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12 July 2014
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Legacies - Liverpool

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Liverpool
Back of the terrace
The 'little mosque'

A prayer room was built as an extension at the back of the building. Until recently it was used as a storage room. Quilliam also bought numbers 9 to 12 turning them into a boarding school and lecture rooms.

Listen to Somaia McTeer of the Abdullah Quilliam Society talk about John Poole's description of the mosque when he stayed with Abdullah Quilliam.

carving
Most of the 'Saracenic style' renovations Quilliam made to the terrace were paid for by the Shahzada (prince), the son of the Ameer (ruler or chief) of Afghanistan.

The Liverpool Review reported the city's first Muslim funeral on 18 April 1891 with some bemusement:

"It looked rather strange to see the member of the congregation who officiated as Imaum (someone who leads prayers in a mosque) clad in a suit of light tweed, and for the presiding Mollah (the head of a mosque) to be attired in a light blue tie and light kid gloves."

However, Liverpool's first Muslim community came up against some opposition. In December 1891 the Liverpool Review reported that an angry mob of up to 400 people pelted worshippers at the mosque with mud, stones, and live fireworks.

entrance to the Muslim Institute
A local man was arrested for throwing a snowball containing a stone at the muezzin, as he called the faithful to prayer. It turned out the arrested man was a local Sunday school teacher!

The community dissolved in 1908, when Quilliam moved to Turkey. Many of its members moved to England's first, purpose-built mosque, in Woking, Surrey.

The terrace was subsequently bought by the city council, and used as a register office until the beginning of July 2000. It now stands empty. Members of the 'Abdullah Quilliam Society' are hoping to raise money to buy the building and renovate it as a Muslim heritage centre.

The terrace is currently under consideration for listing by English Heritage and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


Did you know?
  • Joseph Allanson Picton also designed the Temple in Dale Street and the Hargreaves Building (now the Racquet Club) in Chapel Street. The reading room in Liverpool Central Library (also known as Picton Library) is named after him.
  • Ringo Starr married Maureen Cox in the Registry Office at Brougham Terrace on 11 February 1965
  • The gardens opposite the terrace, where newly married brides and grooms would retire for photos were the site of Liverpool's first public cemetery.


Words: Louise Sardais


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