Thought to be the inspiration behind Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, Cecil Court has been involved in the film industry for over 120 years.
In 1897, the AHRB Centre for British Flm and Television Studies was the first company to set up a film shop on Cecil Court. By 1914, over 40 other companies had followed suit.
Talk about setting a trend.
A film powerhouse encompassing every aspect of filmmaking- from production to distribution to the supplying of equipment- the place soon earned itself a new nickname: Flicker Alley.
Flicker Alley was a place where talent was nurtured and creativity was allowed to flourish. And the companies that it attracted weren’t just British either: French, American, and Danish firms also took up residence there, turning this humble thoroughfare into an international name.
More than just a producer of film, Flicker Alley was also renowned as the place to buy or hire film in Edwardian London.
With easy access to film reels, the equipment necessary to project them, and even confectionary available along the Court, it was a one-stop shop for early afficianados of the moving picture.
Sound and Vision
Not just a hub for the visual arts, Flicker Alley is also a the former stomping ground of a certain musical legend: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The young Mozart and his family lodged there, with a barber, during his 1764 tour of Europe. Tickets for his first London performances were even sold from the barber's shop.
Legend has it that whilst staying there Mozart not only performed for King George III, but also composed his first symphony!
A plaque at number 9 Cecil Court commemorates Mozart's stay.
Flicker Alley Today
Today, Flicker Alley remains an intriguing pedestrian passageway. Its Victorian facade and well-stocked antique book and map shops, galleries and jewellery sellers make it the perfect place for treasure hunters and book hounds alike.
A visual treat and a step back in time, it's hardly surprising that its thought to have inspired Harry Potter's Diagon Alley.
A Place Of Many Names
Whether you want to call it Flicker Alley, Cecil Court, Diagon Alley or its more recent pseudonym 'Bookseller's Row' there is little argument that the lane has a lot going for it. It's a must-see for readers, collectors, Potter fans and anyone interested in London's role in cinematic history.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our City Hunts in London - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of London.