It has been a while since I have provide an update on my Diagon Alley. Life has been busy, but I’m pleased to now be able to show my most recent completed building: Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Dominating the skyline, it makes sure wizards and witches can keep their money safe. Read on for further details…
Gringotts bank, with its crooked columns in front, is probably the most recognisable building in Diagon Alley.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank is the only bank of the wizarding world. Its main offices are located in Diagon Alley in London. In addition to being used by wizards and witches to store money and valuables, you can also exchange muggle money for wizarding money there. It has a long history, being created by a goblin called Gringott back in 1474 and has since been owned and operated by goblins.
But Gringotts is not just in London. After graduating from Hogwarts, Ron’s oldest brother, Bill Weasley went to work for Gringotts as a Curse-Breaker, working in Egypt retrieving artefacts from ancient Egyptian tombs and pyramids. Bill did however later take a desk job back in London instead to work with the Order of the Phoenix when it was reformed.
In this post, we will focus solely on the building in Diagon Alley, London. As an interesting note, in the first Harry Potter movie, the scenes from inside the bank (before they headed down to the vaults) were filmed inside the Australia House in Strand, London, which normally houses The High Commission of Australia, the diplomatic mission of Australia in the United Kingdom.
Gringotts in LEGO
Given how iconic the building is, it is not surprising that we have seen several sets featuring Gringotts. Two of them are minifigure scaled sets. The first one came out back in 2002 (I just bought that one – though still awaiting its arrival). This one didn’t include a full building, but rather a selection of smaller models, including the cart on the underground track, and a vault.
We did get a full building later on (when seen from the front at least), as it was one of the three buildings included in the excellent 2011 Diagon Alley set (10217).
But wait, there’s more. In 2018 a microscale model of (parts of) Diagon Alley (set 40289) was released as a gift-with-purchase (GWP) set, around the same time the huge Hogwarts castle (set 71043) was revealed.
Building Gringotts for my own Diagon Alley
For my large Diagon Alley MOC (My Own Creation), adding the Gringotts bank was obvious, as the street would not really look right without it. For long, I thought I could get away with using the building from the 2011 set, but as my custom buildings were quite tall, it didn’t really look impressive enough. My second thought was to add a another level to the 2011 set, but in the end, I opted to start from scratch.
So here it is, appropriately impressive I think, to act as focal point for my display.
Before starting, I had a few objectives in mind. The narrow angle of the building when seen from the entrance, the double layer of crooked pillars, and finally the cupola on top. Otherwise, it was not an attempt to replicate the building exactly – it just had to be easily recognisable.
It is quite a bit higher than the 2011 model as seen below.
The building structure itself with the full outside detail has been finished for about a year, and as such the model has been displayed several times, and appeared towards the back on photos in several blog posts. But I have waited with writing a full review of the building till the interior was complete as well. And I only did this last week (and added a couple of lamps on the outside as well). So let us turn the building around and see it from the back.
Inspired by the movie scene, I’ve tried to capture the pillars, the desks and the chandelier hanging form the ceiling.
Now Harry can get his galleons, sickles and knuts before going shopping on Diagon Alley.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result, though I may at some point see if I can add tiles to the floor (while maintaining the rather narrow angle of the building).
Having completed the interior does however mean I may no longer be able to use it to hide my coffee (and other drinks) during exhibitions. It worked perfectly well in that role! Now, I may have to put the coffee under the table instead.
Having (finally) finished the building, I must say I am super tempted to start on an underground scene with vaults and a guarding Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon.
But that will most likely be in the longer term. There are plenty of small projects and reviews to finish first. And I should really complete the remaining buildings above ground soon, so ready for exhibitions in the post-COVID world. You can check the other buildings on the locations page.
So as you can hear, there is a lot in the pipeline – stay tuned!
Till then, Build the Magic!