This news report begins: 'The whole particulars of that fight between Johnston and Pat Holton, which took place yesterday, Monday 7th March 1825, for a heavy sum of money, about 12 miles from Edinburgh.' The name of the broadside publisher is not given, but a note beneath the introduction reads: 'Extracted from the Account given in this day's Edin. Observer.
The National Library of Scotland holds another broadside report of this prizefight that is almost identical to this one apart from the introductions. This is revealing about the way broadside publishers operated. In cases where they sourced material from newspapers, often little attempt was made to paraphrase or adapt the original reports. Immediacy was more important than originality, so two broadside publishers might compete to sell virtually the same words, as in this case. There was no properly regulated or enforced copyright law in Britain until the early twentieth century.
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: L.C.1268
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