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Broadside entitled 'Murder!'


This crime report begins: 'MURDER! Committed on the body of MRS DEVON, who was found in her own house in the Gorbals this afternoon, Tuesday April 6th, 1824, with her throat cut, cold and lifeless, and presenting a spectacle too shocking for description.' The publisher was John Muir of Glasgow. It appears that the title of the broadside was originally 'HORRIFIC MURDER', but the top part of the sheet has been torn off.

A particularly nasty crime, apparently of a domestic nature, is described in this report. Broadside reports often sympathised with the male in crimes of violence against women, but in this instance it is stressed that Mrs Devon was 'sober and industrious' and was unfortunate in her choice of husband, who is suspected of the murder. The reference to Mrs Devon's children returning from the cotton mill suggests that they were employed as textile workers, a common occupation for children in the nineteenth century.

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: 1824   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(069)
Broadside entitled 'Murder!'
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