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Harry Potter, the Bournemouth busker who became a legend with his own brand of Music.

HE has been gone for many  years but thanks to locals and the Bournemouth Echo Harry Potter, the white-bearded busker with barely any strings on his guitar, is still a Bournemouth legend.

When local man Steve Baron posted a picture of the colourful character on Facebook, he couldn’t have predicted that people would still be sharing their recollections years later.

That first post, on the Facebook page Memories of Old Poole & Bournemouth, has so far attracted  many comments, ‘likes’ and shares and will continue.

Mr Potter was an institution in Bournemouth from the 1980s, long before JK Rowling conceived his wizard namesake.

He would play near the NatWest bank in the Square, strumming the diminishing number of strings and singing songs like She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain.

There was an outcry in 1995, when Bournemouth council considered making buskers audition for a permit – and many feared he would fail the test. But the council relented and Harry continued playing.

Steve Baron recalled on Facebook: “I could never really work out if he was being crafty playing a broken 12-string with three strings and us all giving him money.”

He said he was happy that his post had brought back so many memories.

Graham Robinson said: “”In the early 1970s, on Wednesday evenings in the Richmond Lounge of the then Norfolk Hotel, Harold was always in attendance, ready to do his rendition of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain accompanied by the Mission Hall Jazz Band.”

Anita Garrett posted: “Good old One-String. Remember him well. True legend.”

Gary May recalled: “He was given a full set of strings for Christmas off my mates. Not too sure he ever used them though – the one to three strings was part of the act.”

Philip Courtenay added: “He made us laugh with pure innocent comedy. God bless the man.”

Local Artist Peter Copeland who kindly provided some of the photographs also painted some pictures of Harry, he also purchased a set of new strings for him, but said he only replaced 3 to allow him to create his own brand of music!! 

When Harry died, aged 77, in 2000, the Echo reported that he had grown up on a farm in Gloucestershire. When his parents died in the 1960s, he moved to Bournemouth and began a 20-year career with Unigate dairies.

He spent his last 12 months at Aaram Lodge at Southbourne, where matron Karen Hancock said in 2000: “He loved playing his guitar, and always sang songs like Show Me the Way to Go Home.

“He was very proud of the fact he was self-taught and at Christmas we bought him a guitar with the full five strings, rather than just one.”

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter