Gringotts Wizarding Bank is the only known Wizarding bank in Great Britain. It served as the sole financial regulating body for the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It was founded by a goblin named Gringott in 1474, hence the name. It has its major office on the North Side of Diagon Alley, next to its intersection with Knockturn Alley, and is run solely by goblins. It is located close to the Leaky Cauldron and is therefore also close to the side of London inhabited solely by Muggles and the Charing Cross Road. Other shops nearby include Florian Fortescue’s Ice Cream parlor, Potage’s Cauldron Shop, and Flourish and Blotts. The bank had all the services that muggle banks would have and much more.
Gringotts allowed for muggle money to be converted to wizarding money and was therefore very useful for students of Hogwarts from muggle families like Hermione, who could exchange Pounds for Galleons, Knuts, or Sickles. It is believed that Gringotts bank is a very magically secure bank, and Hagrid claimed that it is probably the safest place in Great Britain after Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is also a quote written at the front of the bank on its silver doors that is visible to visitors. Addressing the stranger who enters the bank, it asks them to take heed and warns them as to what awaits the sin of greed.
History and Description
The Gringotts Wizarding Bank was created in the year 1474 by a goblin named Gringott. It is said to have been created in the effect of the 14th Century Wizarding Economic Bubble. It was later taken over by the Ministry of Magic and has always had some form of Wizarding management ever since. However, in the year 1865, the Ministry finally decided to give back full control of the bank to the goblins. Almost all magical beings, especially wizards and witches have their savings in separate vaults at Gringotts.
The Gringotts building in Diagon Alley is made of white marble and towers over most other shops and buildings next to it. It has a set of large bronze doors that lead to a passageway and a smaller set of silver doors that lead into a marble hallway filled with counters at which goblins sit and manage the bank. Most of the vaults are located underneath the bank and go very deep down. A lot of security measures are taken, including animals like dragons and bewitchments which form only a part of the bank’s secrets. While the lower-security vaults have a decent security system, the occupants of high-security vaults are given a lot of extra facilities, and a lot of measures are taken to protect them.
Appearances in the Harry Potter Universe
Gringotts Wizarding Bank makes numerous appearances in the Harry Potter series. The first appearance of Gringotts in the series occurs in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Harry and Hagrid visit Diagon Alley and go to the bank to get some money from Harry’s vault. They are taken through the underground rail by Griphook to both Harry’s vault and another vault that Hagrid has to collect something from. On the way, Hagrid explains to Harry that only a fool would try to steal from Gringotts. Later, it is found that he was collecting the Philosopher’s Stone from Nicholas Flamel’s vault to be taken to Hogwarts for safekeeping. From newspaper reports, Harry, Ron, and Hermione later find out that the same vault had been broken into, but nothing was stolen, as the contents in it were emptied earlier.
Gringotts makes regular appearances in the rest of the series and is also mentioned several times, including when Bill Weasley, Ron’s brother, is introduced. Bill works as a curse breaker for Gringotts in Egypt. Eventually, he also meets his future wife Fleur Delacour there as she joins Gringotts for a part-time job after the Triwizard Tournament. A pamphlet from Gringotts hiring students is seen in one of the books, and it mentions that a career for curse-breakers in Gringotts will give them access to travel, adventure, and treasure bonuses.
Gringotts is next seen properly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to ‘steal’ a Horcrux of Voldemort from Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault. Her fear when she finds out that Hermione and the others had the Sword of Gryffindor is a giveaway to the possibility of finding something important there. So, Harry, Hermione, and Ron enlist the help of Griphook, and they go to Gringotts in disguise. Hermione disguises herself as Bellatrix and Ron as a Death Eater.
Harry and Griphook hide under the Invisibility Cloak. They end up controlling one of the head goblins there with the Imperius Curse and make him take them to the Lestrange Vault. On the way, since there are several enchantments and magical concealments within the passageways to prevent break-ins, they are thrown out of the carriage they are in by the “thief’s downfall” which was a waterfall charmed to catch intruders. It is said that during the Second Wizarding War, several new security measures, including probity probes, were used.
However, after falling down, Harry, Ron, and Hermione made their way into the Lestrange vault after facing one of the fire-breathing dragons and started looking for any Hufflepuff cups. The valuables in the vault had been bewitched with the Gemino curse, which caused every item to multiply when touched. Eventually, amidst the ruins of a lot of multiplied cups and plates, Harry sensed the presence of the Horcrux, which turned out to be a cup of Helga Hufflepuff. By the time they came out of the vault with the Horcrux, a lot of security forces actively seemed to attack them. They eventually escape on top of one of the dragons and are safe.
Why Was Gringotts the Only Bank?
Although not explicitly mentioned, it is widely believed that Gringotts was the only bank in magical Britain. There might be several logical reasons for that. Primarily, it makes sense to have a singular regulating body to maintain the country’s economy that knows magic because, even in the muggle world, the major reason for unitary regulating banks is to prevent criminal offenses like counterfeiting and to regulate economic parameters like inflation.
Since the country’s population knows magic, it is bound to have several complications like easier ways to produce counterfeit currency like Leprechaun gold. By having a unitary bank like Gringotts, the economic system can be regulated well. Part of that code of having such a strong body to regulate all economic occurrences is the ability to prevent most, if not all, criminal offenses like fraud and counterfeiting.
What bank did they use for Gringotts?
The Gringotts Wizarding Bank is a large building made of white marble and situated in Diagon Alley on the magical side of London. In the Harry Potter movie adaptations, the Australia House located in the Strand Building of London was used to portray Gringotts. It has several similarities with the description of Gringotts in the books, which is probably why it was chosen to portray the Gringotts Wizarding Bank in the movies.
Who broke into Vault 713?
Professor Quirinus Quirrel was responsible for the break-in at Gringotts on July 31, 1991. He was commanded by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Vault 713 which belonged to the French alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle Flamel. He was unsuccessful in the attempt because the vault was already cleared earlier in the day by Hagrid on Dumbledore’s orders.
What is the Gringotts warning poem?
The Gringotts warning poem is as follows:
“Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.“
It warns the people who enter the building to be wary of trying to get greedy and steal.