The East London Mosque Trust (ELMT) was honoured to host a visit from Clem Brohier, Interim Chief Executive of The National Archives, on 16 January 2014.

The meeting took place with the Mosque’s Archive Steering Committee represented by Dr Jamil Sherif, who was instrumental in establishing the archives at the Mosque, and Rosemary Seton of the Religious Archives Group. Shaynul Khan, Assistant Executive Director of the ELMT was present to talk about the Mosque’s 104 year history and give a brief tour. Dr Tim Powell, Senior Adviser: Religious Archives at The National Archives , was also present, having also visited the archives last year and provided advice on the project.

Speaking about the visit to the archive project, Clem Brohier said: “This is a splendid achievement and The National Archives is delighted to have contributed to it. Through this project the archives of the East London Mosque are being made accessible to and relevant for future generations. It is a fine example of how working together can preserve the archives that reflect the contemporary religious landscape of Britain.”

The Mosque archive received funding from The National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives, funded by a number of charitable organisations and administered by The National Archives, which has enabled experienced archivist Eilís McCarthy to join the trust and initiate cataloguing works. Talking about the initiative, Eilís says: “This project is particularly exciting because until now the archives of The East London Mosque Trust have been inaccessible. By cataloguing the archives we are making it possible to build a picture of the Trust in its earlier days over one hundred years ago, right up to the most recent decade. The catalogue will enable us to learn from the archive how the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre have grown in the range of activities and functions they provide as well as giving us the opportunity to understand more about the history of the Muslim community in East London”.

Shaynul Khan said: “We are grateful for the support of The National Archives in assisting our much needed archive project. I look forward to an incremental relationship with them as our project continues to grow. Over time we hope to revolutionise the way our community looks and values its own history within the British Isles.”

As the archive’s cataloguing work continues, the Mosque’s Archives Steering Committee is optimistic about the future with plans to have the archive catalogue made available online when it is completed.


Notes to editors:

• The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre serves the largest congregation of Muslims in the UK. With a rich history spanning over 104 years, it is London's oldest Mosque, dedicated to providing a range of holistic, culturally sensitive services for the communities of London. For further information visit:

• The National Archives ( is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, it looks after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files. The National Archives leads the archives sector in England and carries out the functions of the Historical Manuscripts Commission in relation to privately-owned records of historical value, including the archives of religious organisations.

• The National Cataloguing Grants Programme, administered by The National Archives, supports the cataloguing of collections that need external funding to provide access to their content. They have distributed more than £1.5 million over five years to tackle cataloguing backlogs.

• Tower Hamlets Local History and Archive (THLHA) have also supported the ELMT in preserving its history, through providing valuable advice in developing the fundraising proposal, recruitment and expertise in cataloguing and preservation. Furthermore, THLHA is also helping to draw up plans for a dedicated room in the mosque, which will house all the historical documents in a secure, environmentally controlled area ensuring their lasting preservation. A steering group of stakeholders including mosque historians, ELMT Trustees and professional archivists meets regularly to oversee the project. For further information visit:

• Eilís McCarthy is originally from Ireland and she began working at the mosque and Centre in early October 2013. Her previous experience includes archivist roles at the UK’s oldest dance company Rambert, Akram Khan Dance Company, UK Centre for Carnival Arts, King’s College London and the British Antarctic Survey. Her primary task will be to sort, list and find a solution for how the archive catalogue will be created and accessed. Following on from this the archive will be catalogued and repackaged where necessary.