My Quest: To Visit all the Harry Potter Film Sites in London, Part 1

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Classic telephone box in London. These are an endangered species.

Telephone boxes appear throughout the Harry Potter films, particularly as an entrance into the Ministry of Magic in the fifth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. When the telephone in the box is dialed (62442, the word M-A-G-I-C).

Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

I am disappointed with the slowness and instability of the wifi connection I am using to post this and other entries, so I have divided this entry into two parts so I don't accidentally lose any of it when saving the file to my site. I don't have time to get the second part posted yet, but here's a short listing of what I've found so far on my Quest to find and photograph all the Harry Potter film locations in London.

The Leaky Cauldron

There were two different Leaky Cauldrons in the Harry Potter films. The first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, used a site at 42 Bulls Head Passage, which was an underground passage between the newest London's Lloyd's building and a less-new Lloyd's building across the street. I say "was" because this passage is no longer in existence, according to my source, so I couldn't even bribe my way into seeing and photographing it. Worse, there wasn't even anything worthwhile nearby to photograph, although I did consider photographing the big glass box known as the Lloyd's building that sits atop the passageway where the original Leaky Cauldron once existed. If you are interested in seeing the Lloyd's Building, the closest tube station is Monument [underground map].

The second Leaky Cauldron, as seen in later Harry Potter films, was located in Borough Market, as was the wizard's bookstore where Hogwarts students purchased their textbooks. Unfortunately, as you can see, I was also unsuccessful in this quest ..

Flower shop next door to where the second Leaky Cauldron was located in real life.

Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

This flower store is next to where the second Leaky Cauldron at 7 Stoney Street is located in Borough Market in real life, (closest tube station is London Bridge, map). Unfortunately, when I got there to photograph the site, I found nothing but four workmen smoking cigarettes, a large plywood barrier and a big hole in the ground. The wizarding bookstore that was supposed to be next door (at 8 Stoney Street in real life) was also gone, and had been gone for awhile, although my source wasn't sure how long.

Gringott's Wizarding Bank

Gringott's Wizarding Bank, as seen in the first Harry Potter film, is a fanciful modification that was modeled after the Australia House (Temple is the closest tube station, map), and the interior of this spectacular building served as the set for the interior scenes. I did find the Australia House, but was unable to do anything but peek in through the iron grill on the doors. The no-nonsense staff member at the main entrance was not to be bribed to provide even a one minute photo-op from five feet inside the door. Humph.

But he was cute, though. Maybe I should have taken a picture of him to console myself?

London's Australia House, whose interior was used as a set for Gringott's Wizarding Bank in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

On the other hand, considering that he is involved with his country's foreign service (and thus, is either a diplomat wannabe or a spy), I'd guess I would get into big trouble if I photographed him and published the images on my blog.

So, moving on .. being a horse-lover, I had to photograph this spectacular sculpture that stands atop the main entrance to share with you. I assume this is the sun-god, Helios, and his four famous horses, that draw the sun across the sky in a flaming chariot. These horses all have their own names, which vary, depending upon the mythology you are most familiar with;

Helios and his four horses, Aithiops ("Burned face") or Aithon ("fiery, burning"), Bronte ("Thunder"), Hoos ("at break of day"), Pyrroes ("Fiery and red-headed") or Phaethon ("Radiant, shining, sun") or Steroes ("flashing, dazzling").

Australia House, London England.

Image: GrrlScientist 4 September 2008 [larger view].

This photoessay will be continued soon.

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Bull's Head Passage does still exist - we walked through it today and saw the original entrance to the Leaky Cauldron!

By Matt & Donna (not verified) on 02 Mar 2010 #permalink