The Word on the Street
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Broadside containing three short news items from 1824


The leading report on this broadside begins: 'An account of that Fatal Quarrel which took place bewteen Mr Mathieson (public house keepr in North Fowlis's Close, High street,) and his wife, on Wednesday last'. Also reported are a 'Melancholy Accident' involving the sinking of a boat in Inverness, and a 'Melancholy Suicide' in London. The sheet was published by Alexander Brown of Edinburgh in 1824.

Although larger, more expensive newspapers co-existed alongside broadsides and even provided the sources for some broadside stories, broadsides are recognised as being the forerunners of modern tabloids. The similarity is most obvious in the tendency of both broadside and tabloids to sensationalise stories and concentrate on the more outrageous or extreme aspects of human behaviour. However, the broadside pictured here anticipates tabloid reporting in a slightly different way, by including three very brief human interest stories from around the country.

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: 1824   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(53)
Broadside containing three short news items from 1824
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