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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Black Cook, or The Doctor Outwitted'


Verse 1 begins: 'I will tell you a trick, that was played the other night, / Tis concerning a Doctor that dwells in this town.' There are no publication details given, but this is one of two songs - printed by James Lindsay - on this sheet.

It is not clear in this song whether the 'black cook' refers to the cook's skin colour or his professional grade. Chefs were awarded a black band to wear around the bottom of their hat if they attained excellence and this sort of staff accolade may have been sought after by the gentry. Black household staff, on the other hand, are a literary motif which were used to best effect during the nineteenth century, where they often held white households together.

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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Probable period of publication: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(078)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Black Cook, or The Doctor Outwitted'
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