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Broadside entitled 'Execution, Second Edition'


This account begins: 'A full and particular account of the Execution of William Adams, slater, who was this day, Wednesday the 6th January 1830, Executed at the head of Libberton Wynd, Lawnmarket, for assaulting and robbing Michael Pirnie, mason, on the evening of the 5th September last, of one pound, four shillings, and eightpence, and a tin snuff-box; with his last dying speech on the Scaffold.'

This particular broadside has been illustrated with a woodcut of three figures hanging from the gallows. The vast majority of broadside printers kept a limited selection of woodcuts, which were used time and time again. In many instances the illustration bore little or no relation to the subject of the broadside, and was merely included for decoration. It is possible the printer of this sheet did not possess a woodcut showing one man being hanged. An account of the trial and sentence of William Adams can also be found in the National Library of Scotland's collection.

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: 1830   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(91)
Broadside entitled 'Execution, Second Edition'
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