London

Religion

Religion in the United Kingdom and the states that pre-dated the UK was dominated by forms of Christianity for over 1,400 years. Despite falling numbers Christianity remains the largest religion in England and Wales as reported in the 2011 Census. Muslims are the next biggest religious group.

Historically, London has been predominantly Christian. Anglicanism is the primary denomination, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's main residence is at Lambeth Palace. Most parts of London north of the Thames and west of the River Lee are within the diocese of London under the Bishop of London at St Paul's Cathedral in the City, parishes east of the River Lee are within the Diocese of Chelmsford, whilst most parts south of the river are administered from Southwark Cathedral as the diocese of Southwark. Important national and royal ceremonies are divided between St Paul's and Westminster Abbey.

The pre-eminent Catholic cathedral in England and Wales is Westminster Cathedral, from where the Archbishop of Westminster leads the English and Welsh Catholic church. Other Christian denominations also have headquarters in the city, including the United Reformed Church, the Salvation Army and the Quakers, and immigrant communities have established their own denominations or dioceses (e.g. Greek Orthodoxy). Evangelical churches are also present. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century.

London has centres of worship for a multitude of faiths. In 2011, London was the most diverse region with the highest proportion of people identifying themselves as Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish.

According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious groupings are Christians (48.4 per cent), followed by those of no religion (20.7 per cent), no response (8.5 per cent), Muslims (12.4 per cent), Hindus (5.0 per cent), Jews (1.8 per cent), Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (1.0 per cent) and other (0.6 per cent).[1]These statistics and the relatively large number of individuals with nominal or no religious affiliations has led commentators to variously describe the UK as a multi-faith, secularised, or post-Christian society.

Islam is London's second largest religion. 38% of England's Muslims live in London, where they represent 12.4% of the population. There were 1,012,823 Muslims reported in the 2011 census in the Greater London area.[1]London Central Mosque is a well-known landmark on the edge of Regent's Park, and there are many other mosques in the city.

Over half of the UK's Hindu population live in London, where they make up 5% of the population. The Hindu temple at Neasden was the largest temple of Hinduism in Europe,[2] until the opening of the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple in Tividale in 2006.[3] Other temples are located in nearby Wembley, Harrow and Willesden, as well as Wimbledon and Newham in South and East London.

Over two-thirds of British Jews live in London. There are significant Jewish communities in parts of north London such as Stamford Hill and Golders Green.[5] The first written record of Jewish settlement in London dates from 1070, although Jews may have lived there since Roman times. Bevis Marks Synagogue built in 1701 in the city of London is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom still in use.

London is also home to a large Sikh population, who are mainly settled around the west of the city, in suburbs like Southall and Hayes. The largest Sikh temple in London (and Europe[12]) is Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Southall.

Useful Internet Links:

Religion in England and Wales 2011: Part of 2011 Census

What does the Census tell us about religion in 2011?

Census gives insights into characteristics of London’s population

London Metropolitan Archives - Religion Collections

 

Sources: www.wikipedia.org; Office for National Statistics; www.independent.co.uk; Getty

Last Updated: 27 July 2015