Iconic Golders Green Hippodrome bought by Islamic charity to reopen as Muslim community centre
- Credit: Archant
The iconic Golders Green Hippodrome has been sold to an Islamic charity and will reopen as a Muslim community centre.
The Centre for Islamic Enlightening purchased the Grade II-listed building on North End Road for £5.25million at an auction on July 24.
The move follows months of speculation about the sale of the former BBC concert venue,
The Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham centre will become a focus for the Shia Muslim community in north west London.
Ahmed Al-Kazemi, the charity’s PR officer, said: ““This is truly a dream come true for us. To get such a wonderful building in a location like Golders Green, it is a huge change for the Shia community.
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“We were based in a warehouse before, but now we have a proper building which we can use to hold conferences, seminars, and our community activities.“
He added: “So many of our neighbours are already excited for the business and sense of community the centre will bring to the area. We are hoping to run many programmes in the future for men, women, children including a nursery and Arabic school.”
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The charity, whose Arabic name is Markaz - El -Tathgheef - El - Eslami, aims to open the religious and community centre within the next ten days. It is expected to open on Friday to men and on Saturday to women.
Of its new function, local oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein said: “My gut reaction was pleasure, pleasure that the building wouldn’t be converted into overpriced flats. I was worried it was going to go into ruin.”
He added: “I’m so pleased that this Grade II listed building will not sit empty. It is so important that it continues to be used – and used culturally – so the community can continue to make the most of this wonderful building. I feel this is a very positive thing for the Muslim community.”
Renowned theatre architect Bertie Crewe built the Hippodrome in 1913 as a 3,000-seat music venue.
In 1969 it was converted into a BBC TV and radio studio and concert hall.
It has staged performances and live concerts by legends including Danny La Rue and Marlene Dietrich.
The Hippodrome also hosted two episodes of the first series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus in October 1969.
Mr Dein added: “The likes of Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ broadcast to the whole nation became part of Golders Green legend!”
The Hippodrome was sold to the evangelical El Shaddai International Christian Centre in 2007.
It has mainly looked quite empty in recent years, with some muted activity from worshippers on a Sunday.