This crime report begins: 'AWFUL BEGINNING OF THE NEW YEAR. / A full, true and particular Account of the most Horrid and Barbarous Murder of Mrs Calderhead, wife of Alexander Calderhead, Potato Dealer, Dunbar Street, in Fountainbridge . . . . . ' This sheet was published by the Edinburgh printers Forbes and Owen and was partly sourced from the 'Courant'.
The first story on this sheet illustrates the mechanisms of broadside publication. Firstly, this story was covered by other publishers and many of their sheets are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection. The first edition of the story is re-included on the sheet because of the expense of printing and shows how news was covered in instalments. Finally, parts of the report are cribbed from another newspaper - a common feature of the time. The second story, tried before James Patison, concerns a complaint over taxi fares! This story is fairly revealing about early nineteenth-century night life.
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:
1831 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(105)
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