As soon as the drop had fallen, or even before, the town was inundated with "dying speech" men. These were hawkers of speeches made, or supposed to have been made, or ought to have been made, by the culprits in their last moments. Whether they were or not was of little consequence. These dying speeches were mostly concocted by printers, and sold by hawkers by thousands. They professed to give "a full, true, and particular account of the life, trial, confession, and execution," and generally ended with a doggerel rhyme, the head of the broadsheet being ornamented with a very rude cut representing an execution.

Robert Gibbs, A History of Aylesbury ... (1885), p. 545


Altick, Richard D. Victorian studies in scarlet (New York, 1970)

Beattie, J. M. Crime and the Courts in England, 1660-1800 (Princeton, 1986)

Gatrell, V.A. C., The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People, 1770-1868 (Oxford, 1994)

Gladfelder, Hal, Criminality and Narrative in Eighteenth Century England: Beyond the Law (London, 2001)

Gretton, Thomas, Murders and Moralities: English Catchpenny prints, 1800-1860 (London, 1980)

Hindley, Charles. Life and Times of James Catnach (London, 1878)  Full text online.

Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor: The Condition and Earnings of Those That Will Work, Cannot Work and Will Not Work (London, 1851)

O'Brien, Ellen L. 'Every Man Who is Hanged Leaves a Poem': Criminal Poets in Victorian Street Ballads, Victorian Poetry 39 (2001), 319-339

Old Bailey. Sessions. The Proceedings on the King's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer and Gaol-Delivery of Newgate: held for the City of London and County of Middlesex at Justice Hall ... (London, 1674-1834)  Full text online.

Sharpe, J. A., 'Last Dying speeches': Religion, Ideology and Public Execution in Seventeenth-Century England, Past and Present 107 (1985), 144-167

Smith, Bruce P. English Criminal Justice Administration, 1650-1850: A Historiographic Essay, Law and History 25 (2007), 593-634.  Full text online.

Other Collections of Crime Broadsides

National Library of Scotland. The Word on the Street
Nearly ninety crime broadsides are digitized here, most of which are Scottish and date from the first half of the nineteenth century.

University of Glagow Special Collections. The History of Crime and Punishment in Britain 1790-1870
Fifteen broadsides representative of the collection are displayed.

Kent State University Libraries. Borowitz Crime Ephemera: Criminal Broadsides of Nineteenth Century Britain
An inventory of 139 crime broadsides in the Borowitz True Crime collection appears here. Brief descriptions are included but no images.

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
Dozens of broadsides relating to crime are digitized and can be accessed by subject.