This report begins: 'The two unfortunate men now under sentence of Death in the Calton Jail, and who are to be executed at Edinburgh, on the 18th of August 1830,and their bodies to be given to Dr. Monro for dissection, for the assault, murder and robbery of Margaret Paterson.'
Part of a sequence of broadsides dedicated to a terrible murder that took place near Gilmerton, this broadside provides its readers with ink drawings of the guilty men and their lamentations in verse form. It appears that major crime broadsides followed a regular pattern and style, probably to make as much money out of the story as was possible before interest waned. After the news story of the crime, there would be broadsides reporting the trial and sentence. Following that, the reader would be taken into 'the condemned cell' to learn how the prisoner was bearing up and to hear their lamentation, usually in the form of a ballad. The story of the crime would end with reports of the execution.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.
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Date of publication:
1830 shelfmark: F.3.a.14(63)
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