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Broadside entitled 'Execution and Confession'


This report begins: 'An account of the Execution of David Dobie and John Thomson, at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 18th August, 1830, with an account of their behaviour in Jail and on the scaffold.'

The simple fact that this broadside is the tenth one in a long sequence dedicated to the story of the murder at Gilmerton, shows that publishers were well aware that crime broadsides made the most money. Hence the desire to drag out a horrific crime story for as long as possible, until readers expressed a wish for a new sensation. This broadside describes how the two condemned men conducted themselves at their public execution, and uses the men?s final words about what can happen to a person when intoxicated with 'the demon drink' as a chilling warning to others.

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 published: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(65)
Broadside entitled 'Execution and Confession'
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