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Broadside entitled 'The Recent Gilmerton Murder!'


This crime report begins: 'The Latest Account of interesting particulars relative to these most Iniquitous and Horrid Transactions, which lately took place near Gilmerton, in the County of Edinburgh. / (Extracted from the North Briton Newspaper of this day, Wednesday, 5th May 1830).' This sheet was published by John Craig.

This broadside contains details of the events which led to the rape, robbery and murder of Margaret Paterson by two carters, David Dobie and John Thomson in 1803. The information was extracted from a newspaper, not an uncommon practice due to the lack of copyright laws. John Craig the commissioner, eventually had a newspaper office in Lauriston Street, Edinburgh during the 1840s and 50s. There are other broadsides held by the National Library of Scotland which cover this case.

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: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(8)
Broadside entitled 'The Recent Gilmerton Murder!'
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