Is Shambles becoming the Harry Potter street? Third wizard shop to open soon

The two white-fronted shops on the left are to become The Boy Wizard, almost opposite The Shop That Must Not Be Named on the right. Photographs: Richard McDougall
19 Nov 2017 @ 6.05 pm
| Business, Shopping

It feels as if a certain boy wizard has cast a spell over York’s most famous street.

Seven months ago Shambles’ only connection to Harry Potter was as the supposed inspiration for Diagon Alley in the movie franchise.

But soon the former butchers street will have three Potter-inspired shops, with a fourth gift shop also prominently pushing the wizard merch.

And the two newest shops are owned by one of Edinburgh’s most prominent retailing families, who run a series of gift shops selling tartan kitsch in the Scottish capital.

Two shops become one

A closer view of the two shops to become The Boy Wizard

We reported last month that the family-owned Art Shop in the Shambles was to be transformed into The World Of Wizardry, complete with sorting hats and broomsticks.

This development followed the huge success of York retailer Adam Rodway’s Potter-inspired outlet The Shop That Must Not Be Named.

He opened it in May, ending a two-year search for suitable premises. An instant success, visitors are often seen queuing outside.

Now the same family who are opening The World Of Wizardry are knocking two other Shambles shops into one, ready to be rebranded.

Numbers 22 and 23, which date from the early 18th century, were most recently BootShoes4U and Something Different respectively.

They are to be combined into one shop, given a red frontage and renamed The Boy Wizard.

How the new shop will look, according to planning documents

A planning application has been submitted to City of York Council to change the signage. Conservation officer Edward Freedman commented: “I would be concerned at the use of a vibrant red tone, but a more muted burgundy or similar is likely to be acceptable.”

Elsewhere on the street Barghest gifts, which recently relocated from number 3 to number 1 Shambles, has a window filled with Potter merchandise, from owls to mugs.

And Shambles cafe The Flax and Twine has had a hit with its menu inspired by the JK Rowling books.

Recently moved… Barghest. Photograph: YorkMix
The Barghest window

Gold Brothers

The former Art Shop, soon to be another Potter inspired outlet

The family responsible for the creation of both The World Of Wizardry and The Boy Wizard are veterans of the gift shop game.

Three members of the Singh family run Gold Brothers, a retailing empire which takes in multiple gifts shops on Edinburgh’s prestigious Royal Mile, as well as others dotted across Scotland’s capital.

How the Art Shop will look, according to plans with City of York Council

The firm has often made headlines in the Scottish press, where they were once dubbed the ‘tartan tat kings’ for selling merchandise which has included ‘See You Jimmy’ hats and Nessie dolls.

But Malap Singh Gold told the Edinburgh Evening News ten years ago: “Where the public want to buy tat we put tat and where they want quality gear we put quality gear.

“You can go to any historic site in the world and you’ll find these types of shops.”