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Trial and Execution of George Coney, 1833

Daniel Henry Carpue

Trial and Execution of  George Coney, 1833
4 0 c m
actual image size: 22cm x 29cm

Full image caption

Execution broadside printed with an account of the trial and execution of George Coney, aged 22 who was found guilty of a burglary and robbery at Bartlett's buildings, Holborn. The broadside notes that although Richard Smith was also found guilty of the same crime he was given 'respite during his Majesty's Pleasure' probably because he was only 15 years old. The broadside, printed by Daniel Henry Carpue includes a generic woodcut engraving of the Newgate Gallows surrounded by a crowd of spectators and an engraving of the prisoner in the condemned prison cell. The broadside also includes a letter written by Coney the eve before his execution and a poem, written as if by the accused, warning 'the young men of London town,' to avoid falling into a life of crime.
Until 1868 public hangings were a popular form of entertainment for the London crowd. Such occasions provided an opportunity for cheap printers and street vendors to 'turn a penny on the street' by selling accounts of the crimes, trial and 'dying speeches' of executed criminals as souvenirs to the paying spectators. As soon as the trap fell the street vendors began running amongst the crowd selling the broadsides. Execution broadsides were published by a small number of printers many of whom, such as Thomas Birt, James Catnach and James Pitts were based around the Seven Dials area of London. Spelling and grammar was often poor and the details not always accurate. Although usually printed between the end of the trial and the date of the execution (usually a gap of a few weeks) they could be quickly changed to accommodate last minute information such as reprieves and dying confessions. The printers often used battered woodcuts, and, for the gallows scene used a stock block with a pierced central section to allow the sex and required number of hanging figures to be changed as required. Female criminals were depicted by using a block for a male figure, cut square at the knee to represent a skirt.

Image Details

1833 AD - 1833 AD
Image Number

© Museum of London

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