University College, Durham, the Real Hogwarts?

A note today from a friend in the UK suggests that the University of Chicago, aka ‘Chicagwarts,’ is not the best claimant to the prize for ‘School Most Like the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’ Bruce Charlton writes:

For a year I was a ‘Resident Don’ at University College, Durham, which is probably the only College other than Hogwarts that is situated in a real and purpose-built Castle (a Norman Castle, in fact)  (Durham Cathedral is in the background)

University College also has a Great Hall on Hogwarts lines – this view is facing towards the top table where the Dons sit.  So – does University College in the University of Durham, England win first place?

Really, Bruce, as a UChicago graduate, I’m not a fair judge in this contest. Using the calipers of age, location, and authenticity, University College, Durham, wins hands down. With a phoenix as a mascot, an exact replica of the Hogwarts Great Hall in Hutchinson Commons, and notoriety for peculiar teachers and graduates (say, “geek cubed”), the Quadrangles on Chicago’s South Side will probably win a few votes, even some outside the alumnae/i. (UChicago pictures below the jump.)

What say the HogPro All-Pros?


  1. University College, Durham. Brooms down.

  2. I’m with inked. Although that U of Chicago phoenix crest is pretty nifty.

  3. I should also add that Durham Castle has (like Ravenclaw) a Grey Lady ghost:

    This is part of the allegedly-haunted Black Staircase:

    However, I must admit that I was told this ghost was fairly-recently invented by a student who was giving visitor’s tours of the Castle, and proved so popular that it became the centre piece of the tour.

    On the other hand, the person who told me this was a skeptic who did not believe in ghosts – so it could be a case of ‘Well, he would say that’ wouldn’t he’.


  4. John, having walked the halls and HP film sites in Oxford, England for HPFan Trips including ChristChurch in Oxford, the University of Chicago impressed me on how the feel and sites of the walkways, halls and spires were much the same as Oxford, England to me and my wife. We have not visited Durham Castle as yet so I must be honest to state that I cannot be sure which is closer to THE Hogwarts.

    For Toni and I personally though, outside of Oxford and the many other HP film sites we have toured in England, Gloucester Cathedral, Alnwick Castle, etc. the University of Chicago would have to be the Hogwarts of the USA.

    Plus, we had the honor of hearing you give a great HP presentation there a couple of Halloween’s ago!!

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