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William Brodie, Scottish cabinet-maker

William Brodie, Scottish cabinet-maker

H402/0572

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

William Brodie (1741-1788), Scottish cabinet- maker and thief. Brodie, more commonly known by his title Deacon Brodie, was a cabinet-maker and deacon of the Wrights and Masons trades guild and Edinburgh city councillor. Although seemingly respectable Brodie was a gambler with 5 illegitimate children. He funded this secret life by copying clients keys and later burgling their houses or businesses. The failure of an armed raid on the Excise Office in Edinburgh in 1786 lead to his capture and subsequent execution by hanging. Brodie inspired Robert Louis Stevenson, whose father was a client of Brodie's to write "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". Illustration first published in 1788.

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