Shoghi Effendi visits Manchester

Our local history was further blessed by having Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and its Head from 1921-1957, visit Manchester in October 1921.

(Top, left of centre) Shoghi Effendi in Manchester with some of the local Baha’is, October 1921, taken in a studio on Oldham St; (bottom, far right) in Haifa, presumably with Baha’i pilgrims from Manchester, 1926

After his visit, Shoghi Effendi wrote the following:

‘The friends in Manchester occupy a warm and abiding place in my heart. The fragrant memory of my visit to them is still fresh and vivid in my mind. I will continue to supplicate at the Beloved’s Shrine for each one of them the Almighty’s richest blessings…’

The first known local Bahá’í assembly was elected around this time. Later Bahá’ís from Manchester were also elected to serve on some of the earliest national UK Bahá’í assemblies.

During the 1920s the local Bahá’ís met in their homes and at a makeshift Bahá’í Centre in Geoff and Albert Joseph’s workplace – a cellar at 51 Mosley St (a lack of funds meant sometimes having to sit on bales of cloth or chairs borrowed from a nearby café). This makeshift Bahá’í Centre moved with the Josephs’ workplaces later  to 39 High St and 35 Shudehill. Meetings also took place in North Manchester at 17 Queen’s Rd.

Albert Joseph’s memoirs talk about special events in Manchester up to the 1950s, including visits by Bahá’ís who became well-known worldwide – Dorothy Baker, Martha Root, Dr John Esslemont and Ruth Moffat.

A handwritten letter from Shoghi Effendi’s to the Manchester Baha’is local spiritual assembly, dated 28 July 1950

Throughout this time Shoghi Effendi continued to support and inspire the growing Manchester community – including through direct correspondence, such as his handwritten letter shown above.