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Broadside entitled 'Trial and Execution of James Wilson'


This execution notice begins: 'At Carlisle, on Monday the 16th March, for the wilful Murder of JOHN ELLIOT, a poor Pack Boy, on Eastdale Moor, on the 8th day of August, 1834.' This sheet was published by Francis McCartney and would have cost a half-penny to buy.

Broadsides were sold to a captive audience, since there were very few other forms of entertainment available to the poorer members of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century society. As a result, sensational or morally outrageous stories from up and down the country would be distributed. Despite the high levels of illiteracy and poverty, these stories would have reached a large section of the population, as they were intended to be read in public, to groups of people.

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: 1834   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(114)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Execution of James Wilson'
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