The London Central Mosque in the UK’s capital is well known as the Regent’s Park Mosque. It is the mother of all mosques in the entire United Kingdom, making it the spiritual focus for most Muslims in the country. The mosque acts as the Islamic Cultural Centre as well, vital for provision of Islamic education to Muslim children and the society at large.
The Regent’s Mosque can be traced back to the World War II, as a sign of remembrance of huge Muslim population in the British Empire, due to the support they gave to their allies. Churchill War Cabinet allocated GBP 100,000 for Mosque development in London in October 24th, 1940. The site was a 2.3 acre land in a prime spot next to Regent’s Park.
King George VI officially opened the Islamic Cultural Centre in 1944, and the center included the Mosque. The Mosque, however, had lots of challenges in acquiring development permits until 1969 when the design was approved. Frederick Gibberd designed the building and King Frederick donated GBP 2 million to help meet the expenses. The Mosque was opened in July 1977, costing a total of GBP 6.5 million.
The London Central Mosque is known for its stout 140-foot minaret and huge golden dome. The building is architecturally modern and does not differ from the other modern buildings of the same era. It has a library within its walls, with over 20,000 books, a conference room, administrative offices, events hall and a Muslim bookshop. In 1994, another wing was added, and is used as educational and administrative department.
The main prayer hall of the mosque is located towards the Mecca, spotting lush red carpets, huge central chandelier, and a big dome decorated with mosaics. The prayer hall is said to have been designed for more than 1,400 worshippers. However, the building receives an excessive of 4,000 worshippers who are seated in an outside extension. Sometimes, it gets many visitors who have to stand even in the courtyard.
Every year, during the Eids Muslim festivals, the London Central Mosque receives more than 50,000 worshippers who are placed into six worship groups. During the lunch hours, on Friday (the big Muslim prayers day), the Mosque overflows with worshippers who come from all over the country as well as curious tourists.