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Broadside entitled 'Execution of Mary M'Kinnon'


This execution notice begins: '16th April, 1823; with her own account of her Life.' It was published by Mayne and Co of Glasgow.

Mary MacKinnon was sentenced for stabbing a customer, William Howat, to death in her public house and brothel, on South Bridge, Edinburgh. Howat, a clerk by trade, initiated a drunken brawl which MacKinnon ended with a domestic knife. There are other accounts held in the National Library of Scotland's collection which detail the events on the day of her execution. Here, however, more of her personal details and life are divulged to satisfy the public's morbid curiosity.

Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.

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Date of publication: 1823   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(049)
Broadside entitled 'Execution of Mary M'Kinnon'
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