Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
- "This establishment of Diagon Alley the Leaky Cauldron is noted for its most excellent and delicious luncheon"
- —A sign in the Leaky Cauldron[src]
The Leaky Cauldron is a popular wizarding pub and inn in London. It is the entrance to Diagon Alley, and, indirectly Knockturn Alley. For much of the end of the 20th century, Tom was the landlord. At some point, Hannah Abbott became the landlady, moving in with her husband, Neville Longbottom.
It was built by Daisy Dodderidge, the first landlady, in the early 1500s. She said that it was, "to serve as a gateway between the non-wizarding world and Diagon Alley." It rented rooms, had a bar, several private parlour rooms, and a large dining room.
To Muggles, the pub appears to be a broken-down old shop front on Charing Cross Road. This, however, was not the case prior to the imposition of the Statute of Secrecy and, in fact, prior to this, Muggle visitors were neither turned away, nor made to feel unwelcome. The rear of the pub, however, opens up onto a chilly courtyard and the entrance to Diagon Alley. To gain access, a witch or wizard has to tap the bricks in the wall in an anti-clockwise order, causing a doorway to Diagon Alley to form and then rearrange itself back into the original wall after the person(s) walk through.
Early history (1500s-1692)
- "Some people argue that the oldest pub in London is the White Hart on Drury Lane; others that it is the Angel on Bermondsey Wall, or the Lamb and Flag on Rose Street. All of these people are Muggles, and all of them are wrong. The oldest pub in London, as any wizard will tell you, is the Leaky Cauldron on Charing Cross Road."
- —The pub is the oldest in London[src]
The Leaky Cauldron was built in the early sixteenth century by Daisy Dodderidge. The Leaky Cauldron was there long before Charing Cross Road was even planned; its true address is number one Diagon Alley, and it is believed to have been built some time in the early 1500s, along with the rest of the wizarding street. Created some two centuries before the imposition of the International Statute of Secrecy, the Leaky Cauldron was initially visible to Muggle eyes. While the pub was, from the first, a place for witches and wizards to congregate — whether Londoners or out-of-towners up for the day to shop for the latest magical ingredients or devices — Muggles were not turned away or made to feel unwelcome, even though some of the conversations, not to mention pets, caused many an unwary drinker to leave without finishing his or her mead.
In 1692 with the imposition of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, Minister Ulick Gamp permitted the pub to continue its existence as a safe haven and refuge for members of the magical community. Though insistent on numerous concealment spells and good behaviour from all who used the pub, Gamp was sympathetic to the need of wizards to let off steam during this difficult time, and further agreed to give the landlord permission to let people into Diagon Alley from his backyard, because the shops behind the Leaky Cauldron were now also in need of protection. Out of gratitude, the landlord created a new brand of beer, Gamp's Old Gregarious, which tasted so disgusting that even with a one-hundred-Galleon incentive, nobody could finish a pint.
Recent history (1900-2014)
The Leaky Cauldron has changed little over the years; it is small, dingy and welcoming, with a few bedrooms above the public bar for travellers who live a long way from London. It is the ideal spot to catch up with wizarding gossip if you happen to live a long way from the nearest magical neighbour.
One of the most difficult times for the Leaky Cauldron was the creation of Charing Cross Road, which, had it gone the way it was initially planned to, would have flattened the pub. The Minister at that time, Faris Spavin, was certain that this was the end of the pub, and that it could not be saved. By the time he finished his seven-hour speech declaring this, however, he received a note from his secretary revealing that wizards had rallied, and through the mass use of Memory Charms had altered the entire route of the new road, leaving the architects confused as to why there was a blank space on the design, and why said space did not appear to the naked eye.
In 1991, Harry Potter and Rubeus Hagrid passed through the pub on their way to Diagon Alley. Tom, the innkeeper, greeted Hagrid there like an old friend. This made it seem that Hagrid was something of a regular. Some other witches and wizards who were there at the time were Doris Crockford, Dedalus Diggle, and Quirinus Quirrell and they took a great interest in Harry, queuing to shake his hand.
In 1992, Harry Potter and the Weasley family travelled to Diagon Alley by Floo Powder. Harry mispronounced "Diagonally", and therefore travelled to Knockturn Alley instead. After doing their shopping, Harry and the Weasleys departed through the Leaky Cauldron's fireplace to the Burrow.
In 1993, as well as stopping there for drinks, Harry Potter stayed at the inn for a time, having accidentally blown up his Aunt Marge. He also met Cornelius Fudge in a private room for the first time.
While the Leaky Cauldron was a favourite hangout for the magical community, its patronage took a turn for the worse in the summer of 1996, during the beginning of the Second Wizarding War. With Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters moving in the open, many witches and wizards avoided public places as much as possible, including the Leaky Cauldron. When Harry Potter, Rubeus Hagrid, and the Weasley family passed through the Leaky Cauldron that summer on his way to Diagon Alley, they noticed that the bar was empty with the exception of Tom.
On 1 May 1998, at the height of the war, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, with the assistance of Griphook the goblin, staged a break-in of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. While passing through the Leaky Cauldron on the way to the bank, they noted that it was nearly empty. Tom bowed in fear at the sight of Hermione, who was disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange at the time.
At some point after the end of the Second Wizarding War, Tom either retired or passed away. Hannah Abbott then became the new landlady.
- "For a famous place, it was very dark and shabby. A few old women were sitting in a corner, drinking tiny glasses of sherry. One of them was smoking a long pipe. A little man in a top hat was talking to the old barman, who was quite bald and looked like a gummy walnut"
- —The Leaky Cauldron in 1991[src]
Located at 1 Diagon Alley, The Leaky Cauldron was nested between a Muggle bookshop and a record store. Inside the pub, it was dark and shabby, with a bar and a number of tables in the shadows of the corners. In stark contrast to the grubby downstairs of the pub, there were some unexpectedly pleasant rooms upstairs where passing wizards and witches could stay for the night. These rooms were reached by way of a handsome wooden staircase, and contained comfortable beds, highly polished oak furniture, a crackling fire which was always burning in the grate to welcome the visitor to their lodgings, and, in Harry's case, a talking mirror.
Beneath the stairs leading to the second floor, was a second set of stairs leading to the basement. The latter come out on the right wall where two sitting areas containing red couch and chairs were nestled in each corner on this side. The front wall had a stage with red curtains in front of a lowered viewing area. The back wall was blank, but the left wall had another red sitting area, and a bar. However, the basement, it seems, had been locked off for no apparent reason.
Private parlour was a room located behind the bar at the ground-floor. It had a desk, a window and a little table and two somewhat uncomfortable chairs. In 1993 Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge borrowed the room so he could talk to Harry Potter about his safety and that he didn't have to worry about Sirius Black (who was thought to be a mass-murderer). He also told Harry that two men from the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad were sent out to puncture Marjorie Dursley and modify her memory after Harry lost control in Vernon Dursley's home, and that running away was irresponsible.
Room 11 was a room at the first-floor which had a bed in the middle, a fireplace, a talking mirror, and a window. In 1993 Harry Potter and his owl Hedwig stayed in the room after Harry ran away from Privet Drive and was picked up by the Knight Bus.
Dishes served at the Leaky Cauldron included:
- House, House Soup
- House Leaky Soup
- House Soup Leaky
- Leaky House Soup
- Leaky, Leaky Soup
- Leaky Soup House
- Soup House Leaky
- Soup Leaky House
- Soup Leaky, Leaky
- Soup, Soup Soup
- Pea soup
- Pickled eel
- Roast hog
- Steak and kidney pie
- Game pie
- Chocolate pudding (P.O.A)
Beverages served included:
Behind the scenes
- In film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as Hagrid and Harry approach the front door, the sign for the Leaky Cauldron clears from a blank, black cut-out to a stylised design with a cauldron in the background. In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a different doorway, with a different sign is shown. It is never shown whether this is supposed to be an alternate doorway or a "new" main entrance. Also, Tom the landlord was recast for the third film. In film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Leaky Cauldron is shown to be located between 48 Charing Cross Road (Quinto Bookshop) and 12 Great Newport Street (Ashley Associates Chartered Surveyors), London. In real life, there is no building in between 48 Charing Cross Road and 12 Great Newport Street, which can be seen in the following image, but possibly because in the real world it is "concealed". It is possible that as they were all three different door-ways, that the Leaky Cauldron had a door-way for every single part of London.
- Chapter Four of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is titled "The Leaky Cauldron".
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, the Leaky Cauldron has a basement, notice board, cinema room, and a back door.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references