Second year media students had an amazing opportunity to visit film studios in the capital last week including where much of Harry Potter was filmed.
The group made their way up to London to their hotel in North London. First stop was a tour of the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio taking in some of the iconic sets from the film including the Great Hall. Serving as the backdrop to some of the film series’ most iconic scenes such as the Yule Ball and the Battle of Hogwarts, the Great Hall was first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2000 and was used as a key set for six more films. The spectacular Great Hall includes the costumes of students from each Hogwarts house plus two large tables which are set for dinner; at the top of the room is the teachers’ table where the Hogwarts Professors sat. The Great Hall is home to some of the beautiful hand crafted props created for the Harry Potter film series including Professor Dumbledore’s lectern and the House Points Counter. Though rarely seen on screen, it is rumored that when the House Points Counter was first built it caused a national shortage of Indian glass beads.
Other highlights included the chance to stand on Platform 9¾. The Hogwarts Express locomotive transported hundreds of students from Platform 9¾ to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Most of the scenes that take place on Platform 9¾ were actually shot on location at King’s Cross Station in London, however, during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, part of the station platform was recreated on a soundstage here at Leavesden, complete with the track and the train.
We also visited the special effects unit and where they make the props. Over 950 potion jars line the walls of the classroom, each with unique props kept inside them including baked animal bones from a local butcher shop, dried leaves, herbs and shrunken heads made by the props department. Each jar features a label hand designed by Graphic Design duo MinaLima.
In the evening we went to the Lyceum Theatre to watch Lion King the musical which was amazing. The Lyceum Theatre is a 2,100-seat West End theatre located in the City of Westminster, on Wellington Street, just off the Strand. The origins of the theatre date to 1765. The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice along with the musical score created by Hans Zimmer. Even those of us who thought they hated musicals actually had an amazing time.
The following day we went to the museum of Brands and Advertising. Just around the corner from the world-famous Portobello Road Market stands a treasure trove of retro design and memories. Imagine walking through galleries full to the brim with oddities and wonders alike, where every corner you turn leads you into a different decade. We saw Rimmel cosmetics from the 1890s, First World War Oxo Cubes, Mars Bars, Rolos and KitKats from the 1930s, a 1970s Chopper Bike and around 12,000 other items that will open your eyes to the way we lived and shopped.
Before we left we went down to the river to take in the views and to have dinner overlooking the London skyline.