<i>Police & Fire</i>

Police & Fire


The police in Malton came under the organisation of the North Riding. In May 1865 the Malton division of police consisted of 4 men plus a superintendent [2]. The holders of the position of superintendent of the Malton division include:

  • Thos. Wilson, Chief Police Officer [1]
  • Gregory - 1865 [2]
  • Mr William Metcalfe - pre 1876, resigned after more than six years
  • Inspector Clarkson of Falsgrave, Scarborough - appointed July 1876 [3]
  • Park, retired June 1892, after fifteen years service in the North Riding Constabulary [4]
  • Inspector Silversides of North Ormesby, appointed June 1892 [4]

Other members of the local police include:

  • C. Skelton, assistant constable [5]

  • John Baxter, who had recently joined the force, fined £2 for roughly treating J Fewster at the Post Office corner, fined £2 or a month in gaol [6]

  • [1] York Herald, 6 April 1839

  • [2] Yorkshire Gazette, 6 May 1865

  • [3] Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 24 July 1876

  • [4] Leeds Times, 11 June 1892

  • [5] Yorkshire Gazette, 22 February 1840

  • [6] Driffield Times, 18 September 1875

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Lock-up and Court House

The Old Lock-up, Malton Town Gaol, called by some the "Black Hole," is a small narrow arched place, about 17 feet by 14 feet 3 inches. Men and women are kept separate during confinement here, and are brought from the North-Riding House of Correction to the Sessions in this town; which are held once on two years. The constable is the keeper, without a salary. He furnishes his prisoners with victuals from the adjoining public-house. The only ventilation which the rooms of this gaol can receive is through an iron grating in each door, about seven inches square. They have barrack bedsteads, which are supplied with fresh straw every three or four months. I found no prisoners here, August 31, 1802 [1] .

The old "Lock-up," which was in Finkle-street, and certainly a very damp looking, dingy, and dismal place, has been converted into a dwelling-house; and a new and commodius one has been erected, on an elevated site, at the north-west corner of the Cattle market. It includes a residence for Mr. Ord, the chief constable. [2]

The old 'prison house' was demolished in 1893 and replaced by a new police station. The new building stood partly on the site of the old prison in the Cattle Market but with additional land purchased from Earl Fitzwilliam, the frontage is extended along Victoria Road. The contract was let to Mr. Henry Oldfield, builder of Malton, and the design was by Mr. Steel, the North Riding Surveyor, the estimated cost about £1,600. The foundation stone was laid on 9th October 1893. [3] The new building incorporated proposals for residential accommodation for the superintendent and sergeant, offices, stable and cells; a waiting room, guardroom, and vagrant ward, with rooms above for unmarried constables who were currently boarded out, and a drill yard [4].

The old court house was in the Town Hall [5]. A new court house was built in 1900 [6] in Victoria Road. Prisoners would no longer have to walk in the street to reach the dock.

  • [1] Nella's "Remarks on the Prisons in Yorkshire." Published in the "Gentleman's Magazine" for August, 1805, Page 693, column 2. Afterwards republished in a separate work on prisons
  • [2] Malton Messenger, 18th August 1855 - Memorabilia of Malton no XII
  • [3] Yorkshire Gazette, 14 October 1893
  • [4] Leeds Mercury, 4 February 1893
  • [5] Yorkshire Gazette, 23 February 1856
  • [6] Malton Messenger, 13 January 1900
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©British Library NEWS5640 Malton Messenger 13 January 1900

Northallerton House of Correction

Maltonians who unsuccessfully answered charges of criminal acts were often sent to the Northallerton House of Correction. For some relatively minor offences there would be a fine or costs, often to be paid within a stated period, failure being committal to the Northallerton House of Correction. If the punishment involved hard labour then the prisoner would likely have to work the treadmill for many hours a day. Northallerton had a treadmill in the 1820’s, allegedly the largest in the world, and use of it ceased in 1898 with the passing of an Act of Parliament.

Here are some example crimes and punishments:

  • In 1859 John Brown was charged with being drunk, and behaving in an indecent manner, in Yorkersgate and was committed to the Northallerton House of Correction for 7 days. [1]
  • John Stott, 13 years old and a sweep, was found secreted in a grocers shop for the purposes of stealing tobacco, and was committed to the Northallerton House of Correction for 1 month. [2]
  • Richard Lakin, a labourer of Malton, charged with assaulting John Fowler, landlord of the Black Swan, fined £2 and costs and in default of payment committed to the Northallerton House of Correction for 2 months hard labour. [2]
  • Joseph Hudson of New Malton, labourer, charged with stealing a bell from the White Horse Inn, sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour at the Northallerton House of Correction.[3]
  • Charles Johnson and John Birdsall, labourers of Malton charged at North Riding Sessions with stealing a quantity of oats from Messrs Russell, six months imprisonment at hard labour.[4]

The area where the House of Correction was is being developed by the local administrative authority as a shopping and leisure centre appropriately named ‘The Treadmills.’

  • [1]
  • [2] York Herald, 11 December 1841
  • [3] Yorkshire Gazette, 13 October 1860
  • [4] Yorkshire Gazette, 6 January 1844


Not surprisingly, 'the oldest profession' was active in Malton. The first entry in the baptism register for St. Leonards for the year 1813 describes the mother, Mary Cunningham, of Masterman's Yard as a prostitute.

Mary Walker, the wife of Joseph Walker, of New Malton, labourer, was charged with being a common prostitute, and behaving herself in an indecent manner in Old Malton . . . the case, which was of a disgusting nature, was proved by Richard Ord, Superintendent Constable, and the defendant was convicted, and ordered to be committed to Northallerton House of Correction, for one calendar month, hard labour [1].

POLICE COURT - On Tuesday, at Hildersley, before C.W. Strickland, Esq., Elizabeth Bland alias Flanlian, a prostitute, was charged by the police with disorderly conduct in the public streets of Malton, on the 15th inst. Committed to the house of Correction at Northallerton for one month to hard labour. [2]

MALTON POLICE COURT - Mary Thurnham, of this town, prostitute, was charged by P.C. John Pattison with b eing drunk and disorderly in the public streets and guilty of indecent behaviour in the parish of St. Leonard's, on the 1st inst. The defendant, whilst intoxicated, was being conveyed home in a wheelbarrow to the great annoyance of the public. Committed to the Northallerton House of Correction for seven days.

  • [1] Malton Messenger, 21 July 1855
  • [2] Yorkshire Gazette, 23 March 1862
  • [3] Malton Gazette, 15 February 1862

Fire Brigade

This was under the authority of the Local Board. The Malton Fire Brigade, with their steam engine, attended the substantial fire at the Malton Farmers' Manure and Trading Company, but 'owing to the distance between the works and the water main, their services were of little avail . . .' [1] The brigade and engine covered a large area and were summoned by messenger or (later) telegraph. There is a report in 1881 of a fire braking out in Hovingham [2] and a messenger being sent to Malton for the fire brigade. Neither the Superintendent of the brigade nor the engine-house keys could be found. The brigade just left Malton when another messenger arrived to say they were too late. The brigade were hooted by a large crowd. In September 1884 the Local Board agreed to sell one of their old manual engines and purchase a steam-engine. [7] In August 1885 the Local Board admitted that two years off effort had failed in obtaining a first-class steam fire engine for the district. Subscriptions had fallen short, generally because landowners in the country felt there would never be sufficient water. [3] Many years later, following the parading of the steam fire engine it was reported that nearly 20 years previously there had been a struggle 'manual versus steam'. The issue was forced when the Earl Fitzwilliam and insurance companies threatened to withdraw their subscriptions if a manual engine were purchased [4] However, late in 1885 it would appear Malton had a new steam fire engine as there is a substantial report [5] covering the trial of a 'Merryweather' engine in the Market-place. Many of the fires outside the town were in haystacks. In 1894 there was a large fire at Duncombe House, but the Malton fire brigade could not be warned in time for them to attend. A suggestion was made at the Malton Board of Health Meeting that the Superintendent's house be switched on to the postal telegraph system during the night as the Malton Telegraph Office is closed [6] In October 1865 it was evident that the fire brigade had two engines. Mr. Ralph Yates was appointed Superintendent and reported that no. 1 engine was in good order, but that no. 2 engine was out of repair and the wheels were not good. [7] Where the victim of a fire was insured, the costs of the fire brigade would normally be met by the insurer [8] The engines were pulled by horses, but the Malton Fire Brigade had no horses of their own. When a call to a fire was received horses had to be found. This contributed to delay. Various solutions to this were suggested but a motor fire engine was felt too expensive [9]. Although Malton had telephones in 1903, it was not until a council meeting in November 1908 that it was agreed that the fire station should be connected to the telephone system [10]. At some point in 1913 Malton and Norton decided that they needed a motor fire engine. The specification included being able to reach a speed of 40 mph, climb a 1 in 4 gradient, and be so constructed as to give good tolerance on muddy and rutted roads. Tenders were received from Messrs. Merryweather £975, Messrs. Stand, Mason & Co £1,035 and Messrs. Henry Simonis & Co £898. The Merryweather one was chosen [11]. Around 1914, Malton together with Norton formed a joint 'fire brigade committee'. They appointed Albert Standing (31) joiner; Robt. Nelson, (33), mason; and C.C. Wray (31), painter as firemen and agreed to take a lease on a warehouse belonging to Earl Fitzwilliam at the bottom of the yard at Bridge-foot. [12]

  • [1] York Herald, 12 December 1893
  • [2] York Herald, 18 June 1881
  • [3] Yorkshire Gazette, 29 August 1885
  • [4] Malton Gazette, 20 May 1905
  • [5] York Herald, 22 December 1885
  • [6] Yorkshire Gazette, 3 March 1894
  • [7] Yorkshire Gazette, 28 October 1865
  • [8] York Herald, 27 September 1884
  • [8] York Herald, 1 February 1873
  • [9] Yorkshire Gazette, 24 October 1908
  • [10] Yorkshire Gazette, 28 November 1908
  • [11] Yorkshire Gazette, 18 October 1913
  • [12] Yorkshire Gazette, 28 March 1914

The combination of the construction of buildings, their proximity to each other and by today's standards the limited firefighting capability meant that fires were feared and often led to significant destruction. Here is the newspaper report of one such fire in 1867.

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE On Tuesday morning, about half-past three, the warehouses behind the premises of Mr. Henry Taylor, wholesale grocer, ham factor, &c., were found to be on fire. From the enormous blaze which immediately shot through the roof it was clear the fire had existed for some hours undiscovered. The series of buildings run up from Wheelgate to near the Market-place, and closely adjoin the whole of the old houses in Finkle street. These at first seemed destined to immediate destruction, and the alarmed inhabitants set about the removal of their property, and in less than half an hour Finkle-street was piled with furniture, beds, &c., half-roasted hams and bacon, and produce of all descriptions. [1]

One of the biggest fires seen in the town was seen in December 1893 at the works of the Malton Farmers' Manure and Trading Company Ltd. Their premises were near the railway station. The fire gutted the premises, causing extensive damage. The company had installed elctricity earlier that year. Interestingly 'The Malton fire brigade, with their steam engine, responded to the alarm made at midnight, but, owing to the long distance between the works and the water main, their services were of little avail.' [2]

  • [1] York Herald, 14 December, 1867
  • [2] York Herald, 16 December 1893
Fire Brigades Friendly Society

The Yorkshire Fire Brigades Friendly Society held its 34th general annual meeting in the Corn Exchange at Malton in May 1905. After the meeting, around 3,000 men joined a procession headed by the Malton steam engine and men of the Malton brigade. The postcard to the left shows the procession moving along Yorkersgate. Afterwards, brigade superintendents had dinner at the Green Man hotel, where Superintendent R. Richardson of the Malton brigade was presented with the long service medal [1].

  • [1] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 8 May 1905.
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Yesterday afternoon an interesting ceremony was performed in the Market-place at Malton, where a new steam fire engine, supplied by Messrs. Merryweather and Co., of London, was tried and publicly christened in the presence of the Board of Health and a large concourse of townspeople. A deputation, consisting of Councillor Woodhouse and Mr. Supt. Pattison, was also present from Scarboro' to witness the proceedings. Soon after two o'clock a procession of the fire brigade, with the new engine and the old manual, went round the town and up to the front of the Town-hall, where the steam engine was quickly attached to the water main, and the brigade proceeded to get up steam and attach their hose. Meanwhile Mr. Seth Tinsley, the chairman of the Team Labour Committee, and Mr. Robert Metcalfe, the chairman of the Board of Health, mounted the engine, and proceeded with the christening ceremony. Mr. Tinsley briefly introduced the Chairman of the Board, who recounted the steps which had led up to the purchase of a new and efficient steam-engine. He compared the advantages of the latter with the old, decrepit manual engine, which had so long been a disgrace to the borough, and having hinted that, as about one-fourth of the cost of the new engine had been contributed by the lord of the manor, Earl Fitzwilliam, he thought they could not do better than (with his lordship's permission) name the engine "The Fitzwilliam," which he proceeded to do formally amid cheers. Steam having meanwhile been got up the engine was put to a full test, under the superintendence of Mr. J.H. Cleaver (Messrs. Mearryweather's representative) and Mr. J.L. Webster, the chief of the fire brigade. Steam was got up in 8 1/4 minutes after fuel was put in the fire-box, and with three jets attached the engine easily threw a strong volume of water over the highest house in the Market-place; in fact the trail was in every respect satisfactory. The engine, however, it should be stated, has been specially constructed to the order of the Board for country work, and built to travel quickly over rural roads. It will carry four jets of water at full pressure, and when the supply is plentiful, when under full steam, it will work 120lbs to the square inch, throwing out water equal to that of a 4.36 man-power land-worked fire engine - and that, too, with four times the force of the latter. She will pump 400 gallons of water per minute. The engine is constructed with all the latest improvements, and its weight (about 23 cwt.) is equally distributed over the four wheels, so that when travelling at a high rate of speed in the hilly district of the Wolds there will be no danger of capsizing. The boiler is Merryweather and Field's patent, and will not explode if, through negligence, it is allowed to run short of water while the fire is burning under it. The makers claim their engine to be more economical in the consumption of fuel than any other of like capacity. The Malton engine was built with wider tyres, extra strong axles, and a width of 4 feet 6 inches instead off 4.2 between the wheels in order to run in the ruts of the country roads; in fact portability was an important feature of the contract, and the engine is said to be a model for an agricultural district. Immediately after the trial, loud cheers were given for the new engine, and then the members of the Board of Health, Messrs. Merryweather's representative, the Scarboro' deputation, and about a dozen other invited guests adjourned to the Council room, where the chairman of the Board of Health (Mr. Robt. Metcalfe) entertained the company, and a suitable list of complimentary toasts were submitted. "The efficiency of and success to the engine when required" was proposed by the chairman, who complimented the town on the possession of the newest and best means for extinguishing a fire, and in a long speech he showed the practical advantages which would accrue to insurers, who now had a right to certain deductions from the fire offices. Mr. Cleaver, of London, and Mr. J.L. Webster, the superintendent of the Fire brigade, &c., responded to the toast - Mr. Samuel King gave "The Subscribers," and Mr. William I'Anson responded. - Mr. Simpson, solicitor, proposed "The Town and trade," which was acknowledged by Mr. Russell; and Coucillor Woodhouse and Superintendent Pattison, of Scarboro', responded for "The Visitors." Other toasts followed.

York Herald, 22 December 1885

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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