Fans of author JK Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series will know that it’s “all aboard” for the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station – where pupils embark for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Harry and his student friends access the mysterious Platform 9¾ by running straight at a brick wall between platforms nine and ten, but rather than smashing into it and doing themselves a severe injury, they pass effortlessly through the apparently solid wall!
The quirky Platform 9¾ is just one of the strange phenomena that crops up in the series of seven novels written by Rowling between 1997 and 2007. The series began with The Philosopher’s Stone and concluded with The Deathly Hallows. The novels spawned eight films, with the final book being split into two parts.
Fans may wonder why King’s Cross Station in London has been singled out for an integral role in the plot. There’s a romantic reason why it holds a place in the author’s heart: her parents, aircraft engineer Peter Rowling and science technician Anne Volant, met there in 1964.
They were both on a train leaving King’s Cross Station and bound for Arbroath in Scotland. Their chance meeting led to their marriage, followed by their daughter Joanne Rowling’s birth on 31st July 1965.
When fans found out that this was where her parents met, the station became something of a tourist attraction, especially among Harry Potter fans looking for Platform 9¾. Although in the real world, platforms nine and ten are separated by track, Platform 9¾ can be found signposted on the wall in the station’s concourse.
There’s also a trolley apparently passing through the wall underneath the sign, where fans often pose to have their photograph taken. There’s even a chance to have an official photo taken wearing your school colours, courtesy of the adjacent Harry Potter shop.
The platform is so popular that there are often queues of people waiting to have their photo taken there, especially during school holidays!
In the series of books, arriving at Platform 9¾ en route to the wizardry school causes great excitement among the students of Hogwarts – and in the same way, the attraction at King’s Cross Station causes similar excitement among Harry Potter fans.
The surrounding businesses have all enjoyed a boost in terms of tourism, thanks to Harry Potter. Decorated to resemble Ollivander’s wand emporium, the Harry Potter Shop stocks Hogwarts school jumpers, robes, time turners, games, horcruxes and other artefacts from the books.
Meanwhile, the nearby St Pancras Renaissance Hotel has conjured up a unique Elixirs and Potions cocktails menu, marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.
Try the romantic sharing punch, the Elixir of Love, served in a cauldron in the Booking Office Bar, or sip the Minty Toad For The Road, which is a wizardly cocktail version of an after-dinner mint.
Granary Square Brasserie and the Yumchaa tea-shop have joined forces to create the Platform 9¾ cocktail, mixing Blue Voodoo tea with Chase Seville orange gin and Creme de Bergamot, sprinkled with a little magic that causes it to change colour. There are also mocktails available for children and people who prefer soft drinks.
King’s Cross station is a Central London rail terminus and one of the busiest railway stations in the UK. It opened in 1852 and today is the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, with trains going to the north east of England and to Scotland.
Used by an estimated 33.8 million passengers per year, it is the ninth busiest station in Britain. With the large numbers of passengers using King’s Cross and the adjacent St Pancras station, ease of access is imperative for safety and for the smooth running of the rail services.
Automatic Access has been servicing and maintaining the automatic doors on the platforms at King’s Cross and St Pancras since 2014, using our own brand of technical wizardry to ensure the operation of the doors goes without a hitch.
Give us a call on 0116 2695050 or email email@example.com for further details of our products and services.