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Broadside entitled 'Murder and Robbery'


This crime report begins: 'An Account of a most Horrid Murder, supposed to be commited on the body of Mr MARK DOW, a respectable Shoemaker in Leith Street, Edinburgh, on Wednesday Evening the 10th, or early on Thursday morning, the 11th January, 1827, who was found dead nearly naked, at the bottom of a stair, north west corner of Bank Street, with a large wound on his head.' This account is 'copied from the "Edinburgh Observer", Newspaper of this day, which is the only authentic notification yet published of this melancholy affair'. The broadsheet seen here was printed in Edinburgh for William Henry, on 12 January 1827.

By far the most popular broadsides were those covering crime. The more heinous the crime, the more copies sold. Typically, for the more sensational malefactions, a sequence of broadsides were produced detailing the crime, later discoveries or particulars, the trial, last dying speeches, and the execution. Also included in the National Library of Scotland's collection is a broadside covering the trial and sentence of Allan Grant, James Kenny Stewart, Mary Muirhead and Isabella Kerr or Gray, all four of whom were accused of the murder of Mark Dow.

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 of publication: 1827   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(17)
Broadside entitled 'Murder and Robbery'
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