It’s been 19 years since the first Harry Potter film was released in cinemas across the UK but did you ever wonder why The Shambles in York city centre is full of Harry Potter shops celebrating the franchise? Well here are a few possible reasons why.
It’s never been confirmed by J.K. Rowling herself that the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter franchise came from The Shambles, however the resemblance between the two streets is uncanny. Due to both streets being so similar, The Shambles attracts many Harry Potter fans each year and has now acquired three separate shops dedicated to merchandise from the films. Avid fans have even mistaken the film set for The Shambles but unfortunately, none of Harry Potter was filmed in The Shambles; those particular scenes were shot at Leavesden Studios in Watford.
Part of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was actually filmed in York, using two locations. Not many people know that York’s railway station was used in the first film rather than Kings Cross. According to Visit York, the scene in the first film where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) are crossing the bridge to find Platform 9 ¾, it was actually the bridge in York Railway Station dressed up to look like Kings Cross.
Another location that was used around York was Goathland Station which is situated in the picturesque North Yorkshire Dales, and used for the North Yorkshire Moors railway line. The train station was used as the station for the wizard village of Hogsmeade, and can be seen in the first two movies.
These filming locations and shops down The Shambles are not York’s only links to the global franchise – David Bradley who plays the Hogwarts caretaker ‘Argus Filch’ is actually from our city. David Bradley has also appeared in Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, and has received a British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor. Speaking to York Mix in 2013, David said: “I feel privileged to have come from York. I used to think every town was like York then you… see other cities and… actually it was a real treat to be brought up in a place like that.”
There you have it, York actually plays a large part in one of the most successful film franchises of all time. York is the inspiration behind one of the most globally recognisable streets, locations in the city were used and the films even included a York-born actor. So next time you’re wondering why there are so many Harry Potter themed shops in York, you may just know why.