The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Fire in London'


This report begins: 'Full and correct account of that dreadful and awful Fire which happened at the house of Lord Walsingham, in Cavendish Square, London, on the morning of Wednesday last, when his Lordship's body was burned to ashes, and Lady Walsingham, to save her life, had jumped over [i.e. out of] a window, and her mangled body was found in the back yard, and she died in a few hours.' The publisher of the broadside is not noted, but its source is given as the 'Caledonian Mercury'. The sheet was priced at one penny.

The broadside refers to a fire at 55 Upper Harley Street, London, that claimed the life of Lord Walsingham at the age of 55. Contemporary sources, including this report taken from the 'Caledonian Mercury', report that George de Grey, the third Lord Walsingham (1776-1831), and his wife Matilda Methuen both died as a consequence of the fire in the early hours of 27 April 1831. An inquest which took place later that day concluded that the deaths of the deceased had been 'caused accidentally and by misfortune'. It was subsequently revealed that Lord Walsingham had been in poor health and on medication, and may not have been in a fit state to save himself when the fire broke out in his bedroom.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable date published: 1831   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(085)
Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Fire in London'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland