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Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Accident, and Loss of Life'


This broadside report begins: 'A Full, True and Particular account of that Dreadful Accident which occurred in this city on Saturday afternoon, by the falling in of a house in Picardy Place, when crowded with company of the first respectability attending the sale of the Lord Eldon's Pictures, -- Giving the full particulars of that melancholy catastrophe, with the names of the unfortunate sufferers.' Although no publication details are included, the reference to the late Lord Eldon suggests the sheet was published in, or around, 1838.

Picardy Place, which is in the centre of Edinburgh, is the location where this tragic accident took place. Although the attention-grabbing headline suggests that this was a major disaster, there was only one fatality, a banker called Alexander Smith. However, the sheet also contains an extensive list of those who were injured, including many members of genteel Edinburgh society. As an 'Old Tory' MP and Lord Chancellor, John Scott, Lord Eldon (1751-1838) was an important figure in Georgian public life, and was famous for drafting the Regency bill of 1788 and for opposing political reform. The National Library of Scotland's collection contains another broadside that also describes this tragic accident.

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 published: 1838-   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(139)
Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Accident, and Loss of Life'
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