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Gloucester's Harry Potter trail in detail
From Gloucester Cathedral to Hogwart’s – find out exactly how Warner Brothers created the movie magic of the Harry Potter films...
Gloucester's historic cathedral cloisters were transformed into the corridors of Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the films of JK Rowling's first two books – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
There was the strictest of security to keep out the curious world’s press while filming took place – but now some of the movie-makers’ secrets can be revealed.
BBC Gloucestershire went 'Pottering' in the cathedral with the Harry Potter trail guide – and found that while Harry, Hagrid, Hermione and Ron may have moved on, there are still glimpses of Hogwart’s magic if you know just where to look...
Spot the hidden electrics
Let there be (hidden) lights
All modern signs, locks and electrics had to be disguised under panels painted to look like the stone walls. Can you spot the cunningly concealed electric light switches inside the East Cloister door?
Harry Potter and the Hidden Haloes
For the films anything that would give away the set as a church had to disappear. The haloes on the stained glass figures in the cloister windows were painstakingly covered with coloured plastic filter paper to blend in with the surrounding glass.
One window has figures of Adam and Eve, and because these might have been in shot in the movies, they were given clothes and even the trademark Harry Potter 'lightning flash' on their foreheads!
These figures of Adam and Eve were 'dressed'
Harry Potter and the Buried Tombs
These figures of Adam and Eve were 'dressed' and given forehead marks like Harry's
They were covered with roofing felt, which was then painted, marked, polished, varnished and made to look faded to match the rest of the stone-flagged floor.
Water Wizardry in Dark Entry
The red door in Dark Entry, at the north-eastern corner of the cloisters, was where the flood from the girls toilets was filmed.
Water from a tanker parked in the road outside was pumped through the doorway, into a huge specially constructed container and out to a drain in the Garth (the cloister’s central garden).
The Dark Entry doorway
Look carefully at the floor and you can still see the marks of adhesive tape that held the container in place.
Written in Blood
The wall by Dark Entry is where panelling, made in the studio to look just like the stone walling, was hung with the chilling message in ‘blood’ – really a film-maker’s magic potion – that read: The Chamber of Secrets has been opened – enemies of the heir BEWARE!
The Poltergeist’s Cut
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rik Mayall, as playful poltergiest Peeves, set all the broomsticks zooming about in the East Cloister walk.
Unfortunately the scene was one of several that ended up on the cutting room floor because the film had to be cut to a manageable length.
Harry and Ron hid in the Lavatorium
Troll Terror in the Lavatorium
The Lavatorium on the left hand side of the North walk (yes, it’s really called that – and it wasn’t the ancient Abbey monks’ loo but the place they washed) is where Harry and Ron hide from a giant troll behind the pillars.
The troll in the film is mainly computer-generated, but huge legs were used in filming to make it look more realistic – so big that there was some difficulty in getting them in through the cathedral’s massive main doors!
Harry by Gaslight
For filming the cloister walks were lit by special gas-fired torches using a special gas that would not harm the ancient stonework.
The Gryffindor Door
As you come to the end of the West Walk the oddly-named West Slype door is on your right. A slype is the name for a covered passage from a church or monastery cloister.
In the films it was made to look smaller by means of a plastic mould placed over the
The West Slype doorway
In real life steps lead down from the other side of the doorway but more film wizardry was used to make it look like the common room.
upwards to a backlit screen with a picture of the common room – a film-making device called a translight.
Click on the links below to take our virtual Harry Potter tour and see even more of Gloucester's Hogwart's!
last updated: 20/05/2008 at 13:09