Five Things You Can Only See at the British Library!

Harry Potter: A History of Magic opens this week at the British Library, celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The exhibition will feature countless rare and exciting items not only from the Potter books but also from the history of magic and witchcraft in the real world! We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the most exciting things you can expect to see at the new exhibition!


1.  A sketch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by J.K. Rowling, complete with the giant squid that lives in the lake.

Everyone at Hogwarts knows of the giant squid that calls the Black Lake its home. Slytherin students may even see it swim by from time to time in their common room, which overlooks the lake. However, it is not featured in any of the movies, so we’re anxious to see what image J.K. Rowling had in mind when creating the creature!


2. Original artwork by Jim Kay for the illustrated Harry Potter editions, including paintings and sketches of Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid.

With the new illustrated edition of Prisoner of Azkaban recently released, we’ve seen how detailed and beautiful Jim Kay’s illustrations are. We can only imagine how beautiful the artwork would be up close!


3. The Ripley Scroll: a six-meter-long alchemical manuscript from the 1500s that describes how to make the philosopher’s stone.

The real-life philosopher’s stone is actually quite similar to, if not exactly the same as, the stone we read about in the first Potter book. This stone also was said to turn any metal into gold, as well as give the elixir of life. The history of this one is a bit foggy as to exactly who originally discovered it and when, but Nicholas Flamel is credited as one of the discoverers.

Speaking of Flamel…


4. The tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, a real historical figure who is also featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The real Flamel was born around 1330. He was a French scribe and manuscript writer. After his death, rumors swirled that he was a successful alchemist who was able to create the philosopher’s stone.


5. An early written record of abracadabra, used as a charm to cure malaria.

Not to be confused with Avada Kedavra.


The exhibition runs from October 20, 2017, until February 28, 2018. Over 30,000 tickets have already been sold, so hurry and book yours today!

Press Release