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Mar 16

Britain’s first functioning mosque recognised

The historical value of Britain’s first functioning mosque has now been recognised by Historic England the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places.

I’m pleased that the mosque, at 8 Brougham Terrace, L6 1AE, has now been upgraded to Grade II* providing it with greater protection and recognising its role in establishing a Muslim community in Liverpool.

The Georgian terraced house was bought in 1889 as a home for the Liverpool Muslim Institute founded in 1887 by influential Muslim convert William Henry Quilliam and is believed to be Britain’s first fully-functioning mosque.

The Liverpool Muslim Institute began as a small community when it was first established at the Temperance Hall on Mount Vernon Street. By the turn of the century this had expanded to around 200 Muslims.

When it opened in December 1889, the mosque at 8 Brougham Terrace became the first fully-functioning mosque in England with established community worship.

Historic England describes it as an example of Liverpool’s capacity to embrace different cultural and faith communities, as well as evidence of the social and cultural diversity that developed as a consequence of the city’s role as an internationally significant port and trading centre.

After Mr Quilliam left Liverpool in 1908, the terrace was partly demolished, with numbers 8-10 retained and used as a registry office. Having suffered neglect in the early 2000s, the building is now playing a key role in the Muslim community once again thanks to an on-going restoration by the Abdullah Quilliam Society.

The mosque features in The British Mosque: An architectural and social history published by Historic England. The book is the first ever overview and explanation of Islamic architecture in Britain. It includes different types of mosques across the country from the earliest mosques formed from the conversion of houses, to other large scale conversions through to purpose-built mosques and with these the emergence of an evolving Islamic architectural expression in Britain.