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Broadside entitled 'By Electric Telegraph: Rumoured Death of the Duke of Wellington'


This report begins: 'At an early hour yesterday evening the following intelligence reached town by electric telegraph, taken from a sixth edition of the Sun:- "His Grace the Duke of Wellington expired at half-past three this (Tuesday) afternoon at Walmer-Castle."' The broadside was published by Sanderson of Edinburgh, and the report was apparently taken from the 'Edinburgh Witness', which in turn had the 'Sun' newspaper as the source of the story. It is dated Wednesday, September 15th 1852, and at the foot of the broadside a handwritten annotation has added 'Confirmed by Electric Telegraph of Today - 15 September'.

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) was born in Dublin and educated at Eton. His early life combined soldiery and politics, and while Tory MP for Rye in Sussex he co-ordinated several important military victories in Europe. In 1815 he was hailed as a hero in Britain after commanding the army that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. From 1818 Wellington devoted himself to politics. He served as Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830, but his popularity with many suffered due to his refusal to condemn the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and his opposition to parliamentary reform in 1832. His death in 1852 was nevertheless marked by national mourning and a grand state funeral.This broadside shows the impact the telegraph had in spreading news around the country.

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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Date published: 1852   shelfmark: APS.5.200.02
Broadside entitled 'By Electric Telegraph: Rumoured Death of the Duke of Wellington'
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