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Visitors flock to Diagon House

Potter shop conjures up a new line in business

Andrew McRae
Andrew McRae: overwhelmed (photos by Terry Murden)

Victoria Street has always been one of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist hotspots, its curved incline of quaint buildings providing an enchanting journey into the past.

It is therefore a natural draw for lovers of mystery and magic and the perfect location for the first shop devoted to the boy wizard Harry Potter.

Andrew and Alice McRae have turned their Museum Context shop of artefacts and curiosities into Diagon House, named after Diagon Alley, the biggest shopping street in Potter world and which is said to have been based on Victoria Street.

Since word got out on the couple’s Facebook page last week the shop has been mobbed by visitors, some travelling long distances to enjoy the ultimate Potter experience.

Queues 30 or 40 deep have been forming outside the shop which is limiting the numbers able to enter at any one time.

Diagon House
Queues have formed outside Diagon House

“We are overwhelmed by the response. People have been coming from far and wide to experience it,” said Mr McRae, who said they had been trading from the outlet for four years, but saw the 20th anniversary of the first Potter book as “an opportunity”.

Now it sells official merchandise alongside their own collection of Potter memorabilia.

He declined to say what the changeover had done for sales, but admitted there had been a “significant impact” on turnover.

He was also pleased that it was drawing local residents. “Too often people say the street is only for the tourists, but we’ve seen a lot of local people in the shop.”

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