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Glasgow’s Square Mile Murders

[Newspaper Research Contents]

Hi and welcome to random Scottish history’s first true crime project. We’re going to be covering the Square Mile of Murder in Glasgow. These were a series of crimes that began in 1857 with the last being in 1908. They were not perpetrated by the same person. They were four separate cases, with a total of five victims, potentially 6. There was someone who may have been murdered that did not receive justice. The term “Square Mile of Murder” was coined by a Jack House in his publication of 1961, but I’m going to state here that, at Random Scottish History, we don’t use recent information at all, we go to contemporary sources. 

For this series, as we’ve done previously with other projects, we’re going to be taking our information from the contemporary Scottish Press of the time. So, you’re going to be receiving the information in the same way as the public received the information at the time. The cases are going to be in three parts; you have pre-trial, trial, and verdict & aftermath. Each of these parts are going to be fairly different lengths for each of the cases were going to cover. Some of the people were known and in the public eye prior to the crimes, so they were already being reported on, others were not known until the murders took place and that is where their notoriety, or their fame lies. You have different amounts of information for each of the cases but the idea is to convey as full a picture to you as possible. We’re going to go right into the court trials day to day and really just leave you to make up your own mind on the cases. Was justice served? Did the victims receive the justice they were owed? Did the perpetrators receive their just dues? 

Quite a lot of people feel like there’s still a lot of mystery attached to these cases but I was surprised when I put feelers out before embarking on this project to see how Random Scottish History followers would react to the information. Would they even want the information? So many came back saying they’d not actually heard of the Square Mile murders so I’m kind of excited to bring these cases to those people and, if you’re one of them, then I think you’re in for a bit of a treat. By delivering the information directly from the contemporary Scottish press, chronologically, you don’t just get right in about the case, you also have an opportunity to get right in about Glasgow life at the time. How did people live? What was expected of people? I think that there are quite a lot of wee eye-opening pieces of information that I hadn’t considered about life in 19th century Glasgow. 

I hope I can bring you the same interest and joy in the information as I had. Of course, there’s very sad moments, especially in cases where you feel justice wasn’t served properly, where perhaps bias got in the way of justice. So, there’s a lot of sadness throughout the cases; not just for the victims, but for some of those accused of the crimes too. You can’t help but really feel for what they had to go through because once you were condemned that really was it for you. Even if it didn’t lead to a sentence of death, your life was forever tainted and there were always going to be people out there who believed that you were guilty of exactly what they said you were guilty of. But I guess we’re just going to give you the information, let you decide for yourself how you receive that information, and what you make of it, because people do still have very differing views on these cases, even now. So, we’ll get into it, shall we? 


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