In the Harry Potter books and possibly the films, the kitchen for Grimmauld Place is located in the basement. Is it common for kitchens to be located like this in the real world London, or is something that was done specifically for Grimmauld Place? If so, what is the reason?

  • 9
    Questions about London real estate are not on-topic for SFF:SE
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 22:59
  • If you're asking about whether kitchens in basements are common in the Potterverse, then please edit to say so - that would make this question on-topic. If you're asking about the real world (i.e. whether this particular part of the Potterverse is realistic), then this is off-topic as Valorum says.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:03
  • Thanks for the edit I was not sure how to ask.
    – user76394
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


The house is a large, historic London town house with many rooms upstairs and several floors above the ground floor. The occupants we know of (the Black family) are certainly wealthy and believe in their own superiority.

Without casting any aspersions on their individual character or personality, most English people at the time who would have owned such a house would have had a similar view that they were in a superior upper class. (I am an English person with a qualification in History and a teacher).

As a result, cooking and food preparation would have been done by a staff, out of sight of the family, and brought upstairs to them for fairly-to-very formal mealtimes.

Therefore the layout of Grimmauld Place is perfectly in keeping for an old (I'm loathe to guess which period based on the information) London town house of such a size.

Note that the fact that the Order of the Phoenix often meets and eats down in the kitchen rather than taking it up to a dining room which surely existed is likely a sign of their modernity and disinterest in the Black family ideals.

A similar house showing a typical layout with servants living in smaller attic rooms and often working below ground:

A similar house showing a typical layout with servants living in smaller attic rooms and often working below ground.


Why is the kitchen in the basement?

Well practicality, id guess.

Kitchens have ovens, ovens generate heat, heat seeks to go up.

Knowing all this you can then plan for a better architecture and utilise this (bonus) that a kitchen can provide. you can build a parlour, a dining room or any other kind of room used during daylight hours and then save utilise the extra heat coming from a kitchen as a warmth source for that other room.

Having lived in rickety and porous buildings build in the 1950-1960 here in Denmark I can TESTIFY that if you live above a person that can't stand beeing cold than your heat bill will be much lower as you gain some of the heat from the person living below you.

  • Thank you for both answers. Do you think Harry Potter would keep the kitchen in the basement at Grimmauld Place if they could make modern appliances work? He was use to living in the Dudley's and used modern things. At least in some of the movies not sure about the books.
    – user76394
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 20:25
  • Even if it was updated or modernised, the kitchen would likely remain where it was rather than remodel a living or dining room into a kitchen just to move it up a flight of stairs. This is certainly what seems to happen in most updated older city houses. It's also not really a basement in that American sense, just a room below the ground which was quite common in historic housing in cities. Additionally, the Black family still lived as privileged superiors with servants (being house elves). Harry might move it one day, but I doubt it.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 21:31
  • Thanks Thrugog I am from the United States so do not know much about English homes and they way they differ from the USA.
    – user76394
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 21:40
  • @dean1957 - Nice to compare such things! I think they're mostly pretty similar - Grimmauld Place is of quite a particular style. My kitchen is certainly on the ground floor!
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 21:45
  • I am writing a HP fanfiction story and J K Rowling gave vague descriptions in her books. I know they were written for children, but those who want to write more detailed stories have very little clues especially when the movie deviate from the books.
    – user76394
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 22:02

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