My Quest: To Visit all the Harry Potter Film Sites in London, Part 2

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Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross in London, England.
This is not the original platform used in the film, which is between platforms 4 and 5 at Kings Cross, but it is a cute little tourist memorial to the film.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

This is the second part of my Harry Potter film sites of London photoessays. I started this photoessay with an image that you all should be able to recognize without any trouble at all — platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross tube station — nevermind that this tribute to the Harry Potter film series is not found on the actual platform where the filming took place.


Platform 9 3/4
The archway where the filming took place is located between platforms 4 and 5 at Kings Cross tube station, while that tribute is located outside the station where tourists can get to it without having to pay tube fare to do so. I htought I had actually photographed the archway where the filming took place, but have not yet been able to locate those images, if I actually did photograph it at all.


My friend and colleague, Bob O’Hara, demonstrates how to use that crazy trolley at platform 9 3/4.
Platform 9 3/4 at the Kings Cross tube station London, England. This is a sort of memorial for tourists to enjoy to the original platform, which is between platforms 4 and 5, used in several of the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

I had to include this image of my friend and colleague, Bob O’Hara, demonstrating how to use that trolley, even though it is embedded in a brick wall. But unlike King Arthur, who removed the sword from the stone and was thus declared King of Britain, Bob was unable to extricate the trolley from the brickwork ..
You can easily get to platform 9 3/4 by going to the Kings Cross tube station, which is in zone 1 [map].
Diagon Alley
One of my most favorite fantasy places, Diagon Alley, is a real place in London: Leadenhall Market. The nearest tube station is Aldgate (zone 1) [map].
Due to my extreme fondness for these particular scenes in the Harry Potter films, I took quite a few pictures of this gorgeous place — I’ve never seen a human-created structure that is as rich a visual experience as Leadenhall Market, so I tried to capture some of that for you to enjoy.


Main entrance to Leadenhall Market, outside looking in.
Leadenhall Market in London, England. This market served as the set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

The day that I visited Leadenhall Market was overcast with occasional sprinkles, but by the time I photographed the entrance from the inside, looking out, the sun had made a brief appearance.


Another view of Leadenhall Market in London, England, this time, looking out the main entrance. This market served as the set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

There are a number of passageways in Leadenhall Market that branch off from the main one running down the middle. This is just one of them. Perhaps the Knockturn Alley scenes were also filmed in one of these side passages? I never thought to investigate this possibility in advance of my trip to London.


Another passageway at Leadenhall Market, leading to the left of the main entrance.
Leadenhall Market in London, England. This market served as the set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

The detail work in Leadenhall Market is simply astonishing. I was unable to capture the entire ceiling in the center of the market, although I guess I might have been able to do so if I had laid down on the ground to take the picture (not recommended). Nevertheless, I hope you forgive this bad picture because it does serve to give you an idea of what I am talking about when I mentioned that Leadenhall Market provides a rich visual experience to those who look closely.


The roof in the center of Leadenhall Market in London, England. This market served as the set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

This gorgeous dragon atop a pillar is another wonderful example of the quality of the detail work that is everywhere to enjoy at Leadenhall Market. It’s easy to see why Warner Brothers used this market as their set for Diagon Alley.


The Detail work at Leadenhall Market is absolutely gorgeous.
Leadenhall Market in London, England. This market served as the set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

Lambeth Bridge


Another distant view of the Lambeth Bridge, which was where the purple Knight Bus nearly was squashed in the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

I had to walk a little distance to get to Lambeth Bridge, which I walked across. One side of the bridge has very modern-looking glass box buildings while the other side has a bunch of old buildings. The old buildings were used in the scenes filmed in the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when the Purple Knight Bus that Harry was riding in was rushing across the bridge and had to make itself tall and thin to squeeze between two oncoming busses.


The far side of the Lambeth Bridge, which was used as a set for one scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Lambeth Bridge in London, England.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

In real life, this bridge has traffic that moves both ways, so the two oncoming busses would never have happened. Here’s another picture, a close-up of the far side of the bridge.


A close-up of the far side of the bridge, which was used as a set in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Lambeth Bridge in London, England.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

The Houses of Parliament
This is a picture of the Houses of Parliament, taken during daylight, which I actually toured several days later. The Houses of Parliament is a gorgeous castle that was later transformed into the main seat of government. This image was taken from the opposite end from what you saw in the film shot. In the film, the Houses of Parliament were brightly lit on a dark night while Harry Potter made his escape by broomstick from the Dursley’s house after an attack by two Dementors in the fifth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


Houses of Parliament in London, England. This building was the backdrop for one scene in the fifth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

If you like this series, you might be interested to read Part One of this photoessay series. I will be publishing at least one more installment in a day or so.

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to My Quest: To Visit all the Harry Potter Film Sites in London, Part 2

  1. M@ says:

    Great post! I forgot to tell you that Platform 9 3/4 is about to be disapperated. King’s Cross station is undergoing major improvements works, so they’re having to move the Potter portal to another part of the station in the next few weeks. Full story http://londonist.com/2008/07/platform_9_and_34_to_be_disapparate.php
    One of the hidden secrets of Leadenhall Market is that it’s built on top of the Roman forum, once of the largest buildings in Europe 1800 years ago. There’s a hairdressers on the corner that has part of the Roman walls in its basement.

  2. i wish i had talked to you a little about my quest before i set out, i would have loved to have known that there is a Roman wall in the basement of a hairdresser’s shop. of course, i would have asked to see (and photograph) it, too .. but i guess that’s alright. everyone whom i spoke to regarding this quest was most interested to help out and to provide any information they had, as well.

  3. mekhala says:

    I just visited 9 & 3/4 platform on my recent trip to London! Exciting to see other HP sites too 🙂

  4. John S. says:

    These pictures are beautiful. Its really cool you are traveling to these places that were filmed in the potter movies. I’d love to see the diagon alley buildings, they were truly a sight to see. Good job.

  5. SimonG says:

    The Victorians just loved decorating things. To a modern eye, it’s quite weird to see functional things like pumping engines with amazing ornamentation.
    This is one of the best: Crossness Pumping Station, which was part of London’s sewage system.
    http://www.crossness.org.uk/
    Hard to imagine anyone designing something like that today.

  6. the crossness pumping station is really nice. thanks. i like the ornamentation on buildings and other structures, but realize that the skills and motivation died out decades ago .. sad, really.

  7. Ian says:

    There a site here which talks about Harry Potter locations. Maybe you’ve already seen it:
    http://www.movie-locations.com/movies/h/harry_potter1.html