Byline: Sally Hoban
Before the tabloids took hold of Fleet Street, scandalous news was delivered to the public through "street literature" or "broadside ballads" as they were better known.
For more than 400 years, from the 16th century onwards, these publications (usually a single-sided printed sheet of folk music, ballads, handbills, proclamations, or advertisements) were sold for pennies.
They were a source of public entertainment and in the days before the mass media, provided an easy way for everyone to find out the gossip about was going on up and down the country.
Street literature has been a popular category of ephemera among collectors for many years and perhaps its most famous enthusiast was the London diarist, Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). …