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Broadside entitled 'Fight'


This report begins: 'FIGHT Which took place at the Dumbie-Dykes, on Friday morging, between a Tailor and Clothier and a Coachman, in respectable family in the New Town, originating in their pretentions to the hand of a handsome Lady's-maid living in the same street.' The broadside was published by Brown of Edinburgh. Although its publication date is not printed on the sheet, a later hand has written the date in as April 1844.

Public bareknuckle fighting was not uncommon in the nineteenth century, and reports of fights often appeared in broadsides. Fights were generally reported in a distinctive colloquial vocabulary, as phrases like 'dexter ogle' and 'pepper-box' illustrate here. In some cases the fights were contested for large purses, and attracted bets on their outcomes, anticipating the more regulated professional boxing that became hugely popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The fight described in this broadside, on the other hand, appears to have been more a matter of honour between two men in love with the same woman. Traditionally, among the upper classes, a similar matter might have been settled by a duel with swords or pistols.

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: 1844   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(231)
Broadside entitled 'Fight'
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