The first Harry Potter movie turns 20 this week, and residents of the cul-de-sac where the scenes were originally filmed are still feeling the effects all these years later.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the UK on November 16, 2001 and 4 Privet Drive, the fictional Surrey house and street in which Harry Potter lived, was first filmed in a real house just across the street side of the Surrey border at Bracknell, Berkshire.
The Privet Drive scenes, which in the books are set in the fictional Little Whinging in Surrey, were moved to a set, built at Leavesden Studios, from the second film. But that hasn’t stopped fans from paying tribute to the real street, Picket Post Close.
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Christine, who only gave her first name, has lived nearby for the past two years and said: “We have sometimes, quite often in the summer, children who come dressed in their little Harry Potter outfits, which is very nice and I don’t mind at all.”
“These are foreign visitors who usually come in groups during the day. But we had a group of older people who came down and then I think they went somewhere and had a coffee.”
Although she saw the original film when it came out, she didn’t click on her moving to that exact street until she moved there.
She added: “They don’t usually stop for long, except for one group that came down from one of the local factories.
“They asked me if I would mind taking a picture of them all because a girl was leaving, who was in Harry Potter, and they wanted to give her that picture and they were going to frame it for her with the whole group of ‘between them outside the Harry Potter house.’
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, has lived there for more than 30 years and, although she was on vacation during the actual filming, remembers seeing part of the set lying around.
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She said: “The owls were around and the dog was in the grass. Once that was done it was still very much in style and I did a lot of interviews first for TV teams like the Japanese teams.”
The Harry Potter films, based on the books by JK Rowling, have become a worldwide phenomenon, but the original three-bedroom house sold in 2018 for £435,000, just below the asking price of £439,950. Zoopla states that it then went on sale a month later, but this listing was later removed.
But it’s not just the fans who are still in love with the house.
One resident, who has lived there for over 10 years, said: “I’ve seen the Harry Potter actors from time to time. Just on motorbikes where they come for a few seconds and then leave.
“I once saw Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, about eight years ago. He took his helmet off for a few seconds and then walked away.”
With such a famous property on their way, how do all the hordes of Harry Potter enthusiasts behave when they visit, in the eyes of the residents?
One resident commented: ” They’re doing pretty well – let’s put it that way.”
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