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Broadside entitled 'Awful Murder in Bridgeton'


This crime report begins: 'An account of a most cruel and inhuman Murder, which was committed at Mile End, Bridgeton, on Monday evening last, on the body of Sarah M'Viccar, a fine young woman about 18 years of age, who was stabbed in the throat by her Sweetheart, Charles Campbell, in a fit of jealousy, and instantly fell dead at his feet - 5th December, 1825.' The sheet was published in 1825 by John Muir of Glasgow.

With its reference to Shakespeare's 'green-eyed monster' of jealousy (quoted from the play, 'Othello'), this broadside reports a terrible murder that occurred when an older man killed his young sweetheart during a jealous rage. Though originally lovers and co-habitees, Sarah McViccar and Charles Campbell had parted following an argument. Campbell must have been obsessed with his former sweetheart, however, for after seeing her sitting on the knee of a supposed rival in a public house, he abruptly left the room, only to return later to plunge a knife into the girl's throat. Given the dominant theme of an older man trying to control the behaviour of a younger woman, the parallel with Othello seems particularly apt.

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.

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Date of publication: 1825   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(084)
Broadside entitled 'Awful Murder in Bridgeton'
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