Morden South

Morden South, Merton

A Thameslink station with a monumental mosque close by

Hidden London: Morden mosque interior

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.

Hidden London: Baitul Futuh mosque water feature
Water feature at the mosque

Inaugurated in 2003, the imposing Baitul 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 over £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)