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]

Whether there were multiple theatres or a series of short-lived replacements is not clear. However, another theatre was announced in July 1814. 'THEATRE TO LET THE NEW THEATRE at Malton being nearly complete, it is intended to receive Proposals for the same, on or before the 31st of August next. Any Manager who could arrange his Circuit so as to be at Malton on the Eve of Michaelmas, and stay until after Martinmas, would find this Theatre a desirable acquisition. The opening at the Green Curtain is 16 feet by 15, and the house is calculated to hold £40. It may be inspected any day after the 1st August; and further Particulars known on application to Mr JAMES GIBSON, Bookseller, Malton July 23, 1814' [2] This theatre is likely to be the one in the Assembly Rooms as it is consistent with the date of when the first stone was laid " ... on Wednesday last the first stone of the public rooms and theatre at Malton was laid by Samuel Henry Copperthwaite, Esq; Earl Fitzwilliam having, with his usual liberality, made a present of the ground to the subscribers" [3]

A 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? [4]

In 1856, The Royal Adelphi Theatre was apparently in the Cattle market. Whether this advertisement is for a temporary or permanent presence is uncertain. Image ©British Library, Malton Messenger 29 March 1856.

In 1879, an advertisement appears in The Era "WANTED, USEFUL PEOPLE, Lady or Gentleman to sing between. To save time, send lowest terms. Address: Proprietor, John Hughes, Victoria Theatre, Market-place, Malton. [5]

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 neatest that any provincial town can boast" [6].

A programme was produced for 'amateur theatricals' at the Theatre Royal in 1888. This theatre was used for a wide variety of productions over the years.

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. [7]

  • [1] York Herald, 22 February 1806
  • [2] Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette, 23 July 1814
  • [3] Stamford Mercury, 13 May 1814
  • [4] Sheffield Independent, 6 December 1823
  • [5] The Era, 7 September 1879
  • [6] York Herald, 30 September 1881
  • [7] Yorkshire Evening Post, 1 August 1912
My Image
My Image
My Image
©British Library NEWS5640 Malton Messenger 10 February 1900
Malton Picture Hall

Maltonians gained a cinema in 1915. A detailed history of the establishment and development of cinemas in Malton and Norton has been researched by Larraine Williams.

In September 1914, it was reported that 'The building of the new Picture House in Yorkersgate, on the site of the Corn Exchange, is now proceeding apace. The demolition is practically complete, and the sites of two cottages have been taken in at the back.' [1]

All local lovers of the cinematograph will learn with interest that the new Exchange Picture Hall at Malton (pending an order from the Malton magistrates on Saturday, the 13th inst.), is to be opened on Monday, February 15th. For months past, workmen have been engaged on the deconstruction of the premises so well known as the Corn Exchange. As result of their labours, a complete transformation has been effected, and those who were familiar with the cold and cheerless conditions of the old building would hardly recognise it in its altered and comfortable appearance. The transformation is, indeed, striking, as the Corn Exchange was renowned for its coldness and forbidding aspect, and was regarded as something in the nature of a 'white elephant.' The corn merchants would have none of it, at Martinmas it was given a wide berth bu the majority of the farm servants, and it was relegated to the use of politicians of all shades of opinion, and for the holding of jumble sales or occasionally a poultry and cat show. Now it is pleasing to see the building performing a useful work in the town once more. The work of restoration has been complete in every respect and no expense has been spared. Fortunately, the alterations have not been confined to the interior, and the external improvements are a decided acquisition to the appearance of Yorkersgate. The heavy forbidding front has given place to an attractive facade, which, when illuminated, will prove a brilliant site. The entrance is charmingly arranged, being fitted with a mahogany front with swinging doors, whilst the floor is paved with black and white marble tiles, and the decorations of the entrance hall are tastefully carried out in white and gold. The interior presents a scene of luxury and comfort, and fully justifies the opinion of being one of the most up-to-date picture houses in Yorkshire. The screen is situated at the street entrance of the building, and the floor is sloped sufficiently to allow of a clear view being obtained from any part of the house. Seating accommodation is provided for 500 persons, and tip-up seats, upholstered in red velvet, are provided. The proscenium is carpeted, and the decorations of the walls and ceiling are executed in taste and harmony, and are a credit to the contractors. The exits are six in number. The hall can be cleared in two minutes, and as a Malton magistrate described it, 'The hall is the safest in Yorkshire.' The premises are practically fireproof, and the inhabitants of the district need have no fear in attending. One of the comforts essential to every place of entertainment is the heating, and in this the management have been successful in installing gas radiators, which will keep the building perfectly warmed. The lighting arrangements also leave nothing to be desired. A powerful Westinghouse electric generator has been installed, and the electric lights have been tastefully arranged. One of the latest and best projectors has been secured, and with up-to-date pictures, which the management intend to provide, there is no doubt that the Exchange Picture Hall will prove a tremendous 'draw.' The services of Mrs. Saville have been secured as accompanist. It might be added that the building has been equipped with up-to-date sanitary arrangements. The work has been successfuly carried out by the following:- Excavating and masonry, Mr. Anthony Lyons, Norton; Engine and electrical appliances, The Westinghouse Co.; Lighting, Mr. A. English, Leeds; and painting and decorating, Messrs. Allen Bros., Malton. In conclusion, a word or two about the 'bill of fare' may not be inopportune. The management intend to secure the most up-to-date pictures, and the opening of the hall is to be marked by the showing of two exclusives viz., 'Brewsters Millions,' and the 'Lure of London.' A continuous programme is to be provided, which will be changed twice weekly, while a matinee will be given every Saturday afternoon. From the above it will be realised that the Exchange Picture Hall is well equipped in every way, and a successful future may be safely predicted for it.[2]

Maltonians went on to enjoy all the latest films, including those starring Charles Chaplin such as 'Pay Day' a 1922 short film written by, starring and directed by Charles Chaplin [3]

  • [1] Malton Messenger, 19 September 1914
  • [2] Malton Messenger, 6 February 1915
  • [3] Malton Messenger, 6 November 1923
My Image
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.

My Image

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.

My Image
©British Library NEWS6512 Malton Messenger 22 April 1871

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

This website is constructed using RapidWeaver. Specific theme design, 'Aspen' is © Nick Cates Design
Site last updated 29th January 2020
Contact me