This broadside news report begins: 'Account of that Destructive Calamity which occurred at the Broomielaw on Tuesday evening, when the ice broke the Mooring to which the vessels were attached, and about forty vessels were set adrift, running and knocking each other to pieces, and a number went down. The number of lives lost has not been ascertained. Such a calamity never before occurred in the River Clyde.' The sheet was published by William Carse of Glasgow on the 9th of February, 1831, and the story is sourced from 'The Glasgow Free Press' of that same day. The sheet was published in February, 1831, by William Carse of Glasgow.
This broadside tells the harrowing story of how floating ice combined with a strong current in the River Clyde broke the moorings of many ships, whereupon they collided while moving quickly down-river. The sheet goes on to provide a list of the ships that sank, forty in total, but says the number of deaths is not yet known. This list of ships also gives details of the class of vessel, allowing historians to ascertain the type of trade that was occurring at the Broomielaw at this time. These freak weather conditions meant that residents in the Saltmarket and Briggate areas had to evacuate their houses due to flooding caused by the thaw.
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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1831 shelfmark: F.3.a.13(61)
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