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Broadside entitled 'Execution!'


This crime report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the Execution of JOHN WILSON and DUNCAN FRASER, who were Executed at the Head of Libberton Wynd, Edinburgh, on Wednesday morning the 28th January, 1824, for Housebreaking and Theft ; with a particular Account of their Behaviour since their Condemnation and at the place of Execution.' This sheet was printed for Alexander Turnbull of Edinburgh and would have sold for a penny.

There are other reports held in the National Library of Scotland's broadside collection which cover the court proceedings and lamentation of Wilson and Fraser, as well as further execution descriptions. This text follows a relatively standard format, covering the sentencing, the family distress and the convict's behaviour.

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: 1824   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(52)
Broadside entitled 'Execution!'
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