Jump to content

1937 Gurpurb Shepherds Bush -Udham Singh


Recommended Posts

Here is a fascinating photograph

It was taken at the original Shepherd's Bush Gurdwara(Sinclair Rd London) - on the Guru Nanak Janam Diwas Gurpurb - 18 November 1937.

On display are a myriad of turban styles , smart suits, waist-coats and watch chains. There are little boys in turbans and short trousers, ladies in sarees and fur coats. However what makes this image fascinating is Udham Singh Shaheed standing right at the back.

Udham Singh shot O'Dwyer a year later on 13 march 1940.

The image includes leading lights,students, workers- all 'classes'

though the majority are described in the photo's caption as 'Singhs from the Bhatra Biradari' ( the central two rows standing).

*photo taken from "Pirtan - Cultural kosh Bhag 1" C S Chan

(around 1985 -not really a book just a collection of copied images )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

THe man fifth back in from the right on the bottom row of men is the then Pardhan of Shepherds Bush Gurdwara. He is holdidng a young boy (looks like a girl with long hair). That young kid is Indarjeet Singh - he of Sikh Messenger, Thought for the Day etc.

The Central figure is Mohan Singh.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont think that he has written anything (not that I can think of).

I spoke to him a few years ago about this picture (for some reason) and his insight into the england of the 30s and 40s was really interesting. In fact I promised to fllow up by visitng a few of the descendants of the other characters in this picture - I did a few interviews but not much more. We (UKPHA) hopes to do an oral history project in the UK - this needs an injection of time in order that we can get the money to conduct the interviews and film them etc


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 3 months later...

Peter BAnce (who wrote the book "The Duleep Singhs" ) is working on another illustyrated book called "Sikhs in Britain" he has identified over 70% of the people in this picture, including the author and journalist Khushwant Singh, who was a young law student in London and is pictured (somewhere) in that group

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More great information Thanks Amandeep !

Here is the caption that goes with the photo it mentions a few names (Kirpal S Sagoo , Mohan Singh Rawalpindi and Wing Commander Basant S Judge)



- Great news about the book I look forward to that .

In our house we reckon Khushwant Singh is this chap


What do you think? - I suppose we're all used to the older Slightly dishelleved Khushwant with his trademark orange 'safa' - but he was quite dapper in his youth . If you compare the young man in the photograph with this picture from Khushwant Singh's biography (written by his son Rahul) there is a passing resemblence .


Anyway enough of the Sherlock Holmes business !!!

Here is a picture of 79 Sinclair Road Shepherds Bush London W12 - where the Gurpurb picture was taken - When it was still a Gurdwara


* Taken from Challenge To Imperial Hegemony - The Life story of a Great Indian Patriot , Udham Singh - Navtej Singh - PUP - 1998

Is that a Nishan Sahib you can see the on the terrace above the door archway? - from the old style car and the 'Mini' parked outside the photgraph must be from the early 1960s.

Here is a picture of the House today


Here is a picture of the 'New' Shepherds Bush Gurdwara (Queensdale Rd W11) from the 1990s


and here it is as it is today



I heard a rumour that the building may be sold - does anyone know if that's true ?

I guess with the extension of the Congestion Charge and the 'potential' - of any building in that postcode (by that I mean serious 'Notting Hill' cash)

may mean that selling it may be too attractive an option. But it would be a shame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

freed can i point out a few architectural facts about that house and how it is not the same site...

1, proch is diffrnent, the bnw pic as and arched entrance were as the modenday is squared off

2, the second floor of the house has one window brickwork then another(top right -above the bay window) which can not be seen but, the house next door shows this as the houses of that period would have been built symmetrical. the moden day has the window next to each other

3, the plaster work above the window has floral decorations were as the moden day has a single flower(or simple design)

4,the balustrade round the windows step up in the middle and the moden day house are flat all round.

i dont think that the house would change that much over 40ys or so these r minnor details so they wouldn't of changed

but im sorry if ive just put ur fire out but keep up the good work loving it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

GurFateh !

Dear Cr/zy,

Being a bit of a stubborn pompous git I was all ready to write a huge essay on how architectural features change and how hard it is to maintain a 'stucco' front on a house and how most houses in W12 and W14 have been split into flats and their owners change the features of their houses - I was all set to defend the picture and have a go at you for 'daring' to question it !!!! -- HOWEVER I took a trip to Sinclair Road W14 and discovered that the second picture is of the wrong house !!!!

That colour picture came from the website of the 24 hour museum


I have taken some pictures of 79 Sinclair Road W14 and you can see that it hasn't changed - all the architectural features you mentioned are still there.

Here are the pictures ; taken October 2006





I think we have all learnt a good lesson here - Don't believe all you see on the Internet !!

Many Thanks Cr/zy for taking the time to post your feedback - It is very much appreciated - If you hadn't I would have been none the wiser.

Someone at the 24Hour Museum didn't do their research !!!

Once again Thank you !!

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...