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A someone who frequented King's Cross a great deal for commuting, one things always struck me as odd: Platforms 9 through 11 do not have the large pillars shown in the movie that is used for access to 9¾.

Here's a picture of Platform 9:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/SME/html/NRE_KGX/images/photos/800/o2248-0002210.jpg

Did Rowling write the book having never seen the platforms themselves?

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    Note that just behind the place you've pictured, there is a fake "9 3/4" sign with a trolley (complete with stuffed owl in a cage) embedded halfway through the wall. I walk past every day and am continually surprised at the numbers of people who queue for hours to get their pictures taken there. – Daniel Roseman Sep 19 '14 at 13:34
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    "Has seen" and "clearly remembers all the details of" are hardly synonymous. I've seen a good few stations in London, but it was a while ago and I doubt I could get many but a few superficial details correct. – Glen_b Sep 20 '14 at 5:34
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    This is at least the third location for the 9 3/4 sign since I have been using Kings Cross. Previously there was no trolley, just a sign adjacent to platform 7. – Richard Hare Oct 3 '14 at 10:39
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    The barrier that Rowing wrote about was a metal barrier. The brick barrier was a movie invention. – ibid Jul 8 '16 at 18:23
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    The book describes the platforms quite differently from the way they're shown in the films. Witches and wizards are described as going through a "metal barrier" and that there is a ticket box between the platforms 9 and 10. So the film version is definitely WB fan fiction. – Steve VanderArk Oct 7 '16 at 12:14
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I don’t know if she’d seen them before, but the platforms don’t make sense because she mixed it up with Euston station.

Interestingly, in an interview with the BBC in 2001 JK Rowling admits confusing Euston station with Kings Cross Station. “I wrote Platform 9 3/4 when I was living in Manchester, and I wrongly visualised the platforms, and I was actually thinking of Euston, so anyone who's actually been to the real platforms 9 and 10 in King's Cross will realise they don't bear a great resemblance to the platforms 9 and 10 as described in the book. So that's just me coming clean, there. I was in Manchester; I couldn't check.” In fact, even at Euston station platforms 9 and 10 are also adjacent meaning that once again, there would be no room for a magical brick wall!

That’s from a Historic UK article about Platform 9 3/4; the full interview can be read on Accio Quote.

The article also explains that (at least for Chamber of Secrets), they used platforms 4 and 5 instead of the real 9 and 10.


The HP Lexicon has a Gallery of London Location, which includes pictures from the relevant platforms in King’s Cross and Euston.

  • This is Platforms 4 and 5 at Euston, where the barrier scene is filmed in the films. However, the pillars in the films are clearly wider than this, and don’t have as much gubbins climbing up the side.

    enter image description here

  • You already highlighted the lack of barrier at King’s Cross, but as the quote points out, this is also missing at Euston. It’s somewhat obscured, but you can see the two platforms are adjacent, and thus there isn’t a large barrier between them.

    enter image description here

  • Brilliant, thanks. – Mark Rowlands Sep 19 '14 at 12:05
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    I knew this but I thought it was Paddington she got confused with, not Euston. So thanks for the quote! – starsplusplus Sep 20 '14 at 18:21
  • The quote in literature.stackexchange.com/a/29/139 may shed some light on why Rowling chose King's Cross in particular though. – b_jonas Feb 3 '17 at 13:07
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To further add to location we see in the films were influenced by the film makers

Extracted from Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films by Jody Revenson

It would be natural to assume that the filmmakers would use King’s Cross station’s real platforms nine and ten for the location shoot. But as Stuart Craig explains, ‘Platforms nine and ten are not in the main station building, but in a little annex to the side.’ Craig wanted to showcase the station’s Victorian architecture and get a strong image: ‘We chose a platform that had big brick piers, under big supporting arches that connected to another platform, which gave it a substantial wall to run at before they pass through it to the other side.’ Platform nine and three-quarters was actually set between platforms four and five.

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