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Broadside entitled 'Second Edition: Execution'


This broadside report of a confession and execution begins: 'Full, true and Correct Account of the Execution of James Gow, Shoemaker, residing in Bull's Turnpike Stair, High Street, and Thomas Beveridge, blacksmith, residing in Little Jack's Close, Canongate, who was executed his day, the 2d of December, for the cruel and bloody murder of their wives;' It was published by Forbes & Co. in Edinburgh.

The publishers of broadsides were aware that a particularly 'big' or sensational story would retain the public interest over several days or weeks and sometimes several broadsides would be produced covering one case. We can infer from the paragraph beginning 'Beveridge, who our readers will recollect...' that this broadside is not the first to have been produced by this particular publisher on the subject of these murders. The public enthusiasm for murder cases and executions is also made apparent by the reference within the broadside report to the 'great concourse of people assembled' for the hangings. It was customary for broadsheet authors to comment on the size of the crowd at an execution.

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: 1832-1833   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(69)
Broadside entitled 'Second Edition: Execution'
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