There’s been a luggage trolley in the new departures hall of London’s King’s Cross station that appears to be disappearing into a wall for some time now. Above it is the legend ‘Platform 9¾’.
This tells you all you need to know. This is a magnet for Harry Potter fans - the departure point for a journey to Hogwarts Academy and the place where queues form to have pictures taken holding said trolley.
Now the powers that control the Harry Potter franchise have opened a small shop, just along from the trolley that’s been partially engulfed by the wall, and retro-railway uniformed staff direct fans from platform 9¾ into the store.
This is a fairly unashamed piece of licensed merchandise retailing with wands, striped jumpers and robes all forming part of the offer.
What is interesting, however, is that this Harry Potter store manages to capture much of the experience
that underpinned the boy wizard-themed shop at the Hogwarts film theme park just outside Watford, which opened last year.
This store has been welcoming fans for a little over a month now and, a little like Platform 9¾, it has a very modest frontage.
And on the day of visiting, Tuesday afternoon last week, there was not an English accent to be heard in the
store - proof, as if proof were needed, that if a store’s in the right location, with a product range appropriate to that location, then it will work.
If you went in search of a location to site a Harry Potter store in King’s Cross, this might not be the first
place that you would look at but, such is the power of the Platform 9¾ image, Muggles flock from all corners.