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Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'


This crime report begins: 'A full and particular account of the Trial and Sentence of John Thomson and David Dobie, carters, Gilmerton who are to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 18th of August 1830, for the Assault, Rape, Murder and Robbery of Margaret Paterson, and their Bodies to be given for dissection!'

This report about the Dobie and Thomson murder and is one of many covering this infamous case held by the National Library of Scotland. This sheet was printed for William Robertson, an Edinburgh Bookseller registered in the 1846 Edinburgh Trade Directory as having premises on Broughton Street. Often booksellers would commission pieces to be printed and then advertise the sheets in their windows. This would normally draw crowds and so could be seen as an early form of marketing and up-selling.

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(10)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'
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