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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Unco Change'


Verse 1 begins: 'See yon braw bit laddie comin' rinnin' down the street, / Weel happit frae the caul' blast, an' a' sae clean an' neat: / His bonnet cocket on his head, his shoon sae tight an' clean'. This sheet was published by John Barr of Glasgow. 'Unco' is used in various ways by the Scots language but this context is conveys a sense of extreme and unfamiliar change.

John Barr worked in Glasgow as a lithographer, engraver and printer between 1841 and 1866. He moved premises five or six times in that period and twice worked with partners. Broadside production was best suited to unlicensed and uncommissioned printers as the constant turn-over in trade made up for the deficit in lucrative contracts. It is more unusual to find a printer, with such a range of skills and therefore presumably working further up the market, producing these ephemeral and cheap sheets.

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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Probable period of publication: 1841-1866   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(115)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Unco Change'
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