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Heritage boost expected for historic Liverpool mosque

Plans to create a new Islamic heritage and enterprise centre in Liverpool look set for a major boost today (14 September)

The centre is proposed for a Grade II*-listed premises in the Kensington area – the site of England’s first ever mosque.

A document to be discussed by the council’s cabinet is recommending 8-10 Brougham Terrace on West Derby Road be gifted to the Abdullah Quilliam Society (AQS) so it can progress with its ambitious vision.

The charity aims to celebrate the life of William Henry Quilliam (1856-1932), a Liverpool solicitor who converted to Islam in 1887 and created ‘the birthplace of British Islam’, when he established England’s first fully functional mosque and Islamic centre in 1889 at 8 Brougham Terrace.

After the mosque closed in 1910, it was then used as the city’s registry office for births, deaths and marriages until the office moved and the AQS made its approach to re-establish the mosque.

William Quilliam from the Liverpool Records Office

Since 2006 the AQS have refurbished the three, five-storey terraced buildings at the cost of £1.2 million, providing a new roof, removing asbestos, installing CCTV and various internal works which led to the historic mosque re-opening in June 2014 after 104 years of closure.

The transfer of the freehold lease will enable AQS to continue to operate the property as a mosque, as well as a training centre with upper floor rented residential accommodation, and would enable them to draw down additional funding to develop a museum, visitor centre, library and study facilities to celebrate the life and era of Quilliam.

The new heritage and enterprise centre, expected to open in summer 2019, will include displays of Victorian costumes, horse and carriage rides, Victorian styled candy carts, as well as a Victorian kitchen.

It will also feature new office space, health and wellbeing facilities offering training and learning courses, employment and enterprise support and a community café which will create 10 new jobs.