The broadside news report begins: 'A Full, True and Particular Account of that most Desperate and well fought BATTLE which took place between SAM BYRNE and DEAF BURKE, on Thursday last, 150 miles on this side of London upon the Great North Road, for L.150 a side,- when Deaf Burke was declared Champion, after a desperate battle of 27 rounds, which lasted one hour and fifteen minutes.' The sheet was published in 1833 by Francis McCartney of Edinburgh.
In its coverage of a heavyweight boxing contest, this broadside reads much like the type of report one would find in the sports pages of today's newspapers. The broadside contains a round by round report on a boxing match that took place in May 1833 between James 'Deaf' Burke (1809-45) and Simon 'Sam' Byrne. Although Byrne was the bigger and heavier man, Burke knocked him out in round 28, after fighting for 75 minutes. Tragically, however, the fight took a terrible toll on Byrne, and he died three days later from his wounds. In an attempt to save his prize-fighting career, Burke emigrated to America. He quickly returned to England, however, where, impoverished, he died of tuberculosis in 1845.
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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