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Broadside entitled 'High Court of Justiciary'


This public notice begins: 'Edinburgh, Monday, 1st March 1841. / GRACE ANDERSON, a servant in the British Hotel, Queen Street, pled Guilty to the Concealment of Pregnancy'. It was published by Sanderson of Edinburgh.

It was common for the court cases of that day, their outcomes and their dramas, to be reported on broadsides as a matter for common interest. Broadsides were amongst some of the most immediate communications of their day. Here, a further five cases are reported, those of Mary Hunter, Donald McLeod, Peter Kerr or Carr, John Runciman and the co-operative theft by Mary Anne Cairns, Thomas Purves and his wife Martha. It is also curious to note that a gap has been left in the typeset for the date to be written in by hand. Perhaps to try and delude the public that the information is bang up-to-date!

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: 1841   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(373a)
Broadside entitled 'High Court of Justiciary'
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