Pilgrim pioneers: Britons on Hajj before 1940

William Facey, writer and publisher on the Arabian Peninsula, traces Britain’s relations with Islam back a thousand years.

The first recorded Briton to perform Hajj was Joseph Pitts of Exeter, who went to Mecca in about 1685. In 1933, Mecca welcomed its first British woman convert, Lady Evelyn Cobbold. In between, various Britons, both devout and fraudulent, made their way to Mecca, with motives as diverse as their personalities.

This event took place on 10 February 2012.

Related to the exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam.

Image: Hajj certificate (detail). 17th–18th century AD. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust).

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Hajj certificate (detail). 17th–18th century AD. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust)
Pilgrim pioneers: Britons on Hajj before 1940

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