William Brodie, also known as ‘Deacon’ from 1767 went into partnership with his father Francis a highly respected cabinet maker in Edinburgh’s Low Market, inheriting the business on his father’s death. Like his father Brodie became a highly regarded cabinet maker and craftsman, deacon of the trades guild and an Edinburgh city councillor but he had a dissolute side. To support this gambling, a series of mistresses and five illegitimate children he turned to crime and led a gang of burglars. He would take wax impressions of the keys of the houses of his clients. At night the gang robbed them of items Brodie had identified during the day. In 1788 he was hanged for his part in robbing the Edinburgh Excise Office.
Little furniture made by William Brodie has been traced.
Ref: A Dictionary of Edinburgh Cabinet Makers by Francis Bamford