King's Cross Station in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Date posted: 01.07.2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the hotly anticipated final film in the Harry Potter series, will be released in cinemas next week. All eight Harry Potter films have been set and shot at several iconic locations around London and the UK, both real and those created by J.K. Rowling to make up her magical world.
One location in the capital which is integral to the books and the subsequent films is Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station.
The ride to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on the Hogwarts Express starts from King's Cross' Platform 9¾, which is invisible to the eyes of 'muggles' (non-wizards) and is reached by walking through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
J.K Rowling's parents met at King's Cross, which is why the station is close to her heart and why she included the station in the books.
Rowling explains: "for me... King's Cross Station is a very, very romantic place, probably the most romantic station, purely because my parents met here. So, that's always been part of my childhood folklore. So, I wanted Harry to go to Hogwarts by train...and obviously, therefore, it had to be from King's Cross".
Opening in 1852 with a roof modeled on the riding school of the Czars of Moscow and a 112ft high clock tower, today King's Cross sees over 40 million people pass through the station each year.
Every film in the Harry Potter series has shot at the station and in reality, Platform 9¾ is situated between platforms 4 and 5 which are separated by picturesque brick arches. For filming the platforms are renumbered by the film-makers and the Hogwarts Express pulls into the far end of the platform.
During production on the latest film, the station was undergoing an extensive £500m restoration. As this resulted in the station's distinctive roof being covered during filming, it meant the roof had to be created in post production using CGI. Network Rail provided the production with images of what the roof would look like after completion, allowing them to bring the look of the station up to date.
It was at King's Cross that the final sequence of the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (and therefore the entire series) was shot. It was an emotional time for the crew, some of whom had spent 10 years working on the films. "This is where the Harry Potter story began and ended," attests Sue Quinn, the location manager on all the Harry Potter films, "King's Cross was our very final location and the staff at Network Rail went the extra mile to accommodate our filming requirements".
The staff at King's Cross also very much enjoyed hosting the production at the station. "It brought a really nice buzz to the station," said King's Cross Station Manager, Kate Anderson, "various members of staff had the opportunity to be extras, so it's exciting to see who made it into the final cut!"
Anderson and Network Rail Filming Manager, Rachel Betts, have been involved with a number of the Harry Potter films, with this latest installment filming for four full days.
Betts explained that the station has also become a Mecca for Potter fans "a lot of the locations like Hogwarts Castle don't exist, so it's great that there's somewhere that you can actually go to and where you don't have to pay anything".
Since the release of the first film (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) in 2001, King's Cross and Platform 9¾ have become increasingly popular with tourists. Since 2001 a luggage trolley has been situated at platform 9 at the point of disappearing through the magical barrier, next to which tourists and fans can take pictures.
Features such as Breaking & Entering, The Edge of Love, and Alfie have filmed at the station in recent years and also an episode of Top Gear.