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*All Dalton Heritage Trail artworks** including the logo, leaflet, map, signage art, films and photographs are copyrighted to the artist Rachel Capovila and Barrowfull. Permissions are granted for the use of the Dalton Heritage Trail and educational resources relating to the trail ONLY under the administration of DACH. Any other use or reproduction must have permissions from the artist.

**Except where stated and the copyright remains with the named eg photographer or writer.

Photo: Old Polioce Station – Ron Grierson


In 1841, law and order was maintained in Dalton by a single constable, P.C. William Robinson. Where his office was at the time is not known , but it is reasonable to assume that it was quite close to the lock-up on Goose Green. Later, after the lock-up had been demolished it is almost certain that the next place to be used for the detention of prisoners was a stone building which still exists on land behind Beddall’s newspaper shop. Presumably this would be about 1850, and it is likely that his lock-up was also the new police station. Within a few years of this date, the police station was situated in what is now a private house at the junction of Nelson street and Chapel Street. In 1876 John Smith was the sergeant resident at the police station in Nelson Street. By 1882 he had been promoted to the rank of inspector and had moved to a house in Chapel Street. His place at the police station had been taken by Sergeant Isaac Hellam. It may be that these two, assisted no doubt by at least one constable, were so efficient that the Dalton News could boast, “fortunately for the town there has been a marked absence of crime of all sorts” , a rather remarkable claim for a busy mining town.

Photo: Building Detail – Ron Grierson


A magistrates’ court was opened in August 1883, to ease the pressure on the Ulverston court, as it was constituted as being suitable for disposing of cases which could be dealt with by one magistrate.

As may be expected in a mining town, there were many cases of drunkenness, wife-beating, gambling etc., brought before the court, but of course, many other crimes were dealt with too. The following case, which was tried on 29 April 1899, was reported in the Dalton News of that date:

At Dalton on Saturday before Mr. Ed. Wadham, Phyllis Smith, a tramping hawker was charged in custody with telling fortunes to Miss E. Jones of Dalton, in order to impose on her. Miss Jones stated that the prisoner called at her house in Nelson Street, and offered for sale a quantity of lace, of which she bought to the value of 1s. 6d. After she had bought this, the accused then promised to tell her fortune. For this she offered her three-pence and sixpence, but the prisoner refused and asked for 2s 0d., and eventually she gave her that amount. She then asked her to place the coin on her hand, and after making several crosses upon it the prisoner “breathed” on the complainant’s hand, and asked her to wish three times. After going through this performance, she asked for another sixpence, and added that if she did not give it to her she would have bad luck for seven years and a day but if she gave it to her she would have a sovereign for it the same evening. The amount was forfeited, and the prisoner again asked her to wish three times, and consequently she left the house. Mr. Wadham, in delivering sentence, said it was a serious offence and he was afraid it was not the first time she had carried out the practice. He did not intend dealing harshly with her, and fined her 2s. 6d and costs or seven days in default. However, he considered the complainant should have more sense than to listen to her.”

The last case to be heard in the Dalton court was for a betting offence, when the magistrate was Mr. James Price. This was 31st October 1928 and marked the end of judicial courts in Dalton.

An elegant new police station was opened in Market Street in 1897 and continued in use until 1968 when a modern police situation near the cenotaph in Station Road was opened. Today, even this police station has closed and the police have a small base in Dalton Community Centre, ironically back in Nelson Street.

After standing empty for many years, the building began to show signs of neglect and rapidly became what can only be described as an eyesore. It changed, however, in 2002 when Tim Bell, a local entrepreneur, bought the building and began the formidable task of restoration. He eventually turned the building into Crown Court, a café with meeting room and a small tourist information centre, and this ran for a few years until 2011 when the project was abandoned. For a while St Mary’s Hospice took it over as café and shop before it became Nicha’s Thai Kitchen, a restaurant.

Taken and adapted with updates from ”A History of Dalton-in-Furness”, James E. Walton, 1984. Published by Phillimore & Co. Ltd, Chichester, Sussex

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Dalton is the ancient and historic capital of Furness and has approximately 8,000 residents at the current time. Ideally located less than thirty miles from the Lake District and close to the Irish Sea coast and nature reserves, Dalton is home to one of the Counties largest tourist attractions, South Lakes Wild Animal Park.