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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Bubble Hubble
When I lived in York in the 1980s it was already very much a tourist city, especially in summer, and perhaps the most tourist-thronged street was The Shambles, with its picturesquely overhanging gables that (so I was always told) had shaded the meat in hot weather in the days before refrigeration. For The Shambles was traditionally a street of butchers, as the name implies, although by my day there were only one or two.

I've no idea whether The Shambles was a direct influence on J. K. Rowling when she created Diagon Alley (have you?), but it's probably the most famous street of the type that she clearly had in mind, if I can put it thus circumspectly. York, however, nowhere appears in the Harry Potter books, and has not, as far as I know, ever been mentioned as an inspiration.

So, with the recent Cotswold project in mind, it's interesting to see just how complete the Potterification of The Shambles has been. There are now no butchers at all, but you can see...

...The Potions Cauldron...

The Shop That Must Not Be Named...

...The Boy Wizard...

...The World of Wizardry...

... and several other shops that have some kind of Pottery merchandise. As in the Cotswolds, the Mobius loop has closed: the original has become the copy, and vice versa. When Haruka sent a picture to her sister, she replied by asking whether it was a film set.

Who, after all, is to say that it isn't?

I don't know any street in Britain quite like The Shambles, but I suppose our towns must once have been full of them.

I suspect Diagon Alley also owes something to the film and TV adaptions of Dickens....

Wow. I don't even remember that from the last time I was there in 2016, though I suppose they may well have been - I don't see why we would have missed the Shambles as we did some exploring, but perhaps between the conference and the mead-hall we got turned around...or else they're new.

The Shambles is fairly central, but I suppose it might be easy to miss if you were just exploring at random. I've no idea how long these shops have been there, though.