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Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Riot in London'


This report begins: 'A Full, True and Particular Account of that Great Public Meeting which took place in Coldbath-fields, London, on Monday last, for the purpose of forming a NATIONAL CONVENTION, giving an account of the Speeches delivered on the occasion, -- Together with an account of the desperate attack by 3000 Policemen, under the direction of Lord Melbourne, and Colonel Rowan and Mr Mayne, -- with the names of the killed and wounded, and the number taken prisoners.' The sheet was published by Francis McCartney of Edinburgh in May, 1833, and the story was sourced from 'The Caledonian Mercury' of May the 16th, 1833.

This broadside tells of a political meeting at Coldbath Fields, London, that somehow ended up as a calamitous riot. Held on the 16th of May, 1833, the meeting was organised by ordinary working men who wanted an increase in their wages. It seems that the police, with batons drawn, marched on the 1,000 attendees at the meeting, leading to fighting and, tragically, the fatal stabbing of one policemen, PC Robert Cully. The reference to the then home secretary, Lord Melbourne (1779-1848), shows that, although the authorities tried to legislate against such meetings, many people chose to defy the law and attend these political gatherings.

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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Date of publication: 1833   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(153)
Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Riot in London'
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