mr. W. Wilkinson and the late Mr. John Potter.  On their return the victors were met by the Malton band and escorted to the Royal Oak Hotel.

History of Curling

The Old Hand was reading the other night an interesting book giving the history of curling. Like golf, it came from Scotand, although historians are not agreed as to the date of its foundation. In the Annual of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club for 1865 there is a song written for the Dollar and Devondale Curling Club, in one verse of which the author says:-
“Hoo far it dates in bygane years
Let antiquarians tell;
But Fergus, first of Scottish Kings,
We dootna played himsel’.”

An Old Time Tale

Curling was at one time supposed to be one of the failings of the clergy, and an old Scottish proverb has it that “Frae Maidenkerk to Johnny Groats nae curlers like the clergy,” and in 1884 Dr. James Taylor, writing on the subject, stated that in Ayrshire “the clergy have, time out of mind, been keen and skilful curlers, and it must be admitted that they have sometimes carried their pursuit of this enticing game rather beyond the bounds of prudence and propriety.” As an example of this the Doctor cites a case of a young clergyman of Kyle who, soon after his induction, curled for six days one week and then gave an old sermon to his congregation on the Sunday, having no time to make a new one. But the reverend gentleman had some excuse, for he did it at the express wish of his curling parishioners, who, on the Saturday morning, appeared at his window waving their brooms (he had locked the door in order to keep them out) and on his pleading the necessity of his spending the day preparing his sermons, shouted with great unanimity and cordiality “Gi’s an auld ane.”

The Chaplain’s Duty

This love on the part of the clergy for the game must have been the means of instituting to every club a chaplain whose duties were not very onerous, the preaching of an occasional sermon to curlers, and the saying of grace at club dinners being the most important ones. In this connection it is interesting to repeat the statement before given in this column that the Malton Club possessed a chaplain who still resides in our midst, this being the veteran Rector of Stonegrave, the Rev. E.A.B. Pitman. His appointment to that ancient office led to him being mentioned in “Truth,” Labby writing a satirical paragraph asking whether his duties included the singing of a “Te Deum” when the Malton Club were victorious. During a keen wintry spell some years ago curling also took place on the ice at Welham Fish Pond, but now the old members seem to have died off and the younger men do not appear to have showed much inclination for the game of their forefathers.

By Old Hand Malton Gazette 12 December, 1925

The Malton Gala

This was a prominent summer entertainment in Malton. At its core was a flower and vegetable show with prizes. This was augmented from time to time with a band competition, balloon ascents; open-air concert, military entertainment, athletics and poultry show.
The first Gala was held in the grounds of the Lodge on Wednesday, August 31st, 1859. It continued to be held there until 1879 when it moved to the Orchard Field. An account of the initial years of the Malton Gala was given in the Malton Messenger, 17 July 1909 and can be seen here.

Malton Benevolent Society

This was founded in 1787, and in October 1842 had 173 members [1]
[1] Yorkshire Gazette, 8 October 1842

Malton Cricket Club

This was founded around May 1862.

AMATEUR CRICKET CLUB. – On Tuesday afternoon last the cricket ground of the Malton Amateur Club was formally opened, when the members mustered in strong force, and a very good game was played by two sides chosen respectively by Mr James Wise and Mr Robert Boulton, and terminated in favour of the former. The ground was in excellent condition, and some very good play was exhibited by some of the members. A great number o fthe members and their friends were on the ground to witness the game; and the 1st North York Rifle Band was also present during the afternoon, and enlivened the scene by playing several of their best selections. On the whole it may be considered that the Malton Amateur Cricket Club has recommenced under the most favourable auspices, and with most brilliant prospects. We understand that a general meeting of the members of the club will be held at the Black Bull Inn, Market-place, on Wednesday evening next at eight o’clock; and we are also requested to state that the subscriptions are now due and will be received by Mr J.C. Wise (secretary) or Mr W.H. Rose (treasurer).

Malton Messenger, 17 May 1862

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