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Broadside concerning the execution of John Howison


This account begins: 'An Account of the Behaviour, Confession and Execution of John Howison, who was executed at Edinburgh, this morning, Saturday, the 21st January, 1832, for the Inhuman Murder of an old Woman, in her own house, at Cramond.'

In the first paragraph of this broadside reference is made to the execution of Gow and Beveridge. James Gow and Robert Beveridge were both executed on the 2nd December 1831 for murdering their respective wives. Another broadside in the National Library of Scotland's collection offers Gow's dying speech. The broadside seen here is decorated by a woodcut showing a hanged man. Woodcuts were printed from a design cut in relief along the length of the grain. They were often rather crudely made and generally lacked much detail. Printers were renowned for reusing the limited selection of woodcuts in their possession. Whilst in this instance the woodcut is appropriate, in many cases the illustration selected bore no relevance to the topic of the broadside.

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: 1832   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(20)
Broadside concerning the execution of John Howison
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