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)