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Archivists start tackling East London Mosque collection

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 October 2013

Archivist Ellis McCarthy gets to grips with some of the material which needs sorting

Archivist Ellis McCarthy gets to grips with some of the material which needs sorting

Archant

Archivists have made a start on the mammoth task of sorting through 100 years worth of history at the East London Mosque.

Funding from the National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme is allowing the photographs, press cuttings and birth and death records to be sorted.

Once the undertaking is complete, the archives will be opened up to the public – providing a unique insight into the East End’s history.

Assistant director of the East London Mosque Trust Shaynul Khan said: “We want to make this historical treasure accessible to all of our communities.

“This project will highlight some of the key contributors to the development of London’s East End. By the end of this project, one can visit the archives at the East London Mosque for research and academic purposes.”

A full time archivist has now been hired to get to grips with the task.

There are also plans for a dedicated room at the mosque, in Whitechapel, to ensure the documents are preserved in a secure environment.

Humayun Ansari, professor of history of Islam and culture at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “Given the dearth of accessible documentary material on the Muslim experience in the British Isles, the ELMT archive is a rare but rich storehouse of historical ‘treasures’ about the British Muslim past.

“By making this hidden history available, it offers exciting opportunities both to research scholars from a multiplicity of disciplines as well as to lay people interested in understanding firsthand the history of British Muslim communities and the various ways in which these have engaged with wider society.”

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