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Broadside concerning the riot outside Dr. Robert Knox?s house, Edinburgh over Burke and Hare

Commentary

This report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the Riot which took place in Edinburgh on Thursday last ; also of the Hoax played off on a Celebrated Doctor.'

The broadside tells of the riot that took place in Edinburgh on 12 February 1829, when a mob marched to the house of Dr. Robert Knox and demanded justice. Although Dr. Knox was the eminent anatomist who bought corpses at 10 a time from the infamous body-snatchers, Burke and Hare, he was never prosecuted. His career, however, was effectively destroyed. It appears from this riot that the public considered him to be an accomplice - hence the stones thrown at his house. This broadside contains a darkly humorous sting in the tale, as it concludes with a funny story concerning how a local anatomist was persuaded to buy a dead sow to help advance his studies.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable date of publication: 1829   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(49)
Broadside concerning the riot outside Dr. Robert Knox?s house, Edinburgh over Burke and Hare
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