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George Smith & Deacon Brodie

Deacon William Brodie was a very respectable citizen of the old town of Edinburgh, by day a cabinet maker, the top of his profession. When his father died in 1780, he inherited the family business, the home in Brodies Close and £10,000. A sum that should have set him up for life.

But he had some bad habits: He used to drink, and gamble and he had not one, but two mistresses. This life style took quite a lot of his money. So by night he used to rob the houses and businesses in the area.

It was not hard for him to find the opportunity: As a cabinet maker he would often go to people's houses to measure up in order to make a cabinet. In those days people used to keep their keys on a latch on the back of the door. He would wait until their attention was distracted and would make an impression of the keys in a piece of putty. He would then give it to his locksmith accomplice George Smith who would make a duplicate set of keys.

Late night robberies became common place in the old town of Edinburgh and of course no one suspected the respectable Deacon. But his ambitions grew and he decided to rob the excise office. However Deacon Brodie was recognised and fled from the scene, but he was eventually caught and sentenced to hang.

Always inventive he even now tried to cheat justice.
He employed a surgeon to insert a metal pipe inside his throat, the idea was that his wind pipe would not be crushed as the rope tightened around his neck. When his body was cut down his friends rushed him to the surgeon. His plan failed however, they could not revive him, he was dead. Ironically the very gallows that he had designed had sealed his fate.

Deacon Brodie's double life of good and evil was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's work
"The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".

Sign outside the Deacon Brodie Pub



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