In our continuing effort to find the unusual and the unexpected, we happened to stumble upon the "Deacon Brodie Tavern."
William Brodie (1741-1788) was a Scottish cabinet-maker and Deacon of a trade guild. However, by night he lived a secret life as a burglar in order to support his gambling and two mistresses. He apparently used his daytime cabinet-making job, which included designing and installing locks in the cabinets of his customers, to make wax impressions of the keys. He would then return at night to rob his wealthy clients. Learning that his double life had been discovered, Brodie fled to Amsterdam, in the hopes of escaping to America. He was eventually captured, tried, and hanged (ironically on a gallows which he had helped to design) at Tolbooth Prison in 1788.
Robert Louis Stevenson lived nearby and became fascinated by Brodie's double life. In addition to writing the "Life of Deacon Brodie", Stevenson used this tale as the inspiration for "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde". We learned that Robert Burns lived in the building opposite Brodie's house and cabinet workshop. However, there was no evidence that Brodie's tale inspired any of Burns' writings.
Brodie's cabinet workshop has been turned into a tavern and we enjoyed a very nice breakfast there. His living quarters above the tavern have been converted into a Masonic Lodge.