RECENTLY, I was looking at an old black and white photo of Malton and one of the things I noticed was the dramatic amount of exciting and beautiful hand-drawn signs that adorned almost every building. Today the buildings are largely the same, but we have far fewer signs.

This week a new sign arrived in Malton, directing people to Navigation Wharf. It is admittedly a tiny change to the townscape but hopefully it is a significant one.

Let me explain. Over the last few years we have been trying to draw to the town innovative traders, producers and shopkeepers.

This is crucial and will continue, but on its own is not enough. What is also required is to continue to make Malton even more attractive. To cherish and embellish Malton’s old buildings, its characterful streets and its heritage.

New colours on buildings have been appearing around town and I hope in a few years Malton will be known as one of the most brightly coloured and jolly places about. There have also been other new signs of change.

The talented team at Mann Creative are responsible for new shop fronts and signage at Florian Poirot’s and Rare Bird Distillery in Talbot Yard and La Pizzeria in Wheelgate.

It may seem a small point but what I have learnt from Mann Creative and indeed from travelling to places such as Burnham Market and Portmeirion in North Wales is how attractive colours and signage can really lift a town. Creating a sense of place, a charming, calming, beautiful feeling.

The Navigation Wharf sign is a small part of this process but I do believe that by using a sign at the entrance to town like this it creates a sense of place and further strengthens Malton’s appeal.

Other signs do this too. There is the large Talbot Yard Food Court sign, which was meant to mimic an old advertising “ghost” sign.

Unless you look closely you may be fooled into thinking it has been there for decades.

There is a charming red Market Place sign a little further down Yorkersgate, and, of course, the huge Visit Malton cow in Newgate.

Quite a surprise at one end of town, but hopefully something that (while it has a serious message to convey) also brings a little humour and fun into the proceedings.

But coloured buildings, good design and well-drawn signs are not enough. What is also needed, I believe, is art in Malton.

While food has done a great deal to encourage new footfall and businesses into town we must not rest on our laurels and we must engage with a new audience.

There is already the start of this happening but there is much more to be done.

There is a new shell grotto being constructed at York House with clams, cockles, limpets, winkles, mussels, scallops shells and lots of lovely Italian volcanic rock.

This will be an attraction in itself. My dream is that in a few years there will be a series of pieces of public art around the town that will encourage people to wander and further fall in love with Malton.

A town is a living and breathing thing and I hope with a few artistic flourishes we can help make Malton even better.

Why not pop along to Visit Malton CIC’s monthly food market on May 12 or the Malton Food Lovers Festival across the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and see what you can discover?

For more information, go to