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Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Accident!'


This news report begins: A Full and Authentic Account of the Dreadful and Fatal ACCIDENT that happened the COMET Steam-Boat, on her passage from Inverness and Fort-William to Glasgow, yesterday morning, Friday the 21st October, 1825, when, off Kempock Point, she was suddenly Struck by the Steam Boat Aya, and instantly went down, by which melancholy circumstance, SEVENTY Human Beings were in a single moment precipitated into Eternity!!!' The publisher was William Robertson, the 'Flying Stationer', of Edinburgh.

The 'Comet', designed by Henry Bell (1767-1830) from Helensburgh and built in 1811, was the world's first successfully operational passenger steamship. An earlier Scottish steam vessel, the Charlotte Dundas, had been withdrawn because it had caused too much damage to the Forth and Clyde canal. Initially the 'Comet' operated only in the Firth of Clyde, but after being lengthened it was switched to the route between Inverness and Glasgow. The original 'Comet' was wrecked on rocks off Oban in 1820, and it was the replacement vessel that sank with many losses of life in 1825, as described in this broadside.
The 'flying stationer' referred to in the imprint was another name for a seller or hawker of broadsides and chapbooks. 'Walking stationer' and 'Running stationer' were other terms used.
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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Date of publication: 1825   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(61)
Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Accident!'
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