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Broadside entitled 'Lives and Transactions of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'


This report begins: 'Full, True and Particular Account of the Lives and Transactions of David Dobie and John Thomson, the Gilmerton Murderers, together with a very full and most correct account of their conduct and declarations in the Lock-up-house, on the night before the execution, and on their last moments on the scaffold, all extracted from the Courant Newspaper.' No publisher is named for this broadside, though the story has been sourced from the 'Courant' newspaper.

The Gilmerton Murder was a notoriously heinous crime, and a large number of broadsides by various printers were published on this chilling subject. This broadside is especially interesting in that it offers the reader a quick overview of the murderers? early lives, before describing the crime and concluding with their execution. The broadside's strong focus on the pair's early abandonment of religion perhaps reveals much about the Calvinist nature of Scottish society at this time.

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(68)
Broadside entitled 'Lives and Transactions of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'
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