Morden South, Merton
A Thameslink station with a monumental mosque close by
The railway line from Wimbledon to Sutton opened in 1930. Like other stations on this line, Morden South is little more than a halt, with no booking hall or retail amenities. Unlike almost every other station in Greater London, its name is rarely applied to the surrounding locality.
The Northern line’s predecessors built a depot behind Morden South station and it might have been possible to create a tube/rail interchange here but the two companies were antagonistic rather than co-operative. The mainline station was the loser in this standoff: traffic on the line never justified the expense of its construction, while the nearby tube station became one of the busiest residential destinations on the network.
Express Dairies operated a bottling plant on a former field between the two sets of rails, with their own siding and locomotive. After the dairy closed London’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community purchased the 5-acre site for the construction of one of the largest mosques in Europe.
Inaugurated in 2003, the imposing Bait-ul-Futuh mosque cost £5.5 million – contributed by the community’s members – which seems like a remarkable bargain given that the average new secondary school comes in at around £20 million nowadays. The mosque can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers in its three prayer halls. Ancillary parts are built around the fabric of the dairy and the old chimney was cleverly converted into a minaret, allowing a taller structure than would otherwise have been permitted.
The mosque incorporates a gymnasium, offices, a library and the studios of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International. The administrative part of the complex was very badly damaged by a fire in September 2015.
Postcode area: Morden, SM4
Station: Thameslink (zone 4)