The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside concerning the proceedings of the Circuit Court of Justiciary, Glasgow


This report of court proceedings begins: 'Trial and sentence of all the different persons who have been tried before the Circuit Court of Justiciary, which met here on Tuesday, 7th September.' It was published by John Muir, in Glasgow, in 1830.

Broadsides were a quick and cheap way to supply information that would be of interest to a wide section of the population. Particularly in the early eighteenth century, when taxes made newspapers too expensive for the working classes, broadsides fulfilled many of the same functions that today's local newspapers provide. This account of court proceedings from Glasgow in 1830 is a good example of a broadside providing a simple news service. The facts are laid out simply and concisely, much as they might be presented in a local newspaper today. There is none of the sensationalism that characterised some of the more lurid broadside accounts of murders and executions.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(56)
Broadside concerning the proceedings of the Circuit Court of Justiciary, Glasgow
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland