The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence of Mary McKinnon'


This crime report begins: 'An Interesting Account of the Trial and Sentence of MARY McKINNON, who is to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 16th of April next, for the Murder of William Hewat, by Stabbing him in the Breast with a Table Knife, and her Body given for Public Dissection.' This was published in Edinburgh by James McLean and would have cost a penny to purchase.

Between 1800 and 1868, 206 women were publicly hanged in the UK. After this date women were hanged either within the jail or completely in private. In the year 1823, the year Mary McKinnon was executed 3 other women were hung: 2 of them, in Dublin and Berwick, for murder, and 1, in the Isle of Man, for accomplice to murder.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1823   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(34)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence of Mary McKinnon'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland