Owners behind Harry Potter store hope to create legacy in Capital

Shop assistant and Potter superfan Yleine Aerts is over the moon to be part of the new experience.
Shop assistant and Potter superfan Yleine Aerts is over the moon to be part of the new experience.
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It may not be hidden from the Muggle world but a treasure trove of wizarding curiosities has magically appeared on Victoria Street, casting a spell on Harry Potter fans from far and wide.

Rumoured to be the street that inspired Diagon Alley – the cobblestoned wizarding alley and shopping area in the fantasy novel series written by Edinburgh author JK Rowling – Diagon House is a new venture by husband and wife team Andrew and Alice McRae.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s wizarding fans in for a treat as Harry Potter shop opens

Occupying the iconic former brush shop Robert Cresser’s, which traded for 101 years, Mr McRae said he feels the building has found its perfect use.

“The unique nature of this shop premises feels as if it was purpose built to offer the collection for Diagon House – celebrating the link with Diagon Alley.

“The brush shop was internationally famous. We like to think that when JK Rowling was writing the first books that Robert Cresser’s was trading and was so unique that it could bare some link to the shops on Diagon Alley and the broomsticks.

“This building feels like it’s found its perfect usage – you walk in and it feels like you’re walking into Ollivanders.”

Customers can buy anything from pin badges to replica Nimbus 2001 broomsticks as Mr McRae explains he wants fans with all budgets to be able to take something away from the experience.

He said: “We take what we do really seriously, we want people to be delighted by what we’re doing. This is JK Rowling’s home town and we want it to be absolutely top quality.

“It has such a spectacular feel to it that people really love to come in and enjoy the atmosphere that the building itself conveys – marry that with the world-class collection of officially licensed Harry Potter items in combination with our existing award-winning Museum Context collection and we hope it produces a lifestyle offer allowing fans to immerse themselves in the visual identity of the films.”

Winding up two floors of higgledy-piggledy stairs the shelves, walls and ceilings are packed with wands, signs, T-shirts and even a soft toy Hedwig or two.

“The nature of the products we have are all functional, beautifully made items that you see as references 
throughout the films,” said Mr McRae. “And the response from customers is so overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

“Die-hard Potter fans are coming in and say they’ve discovered something new.

“That is really reassuring for us – we’re trying to create a unique experience for Edinburgh to celebrate this fantastic legacy that JK Rowling has given the city.

“We wanted to do something to seize this amazing goodwill and we’re reaching out to local residents as well as visitors. This is not just for tourists, it’s for everyone.

“It’s the power of the Boy Wizard to share his magic and it has gone worldwide!”

While it will be open throughout the Festival from 10am-10pm, Mr McRae insisted Diagon House was not “a pop-up” and was here to stay.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk