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Broadside list and public announcement concerning horse racing on the sands at Leith, Edinburgh, in 1728

Commentary

This broadside, a hybrid of list and public announcement, begins: 'List of the Horses book'd, That are to run for the Fifty Pound Sterling Plate, set out by the Town of Edinburgh, to be run for on Friday the 14. of June instant, on the Sands at Leith.' After naming the horses, riders and owners, the writer tells his audience the exact time when the race will start. Although the sheet was published in Edinburgh in 1728, the publisher is not identified.

Prior to the building of the docks at Leith in 1806, the sandy beaches that previously existed there had been perfect for horse-racing, recreational pursuits and military parades. Indeed, 'The Caledonian Mercury' (c. 1720) often carried public notices regarding horse-racing events on the beach at Leith. There are records of races on Leith sands going back to 1504. The list of owners here is particularly revealing, with a farmer, lord, earl, knight of the realm and an esquire all competing to win the 50 prize - about 4,700 in today's money. The building of the docks at Leith meant that these traditional horse-racing events were forced to move along the coast to the nearby town of Musselburgh.

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: 1728   shelfmark: RB.l.106(031)
Broadside list and public announcement concerning horse racing on the sands at Leith, Edinburgh, in 1728
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