“If this decade sees the closure of another 2,000 churches, as looks likely, it’s time to ask what should become of them. There are now charities set up to save them, to keep them open for the community even without a congregation. That’s an option. But if that can’t be done, then Muslims would certainly rather a house designed to worship God stayed that way. Christians may think the same. In a fast-secularising society, the People of the Book should focus on the fact that worshippers of all religions are treading different paths up the same mountain.”
Dr Ashley J. Wilson · 15 February 2022 at 12:09 pm
It was nice to learn from Tanjil Rashid (Common Prayer: Where Churches Become Mosques. Spectator 9/12/21) that our redundant, Victorian, neo-Gothic churches are now being used as much-needed mosques, thus saving them from the hands of those nasty secularist developers he loathes so much. At least these new-found places of worship, if not adulterated by the addition of minarets and domes, benefit from English heritage Victorian design and stone construction materials.
It’s such a shame therefore, that there were no redundant Victorian churches available in Regents Park in the mid 1970’s for such conversion. Instead, the charming Regency, John Nash-designed Albany Cottage built in 1826 for the diarist Thomas Raikes, on the Outer Circle of the Park, was firstly ‘converted’ into The Islamic Cultural Centre, then subsequently, completely destroyed in 1973 to make way for the grotesque, Saudi-funded ultra-modern design London Central Mosque.
45 years later, the gold leaf on the LCM’s vulgar ‘vault of heaven’ dome is peeling and rust stains run down its aggressive reinforced concrete walls. One speculates on what must pass through the minds of American dignitaries glancing at this vast, monstrous, incongruous carbuncle, when they visit the elegant United States Ambassador’s residence (Winfield House) right across the road!