The London Central Mosque – Islamic Cultural Centre – Regent’s Park Mosque London, London England
The London Central Mosque (also known as the Islamic Cultural Centre, ICC or Regent’s Park Mosque) is located near Marylebone station, the Baker Street Underground station, Regent’s Park and Lords cricket ground in the City of Westminster, central north London, England. It was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, completed in 1978, and has a prominent golden dome. The main hall can hold over five thousand worshippers, with women praying on a balcony overlooking the hall. The mosque holds a chandelier and a vast carpet, with very little furniture.
The inside of the dome is decorated with broken shapes in the Islamic tradition. There is also a small book shop and halal café on the premises. The Mosque is joined to the Islamic cultural centre which was officially opened by King George VI in 1944 and was given as an unconditional gift to the UK Muslim community, although the land was donated by George VI in return for a site in Cairo for an Anglican cathedral.
1900 – 1930 Several efforts were made to build a mosque in Central London, including one, initiated by Lord Headley, an English convert to Islam. This project was funded by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
1939 – 1940 Lord Lloyd of Dolobran, (1879-1941), Secretary Of State For The Colonies, & former President of the British Council, works with a Mosque Committee, comprising various prominent Muslims and Ambassadors in London. Lord Lloyd sends a memo to the Prime Minister, in which he points out, inter-alia “only London contains more Moslems than any other European capital but in our empire which actually contains more Moslems than Christians it was anomalous and inappropriate that there should be no central place of worship for Mussulmans”.
1940 The British Government is persuaded to present a site for a mosque in London for the Muslim community of Great Britain. On 24 October the Churchill War Cabinet authorizes allocation of £100,000 for acquisition of a mosque site in London. The intent was to enable Muslims in Britain to build a mosque and an Islamic Cultural Centre, so they could conduct affairs pertaining to their faith. The gift was also intended as a tribute to the thousands of Indian Muslim soldiers who died defending the British Empire.
1944 A Mosque Committee comprising various prominent Muslim diplomats and Muslim residents in the United Kingdom accepted the gift and The Islamic Cultural Centre which includes the London Central Mosque, was established and officially opened in November by His Majesty King George VI.
1947 The Mosque Committee registered the London Central Mosque Trust Limited as a Trust Corporation in September. At the time, seven representatives from six Muslim countries acted as Trustees.
1954 – 1967 Several designs were considered for the mosque. There were long protracted planning application to various authorities but the necessary planning approval was not granted.
1969 An Open International Competition was held for the design of the building. Over one hundred designs were submitted, from both Muslim and non-Muslim applicants. The design finally selected was by the English architect Frederick Gibberd. His design of The Main Mosque Building Complex can be divided into two elements: A main building consisting of the two prayer halls and three-story wings including an entrance hall, library, reading room, administration offices and the minaret;
£2 Million of funding was donated for the construction of the ICC by His Majesty King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. Further donation was provided by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates.
1974 Construction work began early this year with the Main Mosque Building Complex, comprising Men’s and Ladies’ Main Prayer Halls, Library, Administrative Block and Residential Quarters.
1977 Work was completed in July for the total cost of £6.5 million. The first Director of the Islamic Centre was Raja of Mahmudabad. A special fund paid for a new Educational & Administrative wing which was completed in 1994. This was donated by Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz.