Extra staff and barriers in place at Harry Potter shop in Edinburgh

Queuing in the rain for the Harry Potter shop.
Queuing in the rain for the Harry Potter shop.
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EXTRA staff have been drafted in to help with safety after a new treasure trove of Harry Potter goods proved such a hit that shoppers ended up queuing down the street.

Potter fans have been turning out at Victoria Street in their droves after one of its outlets announced it had started stocking official merchandise to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first book.

Queues outside the Harry Potter shop in Victoria Street.

Queues outside the Harry Potter shop in Victoria Street.

Such has been the appeal of ‘Diagon House’ that the store has been ushering visitors inside in small groups at a time, with pictures showing metal barriers in place outside to help with the queues.

Shop staff could also be seen assisting from the doorway, with recent rainy weather doing little to deter fans from the chance to enjoy the immersive wizarding experience.

The latest addition to Edinburgh’s retail offering comes from husband and wife team Andrew and Alice McRae, who also own a second unit on Cockburn Street.

The pair have owned the Victoria Street outlet since 2013, but only started stocking official merchandise from J K Rowling’s hugely popular series at the end of July.

Mr McRae, a conservation architect and prominent independent retailer, said he was delighted with how well the shop had been received.

He said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response and have welcomed thousands of people through our doors in the past week.

“We have queues outside the door from 10am until 10pm and have employed additional customer service staff to ensure safety.

“Because it is an original Victorian shop with restricted floor space and a narrow staircase, we are limiting access to small groups at a time so that visitors can enjoy the experience.

“People are willing to wait to come in and we are very grateful for their patience. We expect queues to lessen once the festival is over.”

The cobbled Victorian street in the Capital’s Old Town is thought to have provided inspiration for the wizarding shopping thoroughfare ‘Diagon Alley’ in the novels.

And there are items at the 40 Victoria Street venue to suit all budgets, from pin badges and chocolate frogs all the way up to the shop’s most expensive item, a £350 Nimbus 2000 broomstick.

The store is also the only stockist in Scotland of the official woolen Harry Potter scarves, which are available in the house colours of Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff colours.

And the bestselling items so far? It will perhaps prove little surprise – magic wands.

Mr McRae added: “I wanted to create an authentic shopping experience that arouses visitor’s curiosity and reflects my own passion for period property and quality craftsmanship.

“The effect is a higgledy piggledy display of carefully curated gift and home interior items that visitors love to explore and can enjoy the feeling of discovery.

“Official Harry Potter merchandise can be found amongst work by local artists and a whole range of weird and wonderful curiosities to suit all pockets. It’s definitely the immersive experience that people are queuing up for.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk