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 name Edit

At the beginning, it’s members met in “a faux medieval tower”, i.e. a "folly" in the architectural sense, in the garden of the fifth Duke of Bedford, until the current building was built.[2] The new building apparently retained the nickname of the old one, despite being anything but a folly.

The buildingEdit

The building was designed by James Burton and built ca 1796.[2] 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' (knowledge is power) are carved above the lintel.[3]

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[4])
  • a firing range
  • a coach house
  • several laboratories (among them a metal working lab, with adjoining dark room[5])
  • 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)
  • a billiard room[6]
  • It is not known yet where Nightingale's room is, or what it looks like.


Downstairs are the kitchens, sculleries (where Molly works), the wine cellar, the firing range[7], the armoury and servant's rooms. The Rose jars found in the basement of George Buckland's house were placed in one of the abandoned servant's rooms.[5]

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. The atrium also has busts of Newton[7] and Casterbrook.[2] 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).[7]

1st floorEdit

The first floor os the location of the Folly’s teaching lab, and also something that looks like a design and technology workshop (complete with a black iron anvil.[8]

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.[3]

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 yardEdit

In the early 20th century there was a smithy in the yard of the Folly.[8]

Libraries Edit

The Folly has three libraries,[7] the mundane, the magical, and the “black”.[8][6] The mundane library contains, among other things, the Incident Books, or the reports from the County Practitioners.[6] The magical library contains spell references. You don’t want to know about the Black Library.

The Location Edit

Tumblr inline nuekp2e3ed1t7wp0b 500

Map displaying the estimated location of the Folly building and carriage house using reference angles from the comics. [9]

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.

The Organization Edit


At one point (from about 1775) the members of the Folly called themselves Society of the Wise.[5]

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).[8] The Folly were involved in matters all over the British Empire, especially Nightingale.[1] At one point he was active in India.[10]

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, away from their parsonages, estates or university positions.[8]

The Folly used to have its own typing pool, located in the basement.[5]


The Folly is a part of the Met.

Associates of the FollyEdit

People (especially law enforcers) who at one time, or more, has worked with the Folly, tend to get more duties that are connected to the Demi-monde.[4] In some cases they are even being contacted directly by people or creatures who are part of the Demi-monde.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Whispers Under Ground
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lies Sleeping
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rivers of London, chapter 3 'The Folly'
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Hanging Tree
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Furthest Station
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Foxglove Summer
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Rivers of London
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Broken Homes
  9. Maple-clef. (2015, September 9). Folly Floorplan notes [Web log post]. Retrieved from Original research done by tumblr user maple-clef.
  10. Night Witch
  11. 11.0 11.1 Tales from the Borderlands - Legal Sabotage, in Black Mould #5
  12. Moment two: Reynolds – Florence, Az. 2014