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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This report begins 'A Full and Particular Account of the Execution of W. BURKE, who was Hanged at Edinburgh on Wednesday the 28th January 1829; also, an account of his conduct and behaviour since his condemnation, and on the Scaffold.' The broadside was sold for one penny. It does not carry a date of publication nor the name of the publisher.

Contained on this broadside is an evocative report of the last hours of William Burke. Burke and his colleague William Hare were responsible for sixteen murders, motivated by the money they could earn by selling the bodies on to anatomists at Edinburgh's medical school. Hare saved himself from the gallows by agreeing to give evidence against Burke. As the report describes, Burke's execution was a popular spectacle in a city angered by the pair's crimes, and at the scaffold many shouted for Hare to be hanged also. The National Library of Scotland holds a number of different broadsides relating to this notorious case.

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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Probable date published: 1829   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(097)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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