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Broadside entitled 'Execution of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'


This report begins: 'A Full, True and Particular Account of the Execution of David Dobie and John Thomson, for the Murder and Robbery of Margaret Paterson, near Gilmerton, on the night of Saturday the 17th of April, 1830, and who in pursuance of the Sentence of the High Court of Justiciary, were hanged at the head of Libberton?s Wynd, Edinburgh, on the morning of Wednesday the 18th August, 1830, and their bodies afterwards given to Dr Monro, for public dissection.' This sheet was published by Forbes and Owen of Edinburgh.

With rather frightening sketches of the two condemned men underneath the broadside?s headline, this sheet dramatically tells of the execution of murderers, David Dobie and John Thomson. The anonymous writer first gives details of the crime, before describing the behaviour of the men in 'the condemned cell'. The emphasis in this section is very much on atonement and redemption through religion. The 'Second Edition' part of the sheet describes the execution and focuses on how the men conducted themselves on the scaffold.

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: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(66)
Broadside entitled 'Execution of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'
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