Cabinet-maker Clive Leacock can magic a piece of cast-off household junk into a thing of beauty faster than you can say Expelliarmus.
It’s down to skill, imagination and a little bit of wizardry. All three are no problem for Clive – who once built the sets for the first Harry Potter film, transforming plyboard and chip into the reincarnation of author JK Rowling’s imagination – and that of millions of readers.
Penistone-based Clive now hand-crafts bespoke kitchens and upcycles old, rescued pieces of industrial furniture into unique tables, desks, shelves and cupboards at his company Love Wood Kitchens. Nothing is too daunting – he has transformed factory carts, metal storage boxes, bits of ploughs, scaffolding poles and salvaged timber into household pieces.
He honed his skills on the set of the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone creating props such as Hagrid’s settle, the staircase in the Dursley house and high chairs for goblins in Gringotts bank. Saturday and Sunday nights were spent creating the archway at platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station.
“I loved films and one day to decided to turn up at the Leavesden Studios in Watford to try my luck,” said Clive.”It’s a very hard arena to get into but it happened to be the very day the film’s construction manager was recruiting set builders.
“I got to work with people at the top of their game, making strange things dreamed up by the art director. Everything had to be accurate to the millimetre. It was a surreal experience. I once had to step over a gigantic troll while creating furniture to be smashed up by it and got to watch many of the actors,” said Clive, who began reading Harry Potter while he was on set so he could understand what he was making and why.
Afterwards he and his wife Gina moved to Derbyshire. They renovated a cottage in the Peak Park and Clive joined a local kitchen and furniture specialist before they set up Love Wood Kitchens in 2007.
Clive said: “It’s not been the easiest of the rides, but we have come out the other side and hope we can take on more staff soon.”
The company is gearing up for more orders after help with business planning, growth strategy, marketing and a new website from Barnsley Council’s business support programme Enterprising Barnsley.
Now they have three children, who all adore Harry Potter stories and are full of pride when their dad gets excited in the middle of a film and says: “I made that.”
Clive said: “Lots of items got saved and used in the later films and a number of them are now showcased in the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, which I took the kids to see. I think I enjoyed it as much as them.”