This crime report begins: 'The whole particulars of that daring Robbery . which was committed on the Stirling Mail, on Saturday last with an account of the apprehension of one of the Robbers.'
On Saturday the 18th October, probably during the 1820s, the Stirling-Edinburgh mail coach was robbed whilst it stopped at Kirkliston. Three men took £10,000 cash from the boot while the staff were engaged on business. This sort of story, with its detailed description of the strategy, its seedier allusions (to the brothel for example) and the arrest of witnesses and accomplices, would have made compulsive reading. Audience were looking to be entertained especially as the growth of city populations meant that local gossip was harder to diffuse.
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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