JK Rowling stuns fans by confirming real birthplace of Harry Potter

Annie Lord
·3-min read
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows written by J K Rowling, was published in 2007: AFP/Getty
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows written by J K Rowling, was published in 2007: AFP/Getty

JK Rowling has revealed where she started writing the Harry Potter books, contradicting fans who believed for years that Edinburgh was its birthplace.

The Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh is widely regarded as the place the now 54-year-old author wrote the first of the seven fantasy novels.

While it is true that Rowling used to frequent the cafe in the early days of her writing career, the author revealed yesterday (21 May) that she actually started the series in London, in a flat above a sports shop in Clapham.

Referring to the sign on Elephant House which reads “birthplace of Harry Potter”, Rowling tweeted: “I’d been writing Potter for several years before I ever set foot in this cafe, so it’s not the birthplace, but I *did* write in there so we’ll let them off!”

Rowling then shared a picture of the Clapham flat where she started her writing process. “This is the true birthplace of Harry Potter,” she said. “If you define ‘birthplace’ as the spot where I put pen to paper for the first time.

“I was renting a room in a flat over what was then a sports shop. The first bricks of Hogwarts were laid in a flat in Clapham Junction.”

Rowling added: “[But] If you define the birthplace of Harry Potter as the moment when I had the initial idea, then it was a Manchester-London train.”

“I’m perennially amused by the idea that Hogwarts was directly inspired by beautiful places I saw or visited,” the author said, “because it’s so far from the truth.”

Rowling then shared a picture of a bookshop in Porto, Portugal which cites itself as an inspiration for Harry Potter.

“I never visited this bookshop in Oporto”, Rowling admitted. “Never even knew of its existence! It’s beautiful and I wish I *had* visited it, but it has nothing to do with Hogwarts!”

Rowling also detailed the place where she invented Quidditch. Captioning a picture of a red brick building in Manchester, she wrote: “This building is in Manchester and used to be the Bourneville Hotel ... I spent a single night there in 1991, and when I left the next morning, I’d invented Quidditch.”

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