The East London Mosque Trust has rich a history spanning more than a century. It is London’s oldest Mosque, serving communities in the heart of the East End and beyond.

In 1910 some notable Muslim figures decided to build a mosque in London and established the London Mosque Fund. By 1926 the Fund had grown to a sizeable amount and a Deed of Declaration of Trust was made.

For the first three decades, rooms were hired for Friday prayers and special occasions. In 1940 three houses were purchased in Commercial Road, London E1, and converted into a Mosque. It opened on Friday 1 August 1941; Lt. Col. Sir Hussain Suhrawardy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the London Mosque Fund, welcomed worshippers to the newly established East London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre. The first prayer was led by the Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Shaikh Hafiz Wahab.

Over the years many distinguished personalities were associated with the London Mosque Fund. Among them, the Rt. Hon. Syed Ameer Ali, the first Indian Privy Counsellor, who was Chairman of London Mosque Fund Executive Committee until his death in 1928. His Royal Highness the Aga Khan served as life President of the Board of Trustees. Both Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, famous translators of the Qur’an, were trustees of the Fund. There were also a many non-Muslims who supported the need for a Muslim place of worship in London: Lord Lamington became a Vice-Chairman of the London Mosque Fund; historian Professor T. W. Arnold became its Honorary Secretary, and was later replaced by Sir Ernest Houston; Sir John Woodhead became its Treasurer; and the Rt. Hon. Earl Winterton was also a trustee of the Fund.

In 1975 the Greater London Council acquired the premises in Commercial Road under a compulsory purchase order. Temporary buildings were provided until the present mosque could be built in Whitechapel Road. In 1982 work on the new East London Mosque began, and was completed in 1985, opening to the public on Friday 12 July 1985.

This large, purpose-built mosque, complete with dome and minarets, soon became a landmark in London’s East End.

At first it seemed generously spacious, but before long it began to overflow on Fridays and during Ramadan and Eid. Moreover, there was hardly room for the growing number of projects based at the mosque. In 1999 the East London Mosque ran a long and ultimately successful campaign to acquire adjoining land. HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Mohamed al-Faisal launched the project to build the London Muslim Centre next to the Mosque in 2001. Building work commenced a year later, and the new London Muslim Centre opened in June 2004.

The congregation continued to grow, and space for projects quickly filled up. In 2009, the next phase of development commenced, with the building of the Maryam Centre. It opened to the public in 2013, with extensive new facilities for women, more prayer space, a visitor centre, and improved funeral facilities.

Timeline

1910

Notable figures, both Muslim and non-Muslim, decide London needs a mosque, so they establish the London Mosque Fund. Initially, a small room is hired for Friday prayers.
1926

The Fund has grown to a sizeable amount, so a Deed of Declaration of Trust is made.

1940 Three houses are purchased in Commercial Road, London E1, as a permanent place of prayer.
1941 Official inauguration of the East London Mosque in the houses on Commercial Road. They become the focal point for the religious needs of a small but growing Muslim community. As migrant workers help to rebuild Britain in the post-war years, the function of the mosque evolves to meet the socio-economic needs of local people.
1975 The Greater London Council (GLC) buys the houses in Commercial Road under a compulsory purchase order and provides temporary buildings on a new site on Whitechapel Road. The Muslim community sets about raising enough money to erect a purpose-built mosque on this site.
1982 Laying of foundations for the new mosque.
1985 The new mosque opens its doors on Whitechapel Road.
1999 The East London Mosque, with huge local support, succeeds in its campaign to acquire adjoining land for development.
2001 HRH Prince Charles launches the project to develop the London Muslim Centre.
2002 Work begins on the new London Muslim Centre development.
2004 The new London Muslim Centre opens, adding substantial usable space to the adjacent mosque. HRH Prince Charles returns to see the already thriving development.
2009 Construction begins on the Maryam Centre, to include a dedicated space for women’s services.
2013 Opening of the Maryam Centre.
2015 Purchase of neighbouring Syngogue, later refurbished as a Zakat centre.