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Thread: Britain's First Mosque

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Default Britain's First Mosque

    Forgotten champion of Islam: One man and his mosque

    A crumbling house in Liverpool conceals a curious secret: the vandalised remains of Britain's first mosque. Now, finally, the city is set to restore it - and to honour the eccentric lawyer who created it. Michael Savage discovers his remarkable story

    Published: 02 August 2007

    Number 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool is a derelict semi-detached house. Its whitewashed facade is filthy, its front door scratched and swollen and its rear gates are covered in graffiti. Pigeons have made the roof their home. The condition of the interior is even worse. Large, orange rings of dry-rot fungus cling to the walls. Pieces of the roof are scattered across the floor.

    There is little to suggest that No 8 Brougham Terrace is anything special. But underneath the dust and the mould is a building of extraordinary historical and social significance. This was Britain's first true mosque.

    And following years of neglect, it could finally be about to receive the restoration treatment that, given its place in the nation's history, it surely deserves. The Bishop of Liverpool has called for action. The Saudi and Kuwait governments are interested in helping to fund a project that would cost £2.4m.

    With Liverpool gearing up to be European Capital of Culture next year, the plight of the forgotten mosque is attracting attention again. That, in turn, has shed light on the astonishing character who founded it on Christmas Day 1889.

    William Quilliam was a solicitor. But in late 19th century Britain there was no other solicitor quite like him. He is said to have appeared in court wearing Turkish ceremonial dress. Others claim he travelled through Liverpool on a white Arab horse, or that he was descended from a first lieutenant who fought with Nelson at Trafalgar.

    Such stories may well be apocryphal, yet Quilliam was a man whose life needs no embellishing. Few religious figures have championed their faith the way the man who became Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam did. He did so despite often facing hostility from his own countrymen. He was made the Sheikh of Britain by the last Ottoman emperor, converted hundreds to his religion, and was honoured by the Sultan of Morocco, the Shah of Persia and the Sultan of Afghanistan. The mosque at 8 Brougham Terrace was his crowning achievement.

    Born in 1856, Quilliam was the son of a wealthy watchmaker, and became a solicitor after training at the Liverpool Institute. But life as a lawyer took its toll on Quilliam and in 1882 he travelled to the south of France to recover from stress. While he was recuperating, he decided to cross the Mediterranean to Morocco and Algeria and it was there that his fascination with Islam began. At the age of 31 he converted to the religion, changed his name to Abdullah and bought a marmoset as a pet.

    "He never went anywhere without that monkey," said Quilliam's granddaughter, Patricia Gordon. "It used to sit on his shoulder. He had a little fez made for it and would even take it to the British Museum when he was studying there. He was an old Victorian eccentric. He was his own man and he did what he wanted to do all his life. When he walked into a room, everyone would go quiet. He was a very colourful character."

    His love of exotic animals turned his home into a zoo - he reportedly kept a jackal, a wolf, a fox and even a crocodile.

    For Quilliam, his own conversion was just the start of his loud and proud association with Islam. He soon found he had the knack of convincing others of its merits. He first began holding lectures on his new religion and then founded the Liverpool Mosque and Institute in the small semi on Brougham Terrace, West Derby Street, in 1889.

    Within 10 years of his return to the city, he assembled a following of about 150 Muslims, almost entirely made up of British converts. Scientists and professionals were among Quilliam's group, along with his sons and his mother, who had spent most of her life as a Christian activist. He also produced two journals, The Crescent and The Islamic Review, on a printing press in the mosque's cellar. Both were circulated internationally.

    But Quilliam's misssion did not stop at publishing. He set out to help ease Liverpool's social ills, founding the Medina Home, which cared for illegitimate children and found them foster parents. He set up the Muslim College, a weekly debating society and also wrote a book of Muslim hymns in English.

    He still found time to write a book. The Faith of Islam was published in 1899 by a small local printer and was translated into 13 languages, with three editions published. Quilliam proudly said that it had been read by Queen Victoria and the ruler of Egypt.

    But not everyone appreciated Quilliam's vigour. Soon after he converted to Islam, he was evicted from his house by his landlord, who took exception to his rejection of Christianity. The timing of his book on Islam compounded the vitriolic hatred that some in the Christian community felt for him. "The ongoing conflict with Sudan meant that the very mention of Islam in Britain was like a red rag to a bull," says Professor Humayun Ansari, an expert in British Islamic history from Royal Holloway College, London.

    Quilliam was never one to go quietly and launched a series of attacks on the British government. When the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was due to give a speech in Liverpool urging action against the Ottoman Empire for its treatment of Armenians, Quilliam leapt to the emperor's defence. He gathered his congregation at the mosque to make a rival speech, during which he declared the West was quite happy to ignore "Christian atrocities" elsewhere.

    "An American explodes a bomb in the crowded streets of Constantinople and slays innocent women and children and, because he calls himself a Christian he is extolled in England as a hero and as a patriot!" Quilliam wrote. "An Afghan fights for his fatherland in the Khyber Pass, and because he is a Muslim he is denounced as a traitor and a rebel."

    According to Professor Ansari, Quilliam paid a price for his stance. "Of course, he was lampooned, but it showed that he was a courageous man, as well as a controversial figure. Although other English people had converted, they tended to keep a low profile. Quilliam on the other hand was much more forthright and challenging, making him a high-profile public figure in the process."

    Unsurprisingly, Quilliam developed a difficult relationship with the press. The Liverpool Review described his quest to convert the city to Islam as "silly and unwelcome". He became a regular contributor to the letters pages, attempting to right what he saw as the incorrect popular view of Islam, derived from myths dating back to the Crusades.

    He wrote: "When we consider that Islam is so much mixed up with the British Empire, and the many millions of Muslim fellow subjects who live under the same rule, it is very extraordinary that so little should be generally known about this religion. And consequently the gross ignorance of the masses on the subject allows them to be easily deceived, and their judgement led astray."

    His outspoken stance also made his mosque a target of abuse. During one confrontation, a crowd of 400 protesters gathered outside the building, hurling mud, stones and rotten vegetables at those leaving the prayer hall. In 1895, a group threatened to burn Quilliam alive.

    His efforts to promote Islam brought him praise and powerful friends throughout the Muslim world. The Shah of Persia made him a consul to his country. In 1894, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the last Ottoman emperor, gave Quilliam the title of "Sheikh al-Islam of Britain", leader of British Muslims. The Sultan of Afghanistan gave him a £2,500 "personal gift", to help him continue his good works.

    By the turn of the century, Quilliam had developed ambitious plans to build a mosque from scratch, complete with a dome and minarets. But true to his eccentric character, he took a sudden decision in 1908 to leave Britain, mysteriously heading back to the east and not returning until shortly before his death in 1932.

    When Quilliam left Britain, he took with him the energy that had sustained his one-man mission so successfully. Without him at the helm, the institutions he had set up declined, including the mosque. It eventually ended up in the hands of Liverpool City Council. When the authority moved out, it fell further into disrepair, "probably because water got in after thieves took the lead from the roof", said Galib Khan, a leading member of the group attempting to restore the mosque.

    Mohammad Akbar Ali, chairman of the Abdullah Quilliam Society set up to campaign for the restoration, added: "Quilliam officially opened it on Christmas Day in 1889 with a special breakfast for 130 of the city's children."


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    A fundraising meeting earlier this month was attended by the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But for Mr Ali, there is a wider principle behind finding British money to restore Abdullah Quilliam's legacy.

    "Part of the problem faced by young British Muslims now is that they have no Islamic heritage they can truly call their own," he said. "When Muslims born and bred in the UK want to revisit their Islamic roots, they go back to the countries of their ancestors like India, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. But Quilliam is proof that Britain has its own Islamic heritage. Repairing his mosque with British money, either from the Government or the Muslim community, would act as a powerful symbol of British Islam. It is a religious heritage that all British Muslims can be proud of."

    The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, is now patron of the fundraising campaign. He admits that being asked to take up the cause presented a "theological challenge" to him, but he was compelled by Quilliam's example. "One of the challenges in today's world is concentrating on the best examples of each other's religions and finding common ground," he said. "Quilliam was a man who did a huge amount of good work that all religious leaders should appreciate and the campaign to restore his institute is worth supporting, both nationally and locally."

    Source: The Independent

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    Senior Member taffy's Avatar
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    Default Restoration of St James Church Toxteth

    Quote Originally Posted by Howie View Post
    Forgotten champion of Islam: One man and his mosque

    A crumbling house in Liverpool conceals a curious secret: the vandalised remains of Britain's first mosque. Now, finally, the city is set to restore it - and to honour the eccentric lawyer who created it. Michael Savage discovers his remarkable story


    And following years of neglect, it could finally be about to receive the restoration treatment that, given its place in the nation's history, it surely deserves. The Bishop of Liverpool has called for action. The Saudi and Kuwait governments are interested in helping to fund a project that would cost £2.4m.

    The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, is now patron of the fundraising campaign. He admits that being asked to take up the cause presented a "theological challenge" to him, but he was compelled by Quilliam's example.
    Source: The Independent

    Let's hope the Saudi and Kuwaiti Governments take as active an interest in supporting another of Bishop James' projects, the restoration of St James Church Toxteth

  3. #3
    chippie
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    Default A new look to the pier head

    Thought this was a nice view, sort of "AMERICANIC" no such word but you can get my drift

  4. #4
    chippie
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    Default Another "Americanic" photo of the pier head

    Last edited by chippie; 08-02-2007 at 11:05 PM.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Very nice Chippie

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    chippie
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    Thanks Lindy, I,ll ring you tomorrow.

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    PhilipG
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    Welcome to the band of Happy Snappers, Chippie.
    Is that one of them Stereoscopic Views?

  8. #8
    chippie
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    No Phil, taken on an ordinary Konica Minolta with a 10x optical zoom. Dimage z 2

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chippie View Post
    No Phil, taken on an ordinary Konica Minolta with a 10x optical zoom. Dimage z 2
    yer wha' !!

  10. #10
    chippie
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    I don,t know Lindy, there,s this voice in my left ear telling me what to say.

  11. #11
    chippie
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    Lindy, have a look at my old bus in the transport section

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    PhilipG
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindylou View Post
    yer wha' !!
    Exactly.

    Chippie.
    It was a joke because you posted it twice.
    Do you remember those Stereo Viewfinders?
    (You're not that much younger than me).

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    Senior Member Jericho's Avatar
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    Is this a merged thread? Mosques and the minarets at the Pier Head?

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    chippie
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    Philip, I changed the photo when you told me that. So it wasn,t lost on me.

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    Member scousejoan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipG View Post


    Welcome to the band of Happy Snappers, Chippie.
    Is that one of them Stereoscopic Views?
    8-8-07.
    Hiya Chippie, can I just say that the Bank Hall Girls Institute, is in Stanley road Kirkdale. Bootle is just a little
    bit further along Stanley Road, towards Balliol Road.

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    £2.5m to restore mosque
    Nov 1 2007
    by Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo



    A £2.5m project has been launched to restore Britain’s first mosque.

    The derelict grade II listed Georgian Brougham Terrace in Tuebrook is set to be transformed into a heritage and education centre.

    The project is a tribute to Liverpool lawyer William Henry Quilliam, who converted to Islam after visiting Morocco in 1887 and changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam.

    Two years later he opened the country’s first mosque and established a large congregation of fellow English converts.

    Now almost 120 years on, the Abdullah Quilliam Society has kick-started a fundraising campaign to restore the historic place of worship to its former glory.

    Last night the appeal got off to a flying start at a special dinner at the Athenaeum, attended by dignitaries including Rt Rev James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, and Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE, chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain.

    Mr Mumin Khan, chief executive of the Abdullah Quilliam Heritage Centre, said: “The mosque is of national and international importance and we don’t want to lose it. The centre we want to create will act as a bridge between the Muslim and non-Muslim world and dispel some of the myths about Islam.”

    The centre will have a library, regular lectures and artefacts.

    The mosque’s community dissolved in 1908, when Quilliam moved to Turkey. The terrace was subsequently used as a register office.

    marymurtagh@liverpoolecho.co.uk

    Source: Liverpool Echo

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    I think Mary Murtagh has got her facts,and pic' in the "Echo", slightly wrong!The former mosque, is the building next to,and adjoining, Brougham terrace, and i think there have been photo's posted on here,of this!

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    Senior Member shytalk's Avatar
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    Last edited by shytalk; 11-02-2007 at 02:15 AM.
    You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
    Winston Churchill

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    BEHIND the crumbling facade of a run-down Grade II listed building lies one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets. Britain’s first mosque was set up in the city and campaigners are now trying to raise £2.5m to restore it to its former glory.

    MARY MURTAGH reports . .



    THE pigeons have made it their home. There is a leak in the roof and fungi growing on the walls.

    But in the coming years Brougham Terrace in Everton, where generations of Liverpool people tied the knot, will undergo a multi-million pound renaissance.

    The building will be lovingly restored and a dark and damp storeroom – all that remains of Britain’s first mosque – will be reinstated.
    Fundraisers have a big job ahead of them.

    Empty since 2001, the building must be gutted while protecting the original Georgian features and transformed into a modern and accessible centre open to all.

    The aim is to make the Abdullah Quilliam Heritage Centre a fitting tribute to the Liverpool lawyer whose name it bears.

    Fundraiser Mumin Khan said: “We can’t lose this place because there is 120 years of British Islamic heritage here.

    “That is significant to Liverpool but also to the rest of the UK and the world.

    “We will bring this building back to life and reveal a forgotten part of Liverpool’s history.

    “People who have lived here all their lives have no idea that Britain’s first mosque was in this building. It’s a little known fact but a great claim to fame.
    “We want to bring the mosque back to what it was 120 years ago. We only have one surviving photo to go on but we know that there was prayer five times a day here.”

    The ambitious project, a registered charity, has some prominent supporters including representatives from the city’s Catholic, Anglican and Jewish faith groups, the Saudi and Kuwait governments and Prince Charles.

    But for the project to go from pipedream to reality it needs cash.

    The Abdullah Quilliam Society must generate £2.5m to turn the rundown empty shell of a building into a thriving mosque, library and place of learning once again.

    There will be a cafe, Moroccan theme Islamic garden with water features and palm trees, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, Arabic lessons, courses about Islam and meeting rooms.

    But people from all faiths, neighbours and the local community will be welcome at the Abdullah Quilliam Heritage Centre.

    Mr Khan said: “We want to create an inter-faith centre where people can come and learn about Islam.

    “When the mosque is restored, and the centre is open, it will attract visitors from around the world and be a really positive thing for Liverpool.”

    Philanthropist who did great works



    WILLIAM Quilliam was born in 1856 and after training at the Liverpool Institute became a solicitor.

    On a trip to north Africa during 1882-3 he developed an interest in Islam and at the age of 31 converted and changed his name to Abdullah.

    Charismatic and articulate if a little eccentric he was a compelling public speaker and conducted lectures about Islam.

    He convinced at least 150 others to convert including his sons and mother.
    He set up the Liverpool Mosque and Institute in 8 - 12 Brougham Terrace in 1889, making history as he did so.

    It was officially opened on Christmas Day in 1889 with a special breakfast for 130 of the city's children.

    But the Victorian philanthropist made the address much more than just a place of worship.

    He set up a printing press from which two internationally recognised journals were produced and established a school, library, reading room, museum and science laboratory.

    A children’s home for illegitimate youngsters was founded in Kensington and a weekly debating society set up.

    During a visit to Liverpool the Sultan of Turkey, the last Ottoman emperor, gave Quilliam the title of Sheikh al-Islam of Britain – leader of British Muslims.

    His efforts were also honoured by the Sultan of Morocco, the Shah of Persia and the Sultan of Afghanistan.

    But his attempts to champion Islam were not welcomed in some quarters.

    On one occasion hundreds of protestors pelted worshippers leaving the mosque with missiles and Quilliam was sent death threats.

    He left for Turkey in 1908 and the Institute fell into decline.

    The properties were sold to the local authority and number eight Brougham Terrace became home to the Liverpool Register Office.

    The mosque became a strong room for records and many of the original features were lost.

    Share your story

    FUNDRAISERS want to hear from anyone who married at the Register Office and have stories, memories or photographs they wish to share.

    There are plans to restore one of the rooms in the building as it would have been when marriages took place there.

    The project organisers are particularly keen to hear from anyone who has photographs which can be used to replicate the room where couples tied the knot.

    Fundraiser Mumin Khan said: “People in Liverpool have fond memories of this building and I think they would hate to see it in the state it is in today.

    “We would like to hear from people who remember what it was like.”

    For more information contact info@abdullahquilliamsociety.org.uk

    marymurtagh@liverpoolecho.co.uk
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  20. #20
    Shapers
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    Like all historical buildings in Liverpool it should be preserved. It is very much part of our culture.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hi all

    I reported the information about Liverpool being the place where Britain's first mosque was located in "I Beg to Report" in Ripperologist, realizing that it represented an interesting and significant sidelight on the Victorian era. I am glad to know that the building in Brougham Terrace is still there and I too hope it will be preserved.

    All the best

    Chris
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    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    UK’s first mosque to get £2.5m repair work
    Mar 13 2008
    by Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo



    WORK has started on a £2.5m project to restore Britain’s first mosque.

    The derelict grade II listed Georgian Brougham Terrace in Tuebrook is to be transformed into a heritage and education centre.

    This month work began on treating the dry rot in the timbers and repairing the roof to make it watertight.

    Now fundraisers are facing a race against time to raise £150,000 to cover the cost of the work.

    The project is a tribute to Liverpool lawyer William Henry Quilliam, who converted to Islam after visiting Morocco in 1887 and changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam.

    Source: Liverpool Echo

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    He also had a 'Teddy-Bear'...named...'Mohammed'....

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenotoole123@msn.com View Post
    He also had a 'Teddy-Bear'...named...'Mohammed'....
    your in trouble now mate

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Wink A Cross to . . . uh, Bear


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    Default Revamp for England's first mosque

    A ?3m project to refurbish what is believed to be England's first mosque gets under way this month.

    The restoration of the Grade II listed building at Number 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool will begin after emergency repairs to the roof are completed.

    The mosque was opened on Christmas Day 1889 by Henry William Quilliam, who converted to Islam in 1887, adopting the name Abdullah Quilliam.

    The mosque stopped running in 1908 when Abdullah Quilliam went travelling.

    Dr Mohammad Akbar Ali, 85, set up the Abdullah Quilliam Society in 1997 with the intention of restoring the mosque to its former glory.

    Galib Khan, the current chairman of the Abdullah Quilliam Society, said he hoped part of the building would be opened in the next six months.

    What the new mosque in Liverpool will look like
    About ?2.5m still needs to be raised

    He said: "It's a heritage site for us. This truly is the birthplace of Islam in Britain.

    "We want to make it into a heritage centre for Islamic culture and interfaith dialogue.

    "We will start on the refurbishment once we have finalised the lease arrangements with the city council."

    The emergency repairs to the roof cost about ?100,000 and ?2.5m still needs to be raised towards the restoration project.

    Mumin Khan, chief executive of the Abdullah Quilliam Society, said: "We have reached a milestone and breakthrough by raising more than a quarter of a million pounds in pledges for the work with one of the Bangladeshi-language channels, Channel S.

    "This allows us to start the refurbishment phase of the project while carrying out further fundraising."

    A spokesman for English Heritage, the Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, said: "It is an immensely important monument to Islam in Britain and it is believed to be England's earliest mosque."

    The refurbishment work is due to begin this month.

    BBC Liverpool
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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Arrow The Independent

    Britain's first mosque to be reborn ? after more than a century

    More than a century after falling into disuse, crumbling buildings get new life

    By Karl Mansfield
    Friday, 2 January 2009

    The small brick building in a Liverpool terrace is falling apart, it even needs a new roof, but this ramshackle structure at 8 Brougham Terrace, West Derby Street, was Britain's first mosque.

    The Grade II listed building has not been used as a place of worship for at least a century but the historical site is to be rebuilt and restored by the Abdullah Quilliam Society, a private organisation that says the whole project will cost ?3m.

    Henry William Quilliam opened the mosque on Christmas day in 1889. He was the son of a wealthy man who converted to Islam in 1887 after a visit to Morocco, adopting the name Abdullah. The building of his Islamic centre also included an orphanage as well as a printing press in the basement.

    The new structure, when work is completed in 2011, will include the restored mosque, a new mosque, a courtyard, museum, art gallery, learning centre for interfaith work, library and cafe. Work is expected to start this month.


    An artist's impression of how the new centre will look

    More...

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