The explosion in literacy and print news media in the 1800s presented a problem for those in power when it came to the reporting of trials involving homosexuality. By prosecuting and punishing offences, authorities were also drawing attention to the fact that homosexuality was happening.

In light of this, in this newspaper account of the execution of James Pratt and John Smith – the last gay men to be executed in the UK – the offence for which they have been convicted is not named.

Researchers looking to find accounts of homosexual activity between men must often follow multiple paper trails and conduct painstaking investigation into printed and digital resources in order to uncover the full story of the case, often in a number of different archives and repositories.