At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells. Spoilers will be present within the article.
- "A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen."
- — Description of the street at night[src]
Privet Drive was a suburban street in Little Whinging, which is located in the county of Surrey, near London in the southeast of England. The neighbourhood consisted of a number of boring, boxy houses with gardens at the front and back.
The Dursleys lived on this street, in Number Four. Neighbours included 3 Privet Drive and 11 Privet Drive. The type of people who live here seem to be rich, snobbish and extremely nosy; Harry Potter once noted that they were the type who thought "scruffiness ought to be punishable by law". The street has its own postal delivery service, and at least one (Number Four) received the Daily Mail newspaper.
On 1 November 1981, Vernon Dursley noticed a tabby cat which standing on the corner of Privet Drive reading a map on a dull, grey Tuesday. He realised the cat was staring at him, but he assumed it was simply a trick of the light. He was unaware that the cat was actually Minerva McGonagall, an Animagus witch who was spying on him and his family. That night, the wizard Albus Dumbledore came to Privet Drive and darkened the street with his Deluminator, so the Muggle residents could not see what would be happening. Dumbledore greeted Minerva, who subsequently transformed back into human form. That night, they, along with Rubeus Hagrid (who arrived on the scene with a flying motorbike, came to give a baby Harry Potter over to the Dursleys, after his parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort.
In the summer of 1995, Privet Drive was witness to quite a few magical accidents. First, Mundungus Fletcher Disapparated outside Number 4. This alerted several neighbours, but Vernon explained it as a "car backfiring." Then later, the Dementor attack happened, witnessed by Mrs Figg, who Harry believed to be a Muggle at the time, but she was in fact a Squib.
In the summer of 1997, Arthur Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt arrived at Number 4 to tell Vernon Dursley of the new threat to the wizarding and Muggle worlds posed by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and how Harry's safety was important. This was probably witnessed by several people, but as Arthur and Kinglsey were presumably in Muggle clothes, they would have been unnoticed.
Residents of Privet Drive
Dudley Dursley lived on Privet Drive from the time he was born to Vernon and Petunia Dursley, until he and his family parted ways with Harry for the last time and were taken into hiding by Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones during the Second Wizarding War. It is likely that he returned to Privet Drive with his parents after the war ended.
Vernon Dursley was Dudley Dursley's dad and lived on Privet Drive since before the end of the First Wizarding War. The Dursleys had to move out during the Second Wizarding War, as it was feared they would be targeted by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. It is likely that he moved back to Privet Drive with his family after the end of the war.
Petunia Dursley lived on Privet Drive since before the end of the First Wizarding War. She and her husband, Vernon Dursley, had to move out during the Second Wizarding War, as it was feared they would be targeted by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. It is likely that she moved back to Privet Drive with her family after the end of the war.
Harry Potter lived with the Dursleys in number 4 Privet Drive from the age of one to eleven, and every summer when he wasn't at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When he reached the age of seventeen, he left the house for good. It is unknown if he ever visited after the end of the Second Wizarding War, although he never lived there again.
In Latin, privet means "it deprives us." When pronounced "pree-'vyet," it means "hi" in Russian (привет), although this is probably a coincidence.
According to Pottermore, Rowling chose the word privet from a privet bush, a hedge that isolates suburban houses. She mentions that she liked the link to suburbia and isolation, which connected well with the Dursley's desire to be normal and away from wizards.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, every car featured on the street is the same model, a 2000 Vauxhall Vectra estate. This is inconsistent with the novel's canonical timeline, as the novel is set in 1991 and 1992. A previous generation of the Vectra, then known as the Vauxhall Cavalier, was available in 1991; however, the on-screen car can't be considered a stand in as the model was not offered in the Estate body style.
- During the film's cold opening (when baby Harry is first brought to Privet Drive), the cars on the street all appear to be Vauxhall Cavalier MkIIIs, which would be consistent with the 1991 setting, but was inconsistent with that scene, set in 1981.
- These details imply that the film timeline is set approximately 10 years after the books, roughly contemporaneously with the films' release dates.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Arabella Figg is shown to live in this street, despite canonically she lives on Wisteria Walk.
- For production of the film adaptation of the first book, an actual urban location (Picket Post Close, Winkfield, Bracknell) was chosen to double for Privet Drive. When this proved impractical for further films, a section of Privet Drive was constructed on the back lot at Leavesden Studios. As of August 2011, an aerial view of this set could be viewed via Google Maps.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Seen in cutscenes only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Seen in cutscenes only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Motorbike Escape
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 1 (Dudley Demented)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 3 (The Letters from No One)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 3 (The Invitation)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 2 (A Peck of Owls)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 3 (The Dursleys Departing)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 2 (The Vanishing Glass)
- Philosopher's Stone film trivia on IMDb.com