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"They were standing at one end of a very long and splendid hall with a highly polished, dark wood floor. The peacock-blue ceiling was inlaid with gleaming golden symbols that were continually moving and changing like some enormous heavenly notice board. The walls on each side were panelled in shiny dark wood and had many gilded fireplaces set into them. Every few seconds a witch or wizard would emerge from one of the left-hand fireplaces with a soft whoosh; on the right-hand side, short queues of wizards were forming before each fireplace, waiting to depart."
Harry Potter entering the Ministry for the first time[src]

The headquarters of the British Ministry of Magic were located deep underground,[1] below Whitehall, in London.[2] They were comprised of a very large, ten-story building housing several offices, departments and courtrooms.

Although all the structure was underground, magical windows showed whatever weather the Magical Maintenance Department chose for the day, from bright sunshine to hurricanes. Lifts provided access to every level, except Level Ten, the Wizengamot Courtrooms, which was only accessible via a set of stairs from Level Nine, the Department of Mysteries.[1]

The Ministry of Magic Health and Safety Regulations (345-01 & 346-01) existed to protect those on the premises.


Early history[]

It is unknown when the underground building was built. If it was built when the Ministry of Magic was founded, then it dated back to the early eighteenth century, although it is unknown whether it was already used as headquarters of the Wizards' Council. If the latter is the case, it was presumably much older.

Global Wizarding War[]

Main article: Global Wizarding War

In 1927, an owl flew down into the Atrium from the top of the HM Treasury building on Whitehall.[3]

In 1932, fellow Ministry of Magic wizards watched the International Confederation of Wizards' Supreme Mugwump election with a top view at the Eyrie.[4]


Under Cornelius Fudge[]

"Our information from inside the Ministry is that Fudge doesn't want you trained in combat."
— Cornelius Fudge's paranoia surrounding the teaching of Defence Against the Dark Arts[src]
Poster of Cornelius Fudge

A banner depicting Minister Cornelius Fudge in the Ministry Atrium

Cornelius Fudge became Minister for Magic in 1990.[5] After the return of the Dark Lord on 24 June 1995, the Ministry campaigned to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, as Fudge, his mind "twisted and warped by fear", refused to believe it. To further express Fudge's control of the Ministry, a large banner of him was erected in the Atrium. On 12 August, Harry Potter was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry, pertaining to what the Ministry termed "offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy".[6]

Between late 1995 and mid-1996, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters including Lucius Malfoy tried to retrieve a prophecy record pertaining to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort from the Hall of Prophecy on Level Nine. In order to do that, Lucius cast the Imperius Curse upon Broderick Bode[7] and Sturgis Podmore[8] to no avail, as only Harry could take it from its shelf. Shortly after midnight on 18 June, 1996, the Death Eaters managed to lure Harry Potter and Dumbledore's Army into the deserted Ministry. The Order of the Phoenix went to rescue them, and a battle ensued.[9] After the battle, the Ministry was forced to believe the return of the Dark Lord and Fudge resigned in disgrace.[10]

Under Rufus Scrimgeour[]

"Maybe the Ministry should put some people onto that, instead of wasting their time stripping down Deluminators or covering up breakouts from Azkaban... People are dying — I was nearly one of them — Voldemort chased me across three counties, he killed Mad-Eye Moody, but there's no word about any of that from the Ministry, has there? And you still expect us to co-operate with you!"
— Harry Potter's position regarding the way the Ministry was operating[src]

Rufus Scrimgeour making a speech on the current situation

In response to the war situation the country was facing, Rufus Scrimgeour, appointed Fudge's successor in the summer of 1996, was responsible for the creation of several new bureaucracies, such as Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects.[11]

In the summer of the next year, shortly after Albus Dumbledore's death, the Atrium at the Ministry was the setting of a speech by Scrimgeour about the "dark times" the wizarding world was living in, and about how the Ministry remained "strong" and active in the fight against the dark forces.[12]

Under Pius Thicknesse[]

"The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."
Kingsley Shacklebolt warning the Order of the Phoenix of the Ministry's fall[src]
Fallen Ministry

Four main members of the new regime, from left to right: Albert Runcorn, investigator of possible Muggle-borns; Dolores Umbridge, Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission; Pius Thicknesse, Minister for Magic; and Corban Yaxley, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement

In the meantime, the Death Eaters were managing to infiltrate the Ministry by magically controlling some of the its higher-ranking officials.[13] As a consequence, later in the summer, on the evening of 1 August, the Ministry was the stage of a silent coup during which Scrimgeour was tortured and killed[14] while refusing to give Lord Voldemort any information on the whereabouts of Harry Potter.[15]

After the Death Eater coup, the Ministry of Magic became headed by Pius Thicknesse, who was under Death Eater control by means of the Imperius Curse. Sometime between the coup and 2 September of the same year, the Atrium became host to the Magic is Might statue, a black stone statue illustrative of the new regime, which depicted a wizard and witch sitting atop thrones made from the contorted bodies of Muggles, each with a stupid expression. Much more security was added to the building,[2] which included only the senior-ranked Ministry employees being permitted to arrive to and depart from there via the Floo Network or Apparition; lower level employees were forced to go to work via a toilet network,[16] accessible inside a set of underground public toilets in Whitehall.[2]

Under Kingsley Shacklebolt[]

Harry Potter: "The Ministry isn't perfect, but think of all the good we've done since the Second Wizarding War ended. Werewolves used to be ostracised and discriminated against. But thanks to our outreach programme, attitudes are changing. The wizarding community is becoming more inclusive."
Constance Pickering: "I'm not discounting the progress you've made, but didn't your original proposal include providing free Wolfsbane Potions to any werewolf who wanted them? Politics and protocols prevented you from making the kind of change that would have done the most good. I know you're trying your hardest, Harry. But at its best, the Ministry is ineffective. At its worst, it's dangerous. You can try to change it, but there will always be things the Ministry simply can't do."
— Discussion of the Ministry's new progressiveness and of its limitations[src]
Trio epilouge

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger helped reform the Ministry after the war

In 1998, after the destruction of Lord Voldemort and the end of the Second Wizarding War, Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic and led a massive reform of the Ministry.[17] This included the efforts of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the Auror Office, and Hermione Granger advancing the rights of non-humans, and eradicating pro-pure-blood laws in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and later the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[18]

At some point during Kingsley's tenure as Minister Harry Potter helped advance werewolf rights. He did this by setting up an outreach programme.[19] He also proposed providing free Wolfsbane Potions to any werewolf who wanted the potion. However, his Wolfsbane proposal never came to fruition, as politics and protocols prevented it from happening.[19]


Part of the discussion of the Ministry premises revolved around the problem of keeping such a large organisation hidden from the Muggles, it being simpler to hide than to explain the presence of a multi-storey building, apparently Government-owned, but with no apparent purpose. To solve this issue, the Ministry was located entirely underground, and thus one of the issues facing the Ministry maintenance wizards was the underground environment.

In Harry's first visit to the Ministry, he learned that the windows spotted around the Ministry did not reflect the outside world, but were fabrications of the maintenance workers, and that a contract dispute had resulted in the windows showing grim, rainy weather for a solid month no matter what the outside weather was doing. The maintenance workers had full control of the office environment; in 1997, it apparently became fairly common for rainstorms to occur in the offices of those who the maintenance workers didn't approve of.

More than twenty service lifts stopped at all floors, Levels One through Nine. Stairways provided access to all ten levels in the Ministry, and had to be used to access Level Ten.[1] As the entire Ministry was underground, the higher the floor number, the further underground the level was.

Entrances to the Headquarters[]

B5C7M1 British Ministry of Magic visitors' entrance

British Ministry of Magic visitors' entrance

The visitor's entrance of the Ministry of Magic was an abandoned red telephone box; one entered the Ministry by dialling "62442" ("magic"). Following the prompts of the operator, passes would be issued and the telephone box would descend through the ground into the Atrium (Level Eight).[1]

Before Voldemort's takeover, a Ministry worker could use the Floo Network or Apparate directly into the Atrium.

The official entrance to the Ministry[20] was located in underground toilets in Whitehall. Two stairways were labelled GENTLEMEN or LADIES. They led into an underground public bathroom. A golden Ministry of Magic coin was used to open the stall doors. The act of flushing oneself down the Ministry toilet caused the person to emerge from a fireplace on the left side of the Atrium, which faced the Fountain of Magical Brethren[1] (later the Magic is Might statue).

To depart the Ministry, one had to stand in one of the fireplaces on the right side of the Atrium, causing them to come out of another toilet in the underground bathroom. At this point one could Apparate to a separate location.[1] After Voldemort took over the Ministry, employees and officials were forced to enter the Ministry by flushing themselves.


Level 1 - Minister for Magic and Support Staff[]


The entrance to the office of the Senior Undersecretary to Minister for Magic on Level One

The top level of the Ministry, this level contained the offices of the highest-ranking Ministry officials.[16] This Level's floor was covered in thick purple carpets and all the offices within contained a gleaming mahogany door, each bearing a small plaque with the owner's name and occupation upon it.[21] It contained the offices of the Minister for Magic and other administrative personnel such as:

Level 2 - Department of Magical Law Enforcement[]

Department of Magical Law Enforcement logo

The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the largest department at the Ministry of Magic.[23] Arguably the most important of the various departments, it housed a combination of police and justice facilities.[1] Around the corner from the access lift and past a set of heavy oak doors lay the Auror Office: a large open area divided into small cubicles, one for each Auror.

After another set of double doors and another passage, one would find themself in a dimly lit and distinctly shabby corridor, at the end of which lay a broom cupboard to the left, and, opposite it, the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, in a room of almost the same size as the cupboard; two desks and overflowing filing cabinets crammed inside.[1] This level also included:

Level 3 - Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes[]

Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes

Level Three housed the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes whose employees held the responsibility for repairing accidental magical damage. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes included the following offices:

Level 4 - Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures[]

Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures logo

The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures was the second largest Department in the Ministry.[23] The Department incorporated the following offices:

Level 5 - Department of International Magical Co-operation[]

Department of International Magical Cooperation

The Department of International Magical Co-operation was an agency concerned in foreign affairs, which attempted to get wizards from different countries to co-operate in wizarding actions both political and public. It incorporated the following offices:

Level 6 - Department of Magical Transportation[]

DMT clear

The Department of Magical Transportation was responsible for various aspects of magical transport. It included the:

Level 7 - Department of Magical Games and Sports[]

DMGS logo

Level Seven housed the Department of Magical Games and Sports, which was responsible for organising sports events, such as the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, as well as enforcing game-related laws and regulations.

The Department had a very relaxed ambiance, the corridor off the access lift being somewhat "untidy-looking" in comparison to the other Ministerial Departments: various posters of Quidditch teams were tacked lopsidedly on the walls.[1] Magical Games and Sports incorporated the:

Level 8 - The Atrium[]

Ministry Atrium OOTPF

On Level Eight lay the Atrium, an area that served as a lobby and reception room to the visitors and employees. The Atrium was a very long hall with a highly polished dark wood floor. The ceiling was peacock blue and was filled with golden symbols that kept moving like a notice board. The walls on each side were covered in gilded fireplaces used for travelling via Floo powder; the left-hand side ones served for arrivals and the right-hand side ones for departures.[1]

Halfway down the Atrium lay the Fountain of Magical Brethren[1] (In 1997-1998, during Lord Voldemort's puppet regime, the Magic is Might statue replaced the fountain.)[21] On the far end of the hall was the Security Desk,[1] the Ministry Munchies café[24] and a set of double golden gates leading to the at least twenty access lifts.[1] In a room off the Atrium was the Security Office, a room containing spare keys to the offices and lift information.[2]

Level 9 - Department of Mysteries[]

Department of Mysteries

The corridor leading to the Department of Mysteries

The Department of Mysteries was a section of the Ministry of Magic that carried out confidential research. Most of its operations were carried out in total secrecy. Few wizards within the Ministry actually knew what was located within this department. The wizards who worked in the Department of Mysteries were known as Unspeakables because of the confidential nature of their work.[25]

This Level bore a striking difference to those above: the black-tiled walls[26] were bare with no windows and no doors apart from a plain black one at the end of the corridor that led into the Department proper.[1] Light was provided only by torches.[27] A small flight of steps to the left led to Level Ten.[1] Upon entering the Department, one would find themself in a circular room of dark marble floor, lit by candles emitting a cool blue light.[27] The room held several doors leading to at least the following offices:

Level 10 - Courtrooms[]


The Council of Magical Law in one of the Wizengamot courtrooms during the First Wizarding War

Level Ten, the final and bottommost level of the Ministry, hosted about half a score of courtrooms, which were used by the Wizengamot and the Council of Magical Law in full-scale criminal trials (such as the Death Eater trials in 1981).[28] In 1997, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission also used these courtrooms during their questioning of Muggle-born wizards.[21]

Level Ten was accessible via a flight of steps leading down from Level Nine. The corridors here had rough stone walls and torches in brackets. The doors leading to the courtrooms proper were heavy and made of wood, with large iron bolts and keyholes.[1]

Courtroom Ten had walls made of dark stone, dimly lit by torches,[6] with serried rows of benches, rising in levels all around the room, all positioned so that they had a clear view of the chair at the centre of the room, in which the person charged with a crime would sit.[28]

There was a detention area below the courtrooms, in which convicted wizards were imprisoned while awaiting transportation to Azkaban Prison. It was also a dark-tiled area, with gilded gates closing the cells.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Over 30,000 individually placed tiles were used to create the Ministry of Magic.[29] As actual ceramic tiles would have been far too expensive to use, the "tiles" were instead made out of thick card, each tile undergoing a lengthy painting process to make them look as realistic as possible.[30]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
  3. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore - The Complete Screenplay
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  10. J. K. Rowling's official site
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 5 (An Excess of Phlegm)
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Chapter 1
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)}}
  17. "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript" on The Leaky Cauldron
  18. "Vieira, Meredith. "Harry Potter: The Final Chapter" Dateline (NBC) , 29 July 2007" on Accio Quote
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
  22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 4 (Number Twelve Grimmauld Place)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Magical Beasts in Hiding
  24. 'Harry Potter' Set Visit: Inside The Ministry of Magic (MTV Movie News)
  25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch)
  26. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film), Chapter 26 (The Department of Mysteries)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  28. 28.0 28.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)
  29. http://www.ign.com/articles/2007/06/25/set-report-harry-potter-and-the-order-of-the-phoenix
  30. http://spiritsoflondon.blogspot.com/2012/08/sol-visits-making-of-harry-potter-tour.html
Death Eaters
Dark Mark Pottermore
Leader: Lord Voldemort
Death Eaters

Avery II · Alecto Carrow · Amycus Carrow · Crabbe · Bartemius Crouch Junior † · Antonin Dolohov · Gibbon † · Goyle · Gareth Greengrass's brother · Jugson · Barnaby Lee's father · Barnaby Lee's mother · Bellatrix Lestrange † · Rabastan Lestrange · Rodolphus Lestrange · Walden Macnair · Mulciber I · Mulciber II · Nott · Pyrites (possibly) · Augustus Rookwood · Rosier · Evan Rosier † · Thorfinn Rowle · Selwyn · Merula Snyde's father · Merula Snyde's mother · Travers · Mason Tremblay (possibly) · Wilkes † · Corban Yaxley · Unidentified Death Eaters

Death Eater defectors

Regulus Black † · Igor Karkaroff † · Draco Malfoy · Lucius Malfoy · Peter Pettigrew † · Severus Snape

Death Eater allies

Borgin · Vincent Crabbe · John Dawlish · Delphini · Golgomath · Gregory Goyle · Fenrir Greyback · Mafalda Hopkirk · Narcissa Malfoy (defected) · Ismelda Murk (unofficially, supposedly) · Nagini · Mr Padgett · Mrs Padgett · Pansy Parkinson · Quirinus Quirrell · Albert Runcorn · Stanley Shunpike (Imperiused) · Scabior · Serpent of Slytherin · Pius Thicknesse (Imperiused) · Yubert Thorne · Dolores Umbridge

Other affiliations

British Ministry of Magic (under Voldemort's control) · Daily Prophet (under Voldemort's control) · Dementors · Draco Malfoy's gang · Kreacher (formerly) · Tom Riddle's gang · Gang of Slytherins · Giants (Golgomath's control) · Inferi · Charmed skeletons · Muggle-Born Registration Commission · Theodore Nott (possibly) · Snatchers · Werewolf army · The Unforgivable

Death Eater establishments

Abandoned nuclear power plant · Borgin and Burkes · British Ministry of Magic Headquarters (under Voldemort's control) · The Cave · Chamber of Secrets · Forbidden Forest · Gaunt Shack · Lee family house · Lestrange Vault · Little Hangleton graveyard · Malfoy Manor · Misty Dell · Riddle House · Snatcher Camp · Spinner's End (Severus Snape's house) · The Abandoned Substation · The Ruins · The Quarry