Historical Background

Before mentioning the Malton newspapers specifically, some context about the general newspaper situation of the period should be noted.
From the early 18th century there were taxes on publishing - newspapers, bills, pamphlets and at some point a tax on paper. In 1814 the tax on newspapers was set at 4d per copy. Legislation followed that spelt out the scope of the tax - those that contained any "public news, intelligence or occurrences, or any remarks or observations thereon, or upon any matter in Church or State," and/or those which appeared more frequently than every twenty-six days. In 1836 the tax was reduced to 1d and eliminated altogether in 1855. It was therefore not until this 'tax on knowledge' was eliminated that the general population could afford to buy a newspaper and proprietors could viably satisfy this need.

The Malton Messenger

The Malton Messenger began as a monthly periodical in 1853; it successfully progressed and was printed as a broadsheet in June 1854. The company had hoped to produce a weekly edition of the paper by this time but owing to the scope of the tax retained their monthly frequency. Once these restrictions were lifted the Malton Messenger was free to publish weekly, the first edition on 14 July 1855 [1] See an early example of the Malton Messenger, Saturday, 19th April 1862 (warning large file)

The edition of the 6 January 1856 carried an announcement of the intention to enlarge the newspaper and this happened from the issue of 9 February 1856. This issue carried an article describing the production process and explained the move from a 'press' to a machine which could print three times quicker.

  • [1] The Malton Messenger: 1 July 1854
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The Malton and Norton Gazette

Malton's first weekly newspaper commenced publication on Saturday, 30th June, 1855. It cost 1d and a short item announced the opportunity created by the repeal of the newspaper tax. The front page of these early issues contained advertisements from local traders. The back page contained 'Local Intelligence' - items of likely local interest to Maltonians. In between the front and back pages was coverage of progress with various wars (Crimea, Sebastapol), Parliamentary matters, and coverage of notable law, police and commercial matters. It was printed and published every Saturday morning by the Proprietor, George Barnby, bookseller, stationer, &c., at his printing office, Wheelgate, 'where all Advertisements, Communications, and Books for Review, are to be addressed.' From the very first issue a list of sellers in the surrounding villages was published. It was not until issue 6 that availability from additional sellers in Malton was publicised: Mr. Collier and Mr. Harrison, Booksellers; Mr. Masterman and Mr. Hide, Hairdressers. On the death of George Barnby his son Edmund, who was already working in the business continued it. Edmund went to live in Bournemouth leaving estate valued at £14,164 (Western Gazette, 5 March 1909)

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Please view the copies of the newspapers below. Each file is approximately 1.5MB. To keep the file sizes to a minimum I have only included the pages covering Malton news and advertisements.

Regrettably the issues for Saturday 1st September 1855 and Saturday 29th December 1855 are not available.

Information in Four Categories


Lots of information about who lived here and where! Families, Malton Butchers Cricket Team, Malton People Database, Memories of Malton, Charles Dickens Connection, Town Bellman, Town Crier, Wives Wanted, Malton in the 1840s, Census including some transcriptions, 1858 List of Voters for St. Michael's, Earl Fitzwilliam Rent Accounts, Newspaper announcements of births, deaths and mariages

The Town

What was the town like in Victorian and Edwardian times? Where is/was that street? House numbering, Malton in the 1840s, Planning & Building Control, Toilets in Chancery Lane, Streets Butcher Corner, Castlegate, Greengate, Market Place, Middlecave, Newbiggin, Old Maltongate, St. Michael Street, Saville Street, The Mount, Wentworth Street, Wheelgate, Yorkersgate, York Road, Peasey Hill, Planning & Building Control, Town Guides Old Pictures and Maps, Walks around the town take in a bit of history! Land Hearth Tax, 1873 Return of Owners of Land, Property, North Riding Register of Deeds, Finance Act 1910


What businesses and industries were here? Trade Directories, Photographers, Undertakers, Apprentices, Banks, Breweries, Local Traders and Advertisements, Bankruptcy, Malton and Norton Cooperative Society, Longsters, Fitch & Co, Thomas Taylor, Public Benefit Boot Co., Shopping Week 1922, The Manure Company, Biscuit Mills, Milling, Iron Foundries, Ralph Yates, Industrial Safety

Topics & Events

What happened here both locally and in response to wider events? Baker's Chronology, New Malton Spa, Emigration, The Telephone Comes to Malton, Cemetery, Horse Procession, Coronation of Queen Victoria, 1937 Coronation Celebrations, St. Michael's School, Racecourse, Emigration, Malton Golf Course, Sebastopol Cannon, Middlecave Windmill, Traffic, Theatre, Queen Victoria's Jubilee, Coronation of Edward Vll, Longster's Spa Garden, Curling, Talbot Hotel Newspapers Historical Background, Malton Messenger, Malton & Norton Gazette, including digital copies of the first few editions from 1855 Worship Three Ecclesiastical Parishes, 1857 locations, St. Michael's, St. Leonard's, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians, Independents, Catholics, Baptists, Wesleyans, Society of Friends, Congregationalists, 1851 Religious Census Police & Fire Police, law & order, prostitution, fire brigade, fires, Fire Brigade Friendly Society Pubs & Beerhouses Brewster Sessions, landlords, Temperance movement, closure dates Secret Orders Freemasonry, Friendly Societies, Oddfellows, Independent Order of Rechabites, Shepherds and Charities The Railway Victorian Heyday, Abolition of the Turnpikes, Accidents, Station Location, Railway Crossing & Bridge, Excursions, Railway Buildings, York & Scarborough line, Malton & Driffield line, Malton and Whitby line Health The sanitary condition of Malton 1854, nuisance removal, local board of health, the Dispensary, the Cottage Hospital, Apothecaries, Doctors and Surgeons, Dentists, Galvanism, 1932 typhoid outbreak, Health & Housing in 1909, Cholera, Smallpox, Smallpox Vaccination, Typhoid, 1918 Influenza epidemic Workhouse Settlement & Removals, managing the workhouse, state of the workhouse 1818, workhouse provisions, scandal at the workhouse, life in the workhouse, one of yours in the workhouse, masters & matrons, advertisements for staff First World War War is declared, the Wider War Effort, Employment issues for local tradesmen, Zeppelin Raids, Local Recruitment Advertising and Meetings, Military Tribunals, Medals and Bravery, Casualties, War Memorial, Armistice is Signed

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Site last updated 29th January 2020
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