The dictionary tells us a scrapbook is 'a book with empty pages where you can stick newspaper articles, pictures, etc. that you have collected and want to keep.' So this is our 'scrapbook' where we put items of interest that either don't fit anywhere else or in which our research has only just begun. We hope you find something of interest here.

Albert James Smith - Inventor?

Albert James Smith lived at Barton Cottage. In 1881 he was described as unmarried, living with his sister, and his occupation as 'Land, houses, and dividends'. He may have had agricultural interests as he submitted a patent for his invention of an Improved Manure Distributor. Was this ever manufactured and did he team up with any of the agricultural implement makers in the town or district? Was this Albert James Smith's only invention? The 1891 and 1901 censuses record him 'living on his own means' and the 1911 census as a 'gardener'.

Chimney Sweeps

Not all, but many houses had a chimney and to maintain efficiency, the chimney had to be periodically swept. Chimneys were small and the flues sometimes had bends so they could navigate the room layout on upper floors of a building. From a practical viewpoint, it was only small boys who could carry out the cleaning, often apprenticed from a very early age. There were accidents – burning, getting stuck and illnesses caused by the soot including a cancer referred to as ‘chimney sweeps cancer’ caused by prolonged contact with soot in the boys scrotal area.

The method of sweeping was for the boy to wedge himself in the flue using his back and knees, and then with his hands using a scraper and brush remove the soot from the chimney. He would then shuffle up the chimney a few more inches and remove the soot, always working above his head. Flexible brushes had been invented but many believed these did not make such a good job of cleaning the chimney. Additionally, they could not be used where bends in the flue were sharp.

An Act in 1788 set the minimum age at which boys could be employed to climb and clean chimneys at 8 years. An 1834 Act set the minimum age at 10 and in 1840 this was changed to 21 although 16 year olds could be apprenticed. An Act in 1864 allowed 10 year olds to be employed but children had to be at least 16 to be present when chimneys were swept. A major issue with the legislation to this point is that there was no responsibility for inspections and policing.

The occasional breach of the Chimney Sweep Act came to the Petty Sessions. One such case appeared in the Yorkshire Gazette, 15 April 1843 - BREACH OF THE CHIMNEY SWEEPERS' ACT - Mrs Mary Stott, the wife of Charles Stott, of Malton, chimney-sweeper, appeared to answer a charge preferred against her by John Sanders, a rival sweep, for having, on the 5th inst., allowed a boy under the age of 21 years to ascend a chimney for the purpose of sweeping the same, contrary to the statute in such case made and provided. - The complainant failed in proving the case to the satisfaction of the bench, and the complaint was dismissed. We have attempted to establish the name of this boy and the 1841 census shows a Thomas Robinson, aged 15 (age likely rounded up for the purposes of recording the 1841 census) is living with Charles Stott (and his wife, Mary) at Church Hill, Old Maltongate. Thomas is described as a ‘Sweep’ so has presumably finished his apprenticeship. It is interesting to read the contents of his apprenticeship indenture - as published in the Yorkshire Gazette, 21 August 1909. The indenture is dated 16 June 1832.

In another case, John Ellis, chimney sweep of Malton, and Wm. Jackson, builder of Norton were charged in allowing a lad under twenty one to ascend a chimney for the purpose of cleaning it. Ellis had sent his son, a lad of about ten years, up the chimney of Mr. Jackson’s house, and the latter said he had permitted it, not knowing that he was doing wrong. They were fined 6d and 6s 6d costs in each case. (Richmond and Ripon Chronicle, 11 November 1871) The 1871 census shows John Ellis at Stebbins Lane, Malton, with three sons: John, 20; William, 17; Charles, 16; (all reocrded as chimney sweeps) and Thomas, 10. Thomas, with no occupation recorded, is likely the one who was sent up the chimney.

Finally, an Act of 1875 required all chimney sweepers to obtain a ‘licence’ from the chief officer of police.

Wife Wanted

The York Herald, dated 28 July 1804 carried an interesting advertisement - WIFE WANTED. It appeared as the very first advertisement on the first page, and was very likely placed by Mr Wood, the landlord of the Blue-Ball public house in Newbiggin. The advertisement yielded the desired result!

The marriage register for St. Leonard's records a marriage on 22 October 1804, by licence, between Richard Wood and Sarah Moley in the presence of Robert Barnby and John Douthwaite. The licence also records Sarah's surname as Moley. In 1822 the North Yorkshire Directory shows Sarah Wood as landlady - likely Richard has died. She is still there in 1828/29, as recorded in Pigot's National Commercial Directory . IBy 1840, Edward Wood, (a son?) is running the pub - White's Directory East and North Ridings.

The York Herald, Saturday 10th November 1804 carried the following report: "On Monday, the 22d of October laft, at Malton, Mr. R. Wood, of the Blue-Ball public-house, of that place, to Mrs. Sarah Murrill, late housekeeper to John Webb Wefton, Efq. Guildford, Surrey. - We have to notice, that this marriage took place in consequence of an advertisement for "A WIFE," which appeared in the York Herald, in July laft. The advertisement being read by the lady's maid, the immediately fhowed it to the housekeeper, telling her it would be a good match for her. After come little correfpondence, an interview took place at Grantham, and the lady was brought down to Malton, to fee the fituation. Every thing proving agreeable, the marriage was fpeedily consummated.-Seldom has any circumstance happened at Malton, which has excited more curiosity and attention; there is scarcely a person in the town or neighbourhood but has been at the Blue-Ball, to pay their refpects to the bride, who is a very handfome and moft refpectable woman.- Our Correfpondent concludes: "This modern way of procuring a wife, is much liked here; and I doubt not but you will have many more applications of the kind."

Butter Act 1743

In the 18th century the market in Malton had become a centre for the sale of butter but there was not ‘(as in fome other adjacent Markets) any particular Place provided and appointed within the said Town and Borough, to which fuch Butter fhall be brought, in order to be fearched, weighed and fealed before the fame be fold at the faid Market, and for want of which, great Frauds and Impofition have been made and committed by feveral Farmers, Dairymen and other Perfons trading in Butter, which have tended to the Difparagement of the faid Commodity, in the markets both home and Abroad, and to the great Prejudice of the fair Dealer, and of the Butter Trade in general.' An Act of Parliament was passed to address these issues.


From 1856, 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

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. (image: ©British Library NEWS5640 Malton Messenger 13 January 1900)

  • [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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Northallerton House of Correction, Hard Labour and the Treadmill

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 now the shopping and leisure development appropriately named ‘The Treadmills.’

  • [1] Yorkshire Gazette, 10 December 1859
  • [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
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