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Broadside entitled 'Horrid Murder'


This report begins: 'A true and particular account of William and Alexander Thomson, two brothers, who were hanged upon the new drop of Exeter, on Friday, 28th. May 1830 for the murder of their father.' It was published by W. Robertson of Edinburgh, in 1830.

This broadside provides a good opportunity to study some of the recurrent structural features of broadside crime reports. At the top of the page are two striking woodcuts showing a criminal being hanged in front of a huge crowd, and a building that is presumably a courthouse. The report itself has a fairly standard structure, a short introduction, followed by an account of the crime and the trial, and then a description of the execution, with particular emphasis on the convicts' last words and attitudes. At the foot of the page, the printer, finding some further space remaining, has added a short unrelated item.

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: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(102)
Broadside entitled 'Horrid Murder'
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