Thefolly old
Scientia Potestas Est

The Folly (AKA Specialist Crime Directorate 9 or the Special Assessment Unit, SAU[1]) has been the official home of British magic since 1775.

The buildingEdit

The Folly is located in London, on Russell Square, a kilometre north of Covent Garden on the other side of the British Museum. It is on the south side of the square, and is one of a row of Georgian terraces. It is 5 storeys high, with wrought-iron railings defending steep drops into basement flats. It has a flight of stairs leading up to its double mahogany doors with brass fittings. The Latin words 'scientia potestas est' are carved above the lintel.[2]

The Folly has many features, including, but not limited to:

  • a mundane (or general) library
  • a magic library
  • a third library (the 'Black Library')
  • a reading room
  • a lecture hall (with a separate Ladies Gallery, reached by a back passage from the eastern staircase[3])
  • a firing range
  • a coach house
  • several laboratories
  • a breakfast room
  • a large dining room (currently not in use)
  • a lounge (currently not in use)
  • a smoking room (currently not in use)
  • a private dining room
  • several bedrooms (Three of them are mentioned: one belonging to Peter, one used by Lesley May and one used by Zachary Palmer)
  • It is not known yet where Nightingale's room is, or what it looks like.


Downstairs are the kitchens, sculleries (where Molly lives), the wine cellar and the firing range.[4]

Ground floorEdit

The entrance lobby has a mosaic floor in the Roman manner, and a wooden and glass booth. Beyond this, flanked by two pillars, is a statue of Sir Isaac Newton, the founder. The centre of the building is dominated by a large atrium, with a marble floor, two rows of balconies and a Victorian iron and glass dome roof. Also on this floor are the big dining room, the lounge, the smoking room, the general library and the lecture hall. There are two main staircases, and the back stairs (located in the front).[5]

1st floorEdit

2nd floorEdit

3rd floorEdit

Peter's bedroom can be found up the eastern staircase, to the first balcony, two more flights of stairs, down a second-storey hallway. It is a nice room of good size, with a high ceiling and two sash windows. It has a brass double bed, a writing desk, a 'Narnia wardrobe', and bookcases lining two entire walls. There is a gas fire surrounded by green ceramic tiles.[6]

Mews/Carriage houseEdit

At the back of the building is a tradesman's entrance and a walled courtyard, within which is an old coach house, the bottom floor of which is converted into a garage. A wrought-iron spiral staircase leads directly to the first floor studio which has a partly glazed roof. While the main building is heavily protected by invisible, magic means, the old coach house has minimal protection, allowing the installation of cabled devices such as televisions and computer cables, which would otherwise weaken such defenses. For this reason Peter Grant uses the studio as his personal office and living area.

The organisationEdit

The Folly was not divided into departments, but worked together with (among others) the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office and the Home Office (including the police and other civil authorities). Some members used it for their research into the fields of science or folklore. Others just used the Folly as their London club, and only stayed there when in town.[7]

Associates of the FollyEdit


  1. Whispers Under Ground
  2. Rivers of London, chapter 3 'The Folly'
  3. The Hanging Tree
  4. Rivers of London
  5. Rivers of London
  6. Rivers of London, chapter 3, 'The Folly'
  7. Broken Homes
  8. The Hanging Tree

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