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Harry Potter filmset builder diversifies into upcycling

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Clive Leacock, who has 21 years’ experience in cabinet making, helped design and build sets for the 2001 film ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. And some of its many props include Hagrid’s settle, the staircase in the Dursley house and high chairs that goblins sat on in Gringotts bank.

And according to him, he landed the role by sheer luck by merely turning up on the same day as they were recruiting.

“Working on the set of Harry Potter became quite a surreal experience,” he explained. “I had to step over a gigantic troll that looked like it was asleep on the floor whilst creating furniture to be smashed up by it.

“Some of the furniture and sets that I created were taken from the set and are now showcased in the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.”

After working on the film, and a stunt at a Derbyshire-based furniture specialist, Leacock and his wife Gina set up Love Wood Kitchens. The company, which can be found in Penistone, specialise in producing bespoke kitchen furniture, but soon found itself hitting a roadblock – the recession.

Leacock said: “It’s not been the easiest of the rides, but we have weathered it and come out the other side and hope we can take on more staff soon to cope with growing demand for our work.

And in order to retain their growth, they recently diversified into rescuing old pieces of industrial furniture and turning them into tables, desks, shelves and cupboards.

The new furniture is made from everything from metal storage boxes and bits of ploughs, to scaffolding poles and salvaged timber. And the company’s plans are being backed by business support programme Enterprising Barnsley, which is run by Barnsley Council.

“Moving into upcycling makes sense for us, because hand-crafted kitchens involve a lot of work and take about eight weeks to complete. With upcycling, it’s a little different as I can carry out individual transformations quicker and create a new range of products, which gives us a new income stream.

“With upcycling, it’s a truly blank canvas, I can take one look at something and I know it can become something unique and special.”

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