Religious Buildings of World Faiths
In the 20th century England’s landscape of faith buildings became ever more rich and diverse. Faiths arriving and developing in this country outside the Established Christian church form an important and expanding part of our society.
Increasing our knowledge and understanding in this area is an important and much needed area of Historic England’s work. Places of worship, whether adapted or purpose-built, tell much about the development and histories of these groups in England.
The projects below will help Historic England and the historic environment sector to develop its expertise and protect buildings appropriately.
Currently there are four strands to our research in this area.
- The first is a national thematic survey of mosques in Britain, which has led to a major reference publication on the architectural and social history of the British mosque, now available from the Historic England book store. The results will be considered for their designation implications and will enhance the Historic England archive.
- We have carried out scoping work on the buildings of minority faith groups in order to assess the current state of knowledge associated with them. This has helped to formulate a programme of new projects.
- We have commissioned a project scoping Buddhist buildings in England. The project, carried out by the University of Leeds, highlights the heritage of 190 Buddhist buildings and studies a range of them in depth. You can read more about the project on the Building Buddhism blog and download the project report from the Historic England website.
- A survey of Hindu, Jain, Ba'hai and Zoroastrian buildings of England is currently underway. See the new blog on researching Hindu religious buildings.
- Historic England has supervised a PhD based at the University of Leicester by Clare Canning on Sikh architcture in England. You can access the completed PhD thesis on Sikh architecture online.
Minority Faith Heritage Conference
Together with the Society of Antiquaries we co-organised and sponsored a conference about 'the Heritage of Minority Faith Buildings in the 20th Century' held at Burlington House, London 12 March 2018.
This brought together new research on 20th century Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian places of worship with heritage practitioners, researchers and theorists. It gave a platform for a discussion on issues of heritage practice and heritage discourse in the field of multiculturalism, multiple identities and the historic environment. It provided an opportunity for a long overdue debate on the significance and character of buildings whose quality and importance have not been fully recognised in heritage debates.
Further details can be found on the Society of Antiquaries website.
You can access the presentations from this conference on a YouTube playlist.
Two mosques are newly listed and others given greater protection and recognition