"Chessel's Court, numbered as 240,
exhibits a very superior style of architecture, and in 1788 was the
scene of that daring robbery of the Excise Office which
brought to the gallows the famous Deacon Brodie and his assistant,
thus closing a long career of secret villainy.
It was then customary for shopkeepers of
Edinburgh to hang their keys upon a nail at the back of their doors,
or at least to take no pains in concealing them during the day.
Brodie used to take impressions of them
in putty or clay, a piece of which he used to carry in the palm of
his hand. He kept a blacksmith in his pay, who forged exact
copies of the keys he wanted, and with these it was his custom to
open the shops of his fellow-tradesmen during the night."
Cassell's Old & New Edinburgh, Publ.1890,
Vol 2, p.23.