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Broadside entitled 'Verses'


This report begins: 'Verses On The Melancholy Death of John White, his Wife, and Four Children, who perished in the present Snow Storm, Except one infant, who was found sucking the breast of its Dead Mother, near Pennycuick, on Wednesday morning last.' This sheet was printed by James Docherty of Edinburgh.'

Priced at one penny, this broadside tells of the tragic fate that befell the White family, who all died in a snowstorm while travelling to Penicuik, near Edinburgh. It seems that John White was a handloom weaver by trade. Following the invention and mass manufacture of weaving machinery, handloom weavers were forced to become itinerant workers, and they suffered terrible hardships as they searched for work.

In addition to including a prose account of the tragedy, this broadsheet also contains an account of the story in verse. It is interesting to consider why the story was repeated in different formats. It could be that an individual would read out the broadside to listeners, and that the verses helped to make the story more dramatic. This broadside is further embellished with several images, though, as so often happened, these graphics have nothing to do with the story and appear incongruous.

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Probable date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(46)
Broadside entitled 'Verses'
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