Just as the rush hour was finishing last Friday morning, a small horde of Harry Potter fans descended upon London’s Kings Cross Station for the opening of Platform 9 ¾, a Potter-themed shop set up by London Film Museum founder, Jonathan Sands. And after a speech by Sands, and among a flurry of flashbulbs, franchise veteran Warwick Davis (who played Professor Flitwick and Griphook) snipped the ribbon and declared the shop officially open.
Those who have experienced the Harry Potter Studio Tour will find the shop somewhat familiar. A huge array of merchandise, ranging from sweets and pencil sharpeners that sit firmly in the pocket money price bracket, all the way to big ticket items like a replica Death Eater mask. There’s also an exclusive range of Platform 9 ¾ merchandise. “It’s being developed as we speak” Sands explains, “There’s jumpers and t-shirts and key rings and mugs for the moment, but there’s going to be a roll-out next year of more.”
But any resemblance to the Studio Tour is purely coincidental, as Sands was at pains to point out, “This is a non-immersive experience. This is specific to Kings Cross and 9 ¾. We’re not associated in any way with Leavesden”. Although this didn’t put off visitors. Shelia Stevenson, one of the first members of the public to enter the store, enthused, “Just come down on the train, left our luggage when we saw the shop. Didn’t even know it was here. It was a nice surprise” .
For Davis as well, it’s much more than just a shop, as he explains, “I don’t think there’s many people in the world who haven’t heard of it. I think it’s terrific that the station here at King’s Cross is supporting its heritage, that Harry Potter was filmed here and now people can visit that very place as a destination.”
Visit Platform 9 ¾ now at London’s Kings Cross Station.