Malton Happenings

Malton was the administrative and commercial centre of a large agricultural district. National events were celebrated, things which we might now consider trivial were big news then.

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. Mr Brown recorded all sorts of things: marriages, deaths, fires, celebrations etc.

Malton Celebrates Royal Events

There was nothing like a royal event to enthuse the people of the town and surrounding area. Invariably the clergy, landowners and leading tradesmen were involved in the organisation of local celebrations but there would be processions and gatherings for all.

Queen Victoria was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom and Great Britain on 20th June 1837 and on Monday 26th June 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. [1]

Queen Victoria's Coronation took place a year later on Thursday 28th June 1838 in Westminster Abbey. Naturally, there were celebrations 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 full report from the Yorkshire Gazette [2].

Queen Victoria's Jubilee was in 1887 and 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 [3]. 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 [4]. 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 [5]. One of the Guardians of the Poor, George Foster, presented sixpence to each pauper on out-relief [6].

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The Coronation of Edward VII took place in 1902. Robert Metcalfe chaired the Malton Coronation Celebration Committee one achievement of which was to produce the Malton Coronation Souvenir Booklet. 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." [7] 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." [8] 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 [9].

George V died on 20th January 1936. The Coronation of George VI took place on Wednesday 12th May 1937 and 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 . The back page gives the names of those involved in the organisation of the celebrations.

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  • [1] York Herald, 1 July 1837
  • [2] Yorkshire Gazette of 30 June 1838
  • [3] Driffield Times, 19 February 1887
  • [4] York Herald, 26 February 1887
  • [5] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 1 April 1887
  • [6] York Herald, 27 June 1887
  • [7] Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 28 June 1902
  • [8] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 8 September 1902
  • [9] Yorkshire Evening Post, 28 August 1902

So what was Christmas like in Malton 100 or more years ago. See what Malton traders were offering:

The 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]. 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
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