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Broadside entitled 'Gauger in a Pit'


This news story begins: 'An account of a Gauger's Travels betwixt Edinburgh and Gilmerton, after Smuggled Whisky. His meeting with a party of Colliers, who conveyed him to the bottom of a Coal Pit ; the awful Dream he had while in the pit : with the curious Trial, and Sentence given by the Colliers.' This sheet was published by Robert Martin.

Robert Martin worked in the Edinburgh book and print trade between 1830 and 1850, and it can be assumed that this sheet was published during this period. A gauger was the customs official who was responsible for measuring the liquor capacity of imported barrels so that the tax could be worked out correctly. In 1823 the Duke of Gordon successfully initiated the 'Excise Act' to try and eradicate illegal whisky production, but in 1834 692 illicit stills were recorded in Scotland.

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: 1830-1850   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside entitled 'Gauger in a Pit'
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