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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Law and Order

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]

  • [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


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. York Herald, 14 December, 1867

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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