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Broadside entitled 'Execution of Doolan and Redding'

Commentary

Following on from the title, this execution report continues: 'For the cruel Murder of John Green, ganger or superintendent of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway at Crosshill, on the 10th December last; with a brief account of their Life, Trial, and a short sketch of the horrid deed for which these unfortunate men suffered the last penalty of the law.' The sheet was published by Thomas Walker of Edinburgh in April 1841.

This broadside tells of the tragic end that befell Dennis Doolan and Patrick Redding, who were executed in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, on the 23rd of April 1841. The two railway workers were found guilty of murdering their supervisor, John Green, during the building of the Glasgow to Edinburgh railway. A third man, James Hickie, was also found guilty, but was later reprieved. It seems that the authorities were worried that there would be trouble at this execution, and several regiments of soldiers were appointed to control the crowd of 50,000. The execution went ahead without any trouble, however, and the pair were executed by John Murdoch, who received 24 for performing this work - which is about 1,170 in today's terms.

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: 1841   shelfmark: APS.4.200.05
Broadside entitled 'Execution of Doolan and Redding'
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