This execution notice begins: 'An account of the Trial and Sentence, and Execution of DANIEL GRIMSHIRE, which took place at Reading, in Berkshire, on Thursday, 4th March 1824, for the Cruel and Inhuman Murder of his own child, by pouring Boiling Hot Water down its Throat'.
This rather grim report does not dwell on many of the most compelling aspects of the crime, but rather simply sets the scene and conveys the facts. The child's name, age or sex is never mentioned, perhaps reflecting nineteenth century attitudes towards children. It is unusual to find an incident of a man committing infanticide, although there are many reports held in the National Library of Scotland's collection, covering women and their stories. This report travelled from Berkshire, which suggests that it was shocking enough at the time to be recounted.
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:
1824 shelfmark: F.3.a.14(27b)
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