On Thursday and Friday last week, the Senior BEEs explored places of worship on and close to “High Street 2012”, visiting the East London Mosque on Thursday and the East London Central Synagogue on Friday.
At the East London Mosque Juber Hussein gave the BEEs a fascinating tour of this 1980s building where Islamic ideas and prayer rituals can be read in the architecture of the building, from the men’s ablution room in the basement, to the footprint of the prayer hall set at an odd angle to the façade of the building so that it faces towards Mecca. The East London Mosque is currently in a process of collecting an archive of references about establishing the Mosque, which dates back to 1910, and we’ll be interested to follow the progress of this project.
On Friday at the London Central Synagogue, the only purpose built synagogue in Tower Hamlets, the Senior BEEs were able to compare the ways in which religion has influenced and configured the architecture of this part of the city. In a tour given by Leon Silver, president of the remarkable Ashkenazi synagogue, the Senior BEEs learnt the history of a dignified, unimposing building, which has been in continuing use since 1923 and is tucked away on Nelson Street behind the Royal London Hospital. Responding to the visit, Leon said:
“It is my pleasure to show your groups around the synagogue. I found the Senior Bees to be a charming bunch of people…”