The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Lamentation'


This report begins: 'Lamentation of George Giechrist, who is to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday morning the 3d. August instant for the Robbing of the Prince Regent Coach, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, on the 24th. of March 1831.' This sheet was published by George Craig of Edinburgh. A 'lamentation' was an act of expressing grief, regret and perhaps atonement.

After a brief introduction, this broadside ballad dramatically tells the woeful tale of one George Giechrist, who was sentenced to death for robbing the Prince Regent Coach. The verses tell of a robber seeking redemption, and the tone of this piece reads very much like a last confession to a priest. The difference is, however, that this broadside would have been read by numerous people, since crime broadsides were very popular with the public. As with many other broadsides, therefore, it ends up reading like a hybrid of last confession and a stern warning to others to stick to the path of righteousness.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1831   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(52)
Broadside entitled 'Lamentation'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland