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Harry Potter series – sets and art works

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Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 11:16 [IST]

The train

  • The steam engine's real name is the Olton Hall and it was built in April, 1937.
  • It is designated "Hall" class steam locomotive no. 5972.
  • Max Speed – chimney first: 65mph, tender first 45mph
  • It can pull a maximum of 27,275 pounds behind it.
  • The engine is 13 feet and 5/8 inches high and is 8 feet, 11 inches wide.
  • The carriages date back to the 1950s.
  • Number of carriages - four (although could be increased if needed)
  • The 78-ton, four-carriage train was brought in from Carnforth, Cumbria
  • In railway speak, the actual name of the engine in Harry Potter is the 'Hogwarts Castle'. The 'Hogwarts Express' is the name of the service route that takes students from Platform 9¾ to the school.


The Great Hall:

  • The Great Hall was one of the first ever sets created for the Harry Potter films
  • It is a vast space and could fit 22 London double-decker buses inside.
  • It stands 120ft x 40ft and took over 100 tons of plaster to complete.
  • The set took eighteen weeks to build by approximately 30 men.
  • Secret paneling was built into the walls for fire exits for the cast and crew
  • The tables and benches were all specifically made for the film and end to end would span 400 feet with a further 800 feet of benches. The tables were made of pine with an oak top and then distressed using chains and axes to appear old (although the children have helped with the aging process over the years.) Over the years, the children have added their own graffiti, which Stuart Craig has encouraged, as this would happen at all schools!
  • There are two lengths of tables – 10 feet and 13 feet – that can be put together in various configurations. The Professors' table is made up of 3 separate tables.
  • Dumbledore"s chair was inspired by the throne in Westminster Abbey.
  • The cutlery is made out of guided pewter with gold edge
  • The windows are stained glass and the main window was hand-painted by the late graphic artist Robert Walker.
  • One of the unique features of the Great Hall is the fact that the floor is actually made of real York stone. This was a very sensible suggestion made by production designer Stuart Craig as he realized that although initially more costly, it was the only way the set would stand the test of time and the trampling of thousands of small feet.
  • The Hall seats 400 children.
  • The fully operational torches on the walls, known as flambeaux, represent the four houses – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff.
  • Behind the Professor"s top table is the house points system. Each hour glass contains tens of thousands of Indian glass beads and rumor has it that when it was first made for Philosopher"s Stone, the production was responsible for a national shortage of beads!
  • The carved doors which adorn the entrance are covered in real gold leaf, as are the rims of the pewter plates at each of the place settings.

The Hospital

  • The Hospital Wing started its life in Chamber of Secrets as the fountain end of the girls" bathroom
  • It was then revamped into the hospital wing and revamped again for Prisoner of Azkaban, which involved lifting the 45-ton set and rotating the set 90 degees
  • The backing seen through the windows is scenically painted with cutouts of other parts of the school
  • Looking down to the far end you will see a 2/3rd scale miniature of the Clock tower.
  • The inspiration for the hospital wing came from the Oxford School of Divinity
  • In the actual school layout, the corridor leading up to the clock tower is in fact a bridge to the clocktower.
  • It took 12 weeks to build
  • There are eight beds in the hospital in total and as many screens, with the matron's table outside the door
  • The bedside cabinets were originally made for a WWII film called In Love & War

Topics: harry potter
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