This news report begins 'A Melancholy account of a Female Prostitute, who died in a deplorable condition on the South Bridge Edinburgh, on the 18th of this present month, April, 1824; also, an account of her life an transactions for the last 21 years: this unfortunate victim of dissipation was born of respectable parents in Edinburgh, and received an education fitted to adorn the sex.'
Moral instruction was common feature of broadsides. In this example the report is written from the point of view of a dying prostitute. Although it is stressed that she was 'well educated' it is unlikely that the prostitute was the author of the piece. It is possible that an anonymous author wrote it after encountering and interviewing a dying prostitute. It is also possible that the prostitute is a figment of the author's imagination, a symbol warning women of the dangers of prostitution. The language used in the report suggests that the author was someone with strong religious beliefs or connections.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1824 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(56)
View larger image