About Jamea Masjid
Built in 1984 in Preston in Clarendon Street
Based on a mixed Middle-Eastern and European Gothic design and catering for the culturally diverse Muslim population of Preston, Jamea Mosque is definitely a meeting of east and west. Sited next to the old mosque which was formerly St James Vicarage (converted 1965) was running a community centre where one could partake in a variety of activities.
The Mosque building itself is used exclusively for the five times daily prayers, Quranic recitals, lectures, Friday and Eid prayers. The community centre next door was used for pilot computer & homework classes, luncheon clubs, first aid classes plus a variety of courses in partnership with Cardinal Newman College, Sahara, The Racial Equality Council, Community Police and Fire Officers. The Mosque has strong links with local schools and churches who have helped in a variety of ways.
A Youth Club has also been running since the Urban Aid Grant supported scheme to renovate the centre in the late 80’s. Held twice weekly and run by local volunteers. The group has hosted international exchange visits with Preston’s twin town of Nimes in France. Fayyaz, one of our volunteer has high ambitions to run more issue based projects for the youth of Frenchwood and Avenham relevant to today’s modern society continuing on from the work of his father who was one of the 3 people who started the Preston Muslim Society in 1964.
The 3 men came to Preston to gap the labour shortage which was affecting the old textiles mills. Since congregational prayers and community spirit is such a major part of Islam, the men galvanised their efforts, money and time to purchase a building to run as a Mosque. Thus, a terraced house on 24 Great Avenham St became the Mosque in Preston. As the community increased and several experiences of having to hold the larger congregations in conditions of snow in the Avenham Park or the car park on Avenham Lane, the need for larger premises became apparent, thus the move to Clarendon Street.
Funded entirely by the Muslim community and designed by Thomas Hargreaves a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire (which was then Lancashire Polytechnic), the Mosque is a culmination of a lot of hard work and vision. Hargreaves came up with 47 designs such was his enthusiasm for the project. He saw the project through from its inception to the final brick, he even stood outside the Mosque helping to raise funds! Local firms were engaged in all the aspects of the building and the Council was helpful in the planning and purchasing, thus east and west combined to leave Preston a public building which it can be proud of.
The community centre now referred to as ‘Jamea Education Academy’ will replace the original building used as the mosque in 1967. The new modern building would continue to cater for the educational needs of the community.
Preston’s Muslim Community
The journey from Gujarat (India) to Preston, Lancashire……
1957 witnessed the migration of Gujrati Muslims to the UK. The method of journey was by road and sea. This was a stressful time for the families left back in India as technology such as e-mail or mobile phones were not available. The form of communication was telegram, so for weeks no one would know if the traveller had reached the destination.
By 1961 there was an increase of people travelling to the UK; the attraction was the red rose county Lancashire due to the thriving cotton industry.
With the number of Muslims growing in Preston there was concern over no facilities available for the Masjid. In 1962 approximately 350 Muslims gathered with the permission of the local authority to offer Eid Namaz in Avenham Park on a cold winter’s morning.
Running with high passions a number of Muslims gathered to see how you they could make arrangements for a place which they could refer to as a Masjid. One Muslim brother offered his house as a place to gather and pray Salaat. A small group of people went door to door to spread this message to others on ways of bringing the community together in joining for the concern of a Masjid.
In 1962/63 Preston Muslim Society was formed, the Late Haji Suleman Moreea, General Secretary for PMS with the acting committee hired a hall in Starkie Street, Preston where Jumuah Salaat would take place.
In 1964, £600 was collected and with this money 24 Great Avenham Street, Preston was purchased, renovated and started as a Masjid. Due to permission not granted by the local council this property was sold and 18 Clarendon Street was purchased (Jamea Masjid), renovated in Jan 1968 for the costs of £2,700. This property is still being used today for various activities.
The first Imam was appointed by Preston Muslim Society in 1967.
As the community grew and families moved into different areas, Peel Hall Street property was purchased by the community in Deepdale in approximately 1970 and is now know was Quwwat-Ul-Islam.
Other small Masjids were made in different areas to accommodate the local communities. To date there are approximately 20 Masjids in Preston. This is all thanks to the grace of the Al-mighty and the kind efforts of our elders who made so many sacrifices for our welfare. May Allah accept their efforts, for those that are no longer with us, may Allah grant them Jannat and for those that are still amongst us, may Allah bless them with his mercy.