A Pernicious and Wicked Custom: Corporate Responses to Lock Picking in the Scottish Town, 1488-1788

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Abstract

While the use of lock picking for criminal purposes was not confined to towns, there were several specifically urban, unique responses to it from the craft guilds of Scotland’s burghs. In an urban context, the prevention of lock picking can be seen to have depended largely on a framework of corporatism. This article examines how security was provided, the role of locks in the urban environment, the deficiencies of lock technology, and the exploits of the infamous Deacon Brodie. While it was impossible to make a pick-proof, warded lock, the incorporations did what they could to contain this ‘pernicious and wicked custom’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-486
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Volume137
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Locks
  • Keys
  • Locksmiths
  • Lock picking
  • Lock Picks
  • Craft Guilds
  • Deacon Brodie

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