Broadsides were typically single sheets, printed on one side, for the purpose of public information and entertainment. They were ephemeral – cheaply printed for distribution amongst the lower and middle classes and for pasting onto walls but not intended to last. This street literature included songs (broadside ballads), the dying speeches of executed criminals (hanging ballads), public notices, advertisements and, like the selection seen here, reward posters.
That we have these broadsides in our holdings is quite remarkable since they were intended to be discarded once they had served their purpose. Whilst some of our broadsides are currently uncatalogued, the White (Robert), Rare Books, Bell-White and Robinson (Marjorie and Philip) collections contain broadsides.