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Harry Potter 'home' hopes to be Quidditch in on the market

IT is a unique chance to own a little piece of Edinburgh's literary history – the building where the first Harry Potter book was penned has gone on the market.

JK Rowling spent hour after hour in the former Nicolson's Cafe as she developed ideas for her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Now, Chinese restaurant Buffet King occupies the Nicolson Street site and owner Eddie Ng hopes to find a buyer that will turn the space into a literary museum.

He has already offered the building to Merchiston-based Ms Rowling for 1 million – an offer which was politely declined.

Mr Ng said: "I saw an article about a house where Bruce Lee lived in Hong Kong that was donated to the local council to turn into a museum. That sparked an idea to turn this place into a museum.

"We were thinking of selling to JK Rowling first because we think something should be done to mark the fact she wrote the book here."

Mr Ng owns three other Chinese restaurants in the city, as well as several takeaways, and hopes to sell Buffet King to focus on his other businesses.

While Ms Rowling turned down the offer, Mr Ng is optimistic someone will see the potential in turning it into a tourist attraction to mark the unassuming spot where the Boy Wizard was created.

He added: "The restaurant is on the open market but I would prefer someone to come in and preserve this place.

"We are looking for a buyer but it is still early stages."

Now a multi-millionaire, when JK Rowling first put pen to paper in Nicolson's Cafe with her daughter Jessica asleep in a pushchair, it was a different story.

From humble beginnings as the brainchild of a hard-up single mother living on benefits in the Capital, Harry Potter has become a household name worldwide.

And the chance to own a piece of Harry Potter history is sure to cause a stir among fans.

In fact, in February last year, trophy-hunting fans even stole a small brass plaque in the restaurant dedicated to JK Rowling.

The plaque was one of two set up on the street in honour of the writer. The other – which was unveiled by the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust in 2006 – is still in place, fixed to the outside of the building.

Mr Ng said the restaurant, just yards from the National Museum of Scotland, is in a prime location to draw in tourists.

He added: "I'm sure a museum would boost tourism.

"It is quite a renowned place. We do not advertise the JK Rowling connection that much, but it still attracts so much attention. We get many tourists from Japan and America."

 
 
 

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