Broadside on the 'Life, Trial, Execution and Dying Behaviour of Joseph Hunton'


Public interest in serious crime had been a feature of society for centuries in Britain, but by the late 1700s a surge in published material brought crime, police investigations and executions into the very homes of ordinary families. Broadsides such as that pictured here, detailing the execution of Joseph Hunton at Newgate prison in 1828 for a series of forgeries, were particularly popular. Typically printed on one side and illustrated with crude wood-cut prints, broadsides were sold on street corners by the thousand at only a penny or so per copy, and thus were affordable to most of the general public.

Broadsides were often issued as a series, appearing quickly after serious crimes were discovered, and reflected the progress of criminal proceedings: from initial detail of the offence, the arrest of suspects, subsequent magistrate hearings and any final punishments. Details of a convict’s behaviour on the gallows were particularly popular as broadside material, and publications such as the one shown here were often kept as ghoulish souvenirs by collectors.

Full title:
An interesting Account of the Life, Trial, Execution and Dying Behaviour of Joseph Hunton And other Men who Suffered at Newgate, this Morning
estimated 1828, Seven Dials, London
Broadside / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The creation of the police and the rise of detective fiction

Article by:
Judith Flanders
Crime and crime fiction

Judith Flanders explores how the creation of a unified Metropolitan Police force in 1829 led to the birth of the fictional detective.

Crime and punishment in Georgian Britain

Article by:
Matthew White

From gruesome, public executions to Georgian Britain’s adoration of the ‘heroic’ highwayman, Matthew White investigates attitudes to crime and punishment in Georgian Britain.

Victorian prisons and punishments

Article by:
Liza Picard

Victorian citizens were worried about the rising crime rate. Liza Picard considers how this concern brought about changes in the way people were caught, arrested and imprisoned.

Related collection items