Why did Sirius Black's family live among Muggles?

The Black family were generational purebloods -- one of the "official" pureblood families -- and canon has demonstrated that they were vehemently anti-Muggle, aside from Sirius (One might argue Regulus as well, after his change of heart.). Yet they lived among Muggles, seemingly by choice. It's certainly possible number twelve Grimmauld Place was family property received by inheritance, but the Black family surely predates the construction of some row houses in a shabby part of London. I would think?

Why did the Black family choose to remain there? Why didn't they move?

Is there anything in canon that addresses this? Does Sirius explain why his family's home is in a Muggle neighborhood at any point in the series?

They were standing outside number eleven; he looked to the left and saw number ten; to the right, however, was number thirteen.

‘But where’s –?’

‘Think about what you’ve just memorised,’ said Lupin quietly. Harry thought, and no sooner had he reached the part about number twelve, Grimmauld Place, than a battered door emerged out of nowhere between numbers eleven and thirteen, followed swiftly by dirty walls and grimy windows. It was as though an extra house had inflated, pushing those on either side out of its way. Harry gaped at it. The stereo in number eleven thudded on. Apparently the Muggles inside hadn’t felt anything.

Order of the Phoenix - page 58 - Bloomsbury - chapter 4, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place

  • Rgulus wasn't "not anti-Muggle". He was just squeamish (or conscientious) about outright Hard Evil like mass murder and multiple Horcruxes. Dec 12, 2012 at 1:20
  • 2
    Living "among" muggles is not the same as living right next door to them for a wizard. With all the muggle-repelling charms etc. in place to keep muggles from knowing about wizards the Blacks may as well have been hundreds of miles away from their neighbors for all they knew.
    – NominSim
    Dec 12, 2012 at 1:32
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    "the Black family surely predates the construction of some row houses in a shabby part of London" - I don't think so. It was numbered in sequence with the rest, so it was likely built at the same time.
    – Kevin
    Dec 12, 2012 at 3:36
  • @Kevin Well, the family certainly may predate the houses, and they could have taken the house by magic later and hidden it from Muggles. Of course, that raises the question asked here: why?
    – commando
    Dec 12, 2012 at 4:40
  • 1
    @Kevin - What I said was the Black family surely predates (is much much older than) Grimmauld Place, not the other way around. :) Dec 12, 2012 at 4:45

3 Answers 3


It seems to be related to the house itself. On Twitter, J.K. Rowling answered a question about the location of the ancestral home:

Why is 12 Grimmauld place in the middle of a muggle house complex?

A Black ancestor coveted the beautiful house, so “persuaded” the Muggle occupant to leave & put the appropriate spells on it.

@JKRowling on Twitter, 6 Feb 2015

Within a generation or two of the family living there, I imagine tradition and family cachet would have beaten out any anti-Muggle stigma that the neighbourhood carried.

(This may well date back before the Statute of Secrecy, when it was more appropriate for wizards to mingle with the Muggle aristocracy (cf. the Malfoy family).)


Considering the fact that even though the house is Unplottable you can teleport onto the front porch, they aren't really living among Muggles at all. In any case, it doesn't seem like there's much information about Grimmauld place in canon and no stated reasons why they chose to live there. The whims of occasionally evil and inevitably inbred families are weird, and considering their choices in decor, the location is one of the least eccentric things about Grimmauld Place.

In the movies, Grimmauld is in Islington, hardly a shabby part of London. Though unless they migrated the several mounted heads of house-elves from another house, they've lived there for a few hundred years at least, which is certainly enough time for a neighborhood to get fashionable and unfashionable a few times over.

  • Do we know that the house had the fidelus charm on it while Sirius was growing up?
    – mikeazo
    Feb 6, 2015 at 12:38

The property may have belonged to the Black family long before Muggles moved in, therefore the Blacks may have unplotted the house from the Muggle neighborhood due to the Ministry's laws against attacking Muggles.

  • This does not really answer the question, does it ?
    – Kalissar
    Jul 31, 2013 at 8:12

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