Place to Remember – New Peckham Mosque formerly St Mark’s, Camberwell

 
Place to Remember was Art in the Park’s heritage project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund exploring the history of four local buildings in Walworth and Camberwell.

Here are some of the histories and images collected about the New Peckham Mosque formerly St Mark’s, Camberwell.
 

Interviews

 

Ali Huseyin, November 2015


 

Amanoth Ali Amir, March 2015


 

Husameddin Huseyin, November 2015


 

Workshops and Artwork with 4 Corners and Waterside Care Home

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A Church That Became a Mosque & The Story of the Camberwell Radicals – Walk and Talk

 
Heritage Talk with Erbil Celebi at New Peckham Mosque 2016
Heritage Talk with Erbil Celebi at New Peckham Mosque 2016

Heritage Talk with Benny O'Looney at New Peckham Mosque 2016
Heritage Talk with Benny O’Looney at New Peckham Mosque 2016

Heritage Talk New Peckham Mosque 2016
Heritage Talk New Peckham Mosque 2016

About New Peckham Mosque – formerly St Mark’s, Camberwell

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Cobourg Road 1977 showing St Mark’s Church with the kind permission of the Southwark Local History Library and Archive

OS Map 1964 detail showing St Mark's Church Camberwell detail
OS Map 1964 showing St Mark’s Church Camberwell, detail

 
The architecture and history of the New Peckham Mosque is of particular interest and well repays a visit. Since its construction in 1879 it has led a complicated life, and its present use as a mosque will guarantee a positive future for this historic landmark.
It was originally built as the Anglican church of St Mark’s, Coburg Road and was designed by the important Victorian architect Richard Norman Shaw (1832-1912) for the charismatic Bishop of London, Samuel ‘Soapy Sam’ Wilberforce (1805-1873). Wilberforce was one of the great orators of his day, now best remembered for his public challenge to Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’.
In the 1880s this area was largely industrial, with small factories, a canal, and dense rows of workers’ housing. Wilberforce, with the aid of the benefactor Adelaide Thrupp was able to raise a new church to serve this increasingly populous part of north Peckham.
Rather surprisingly they went to perhaps the greatest architect of his generation, Richard Norman Shaw, who in fact was better known for his public buildings and large houses for the wealthy. Around this time Shaw was working on designs for the new headquarters for the Metropolitan Police at Scotland Yard and the Alliance Assurance building at the bottom of St. James Street.
The design of the former St Mark’s church has a plain exterior but the interior, in contrast, is filled with light and architectural detail, and is one of the reasons that the building is Grade II listed by English Heritage, and is thus protected as an historic monument for future generations.
The building is of the ‘hall church’ type, where the two side aisles are the same height as the central nave. This gives it a lofty and spacious feel, and has allowed the mosque to build a mezzanine gallery across the back of the nave for women and children. This gallery’s angled orientation aligns the congregants toward the ‘Quibla’ wall and beyond to Mecca, an important part of Islamic observance.
The highlight of the interior is the fine east window with graceful stone tracery filled with colourful modernist stained glass. An interesting internal feature is the ‘panelling’ which evokes English Renaissance woodwork but is in fact made of concrete. Shaw was an early adopter of concrete in architectural detailing. Ascent into another mezzanine space in the former church’s chancel allows one to closely see the details of the east window and the elaborate timber roof structure.
Shaw went on to design some of London’s greatest landmarks after completing this church commission. He helped to design Vauxhall Bridge and the Edwardian Baroque Piccadilly Hotel, which set a bold example in the rebuilding of Piccadilly Circus and the Regent’s Street Quadrant in the early 20th century. Other fine buildings by Shaw, worth seeking out in London, are westwards in Westminster and Kensington. They include the Royal Geographic Society headquarters, the nearby Albert Mansions, and a group of Dutch-influenced houses for the wealthy on the west side of Cadogan Square. His other church design in London is the exuberant St Michael and All Angels in Bedford Park, Chiswick.

Benedict O’Looney, M.Arch (Yale), ARB.
Architect to the Croydon and Peckham Mosques

 

Images

 
Joyce and Jim Francis' wedding St Mark's Church 1948 (centre and right) Photographs with kind permission of Jacqueline Shelton
Joyce and Jim Francis’ wedding St Mark’s Church 1948 (centre and right) Photographs with kind permission of Jacqueline Shelton

Original Stained Glass Window from St Mark's Camberwell, New Peckham Mosque 2016
Original Stained Glass Window from St Mark's Camberwell, New Peckham Mosque 2016

New Peckham Mosque in 2016
New Peckham Mosque in 2016

New Peckham Mosque exterior 2016
New Peckham Mosque exterior 2016

New Peckham Mosque Carpet 2016
New Peckham Mosque Carpet 2016

New Peckham Mosque Balcony 2016
New Peckham Mosque Balcony 2016

New Peckham Mosque 2016
New Peckham Mosque 2016