My Story

Harry Potter, London

Harry From London

Being called Harry Potter has been a distinct advantage for Harry Potter from London, who is a barrister in criminal law, a qualified Church of England priest, a published author and a local government councilor.

"It's not a problem in the least," said the 50-year-old. "In fact, it is very beneficial. Iím a barrister and it helps me in court. It helps me to win clients, and judges can't believe it when they hear I'm Harry Potter. It's a wonderful ice-breaker - everyone has a laugh and then we get down to business. Everyone knows who I am in the courts - that's a help.

"The first Harry Potter book didn't really change anything for me. The second one became a huge hit and then things changed. Personally, I think the stories are OK but they don't compare to Tolkein or Kipling.

"Before becoming a barrister, I was prison chaplain and I still preach in churches. When the vicar introduces me, I can see everyone look up. Children, who normally leave after Sunday School, refuse to leave the church because they want to listen to me. It's most peculiar - you could say it's bizarre but benign."

Being Harry Potter has several other advantages. "I ran for election as a local government councilor and I went up against the mayor," said Harry, who has also worked as a college chaplain at Cambridge University "I won quite easily and I know he was saying he lost because he was up against Harry Potter. I would campaign by knocking on doors and introducing myself. I had dozens of children following me."

Harry's prized possession is a hand-written letter from JK Rowling, creator of the fictional Harry Potter. "When the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published, I decided to write to JK because I too was working in chambers full of secrets at the law courts," he said. "She wrote a lovely letter back explaining the origins of the name - her neighbors called Potter and Harry being her favourite boys' name. It's probably worth thousands of pounds."

London's Harry Potter is also a published author with three history books to his name - Hanging in Judgement (1993), Bloodfeud, and Edinburgh Under Seige (2003).

"When I was working as prison chaplain, I met many prisoners with life sentences who would have been executed under old laws," he said. "Someone asked me to write something about my work and realized that no one had ever written about capital punishment since the last British execution in 1964, so I wrote the book.

"The other books were inspired by my nostalgia for Scotland - I originally come from Glasgow. Bloodfeud and Edinburgh Under Seige gave me excuses to visit Edinburgh castle and explore. Again, I realized nobody had written about the siege which lasted from 1571 to 1573, so I decided to do it."