Rachel Kolsky points out a striking architectural feature on the Dalston skyline
At the western end of Shacklewell Lane a magnificent building topped by a large dome dominates the landscape.
A mosque for the Turkish-Cypriot community since 1977, the building dates back to 1903 when it was built as Hackney’s grandest Jewish place of worship, the Shacklewell Lane Synagogue.
It provided well for Hackney’s rapidly growing Jewish community – earlier settlers who were escaping overcrowded Whitechapel.
Being near the Kingsland Road, it was on a perfect route with good transport links back to the East End for work.
The building was designed by eminent architect Lewis Solomon and had seating for 750 worshippers. The foundation stone laid in 1903 by the Hon N Charles Rothschild is still visible on the front of the building.
By the 1950s, Hackney’s Jewish community had grown to more than100,000. The local Hackney Downs School was once 50 per-cent Jewish; its alumni including the Nobel prize-winning author Harold Pinter. Ridley Road market was then as Jewish as Petticoat Lane.
Over the years, and as the Jewish community moved north to Southgate and Cockfosters, synagogues closed or merged with others.
The local growing Turkish-Cypriot community needed larger premises and they raised funds to buy the Shacklewell Lane Synagogue. It become the first Turkish-Cypriot mosque in the UK.
In 1983 the dome was added to the original flat roof and such is the clever remodelling that Dalston residents and visitors alike would never think that the dome was a recent addition.
Inside, most of the original fixtures and fittings remain and the building continues to remind us of the different immigrant communities of Dalston, past and present.
Tour guide and historian Rachel is always seeking the human stories behind the buildings. You will spot her all over London carrying a large colourful fluffy flower and with a group of people following behind golondontours.com.