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Broadside entitled 'Supposed Murder'


This report begins: 'Account of that Horrid and Barbarous Murder, which a Baker supposed he had committed on the body of his Wife in Glasgow, on Tuesday last, the 15th March, 1827, and for which he has undergone a public investigation.' This report was sourced from the 'Free Press', 17th March 1827.

Although this broadside leads with the headline of 'Horrid and Barbarous' Murder, it proves to be no such thing. In fact it tells, in a light-hearted manner, of a man, bearing in mind he is a baker, who is physically violent towards his wife, 'on receiving some slight provocation from his wife, determined to knead the soft dough of her breasts and sides, so as to make her better bred'. He is momentarily startled into believing his wife is dead by a group of neighbours in the hope that he will treat her better in the future. A second report is provided at the end of the sheet, telling of a man who offers the use of his parlour for the body of his dead nephew. An ulterior motive is uncovered, however, when the man admits his intention to sell the body to the Anatomists. This would have played on people's very real concerns about body-snatching at this time.

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(34)
Broadside entitled 'Supposed Murder'
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