This broadside report begins: 'Full, True and Particular Account of the seizure of the Body of an Old Woman, on Saturday Night, the 8th instant, at the head of Infirmary Street, on its way to Surgeon's Square; with an acconnt of that Horrid and Awful event which took place at Falkirk where a Woman was carried off by three men and supposed to be Burked.' Although no date of publication is included, the subject matter suggests it was probabably printed in the 1830s. The sheet was published by John Campbell of Edinburgh.
Most likely written around the time when Burke and Hare terrorised Edinburgh (c. 1829-30), this broadside report would have scared the public with its dark tales of the 'Resurrectionists' (i.e. grave robbers). The writer sensationally describes an incident whereby a carriage was seized by a suspicious Edinburgh mob near the anatomy theatre, and the body of a 50-year-old woman discovered inside the coach. In this atmosphere of mass hysteria, the word 'burke' gatecrashed its way into the lexicon - and appears in the sub-title at the foot of this broadside. At the time, it could be that this word was a synonym for 'grave robbing'.
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 period of publication:
1830-1839 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(123)
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