The Sikhs, in tune with their character, were the first people who left the shores of India as early as the second half of 19th century and settled far and wide. The first major migration of the Sikhs from India to Great Britain was in the fifties and early part of the sixties. The successive immigration acts from 1962 onwards effectively put an end to this migration. Some of the immigrants of this era settled in the Borough of Haringey and in Finchley area of Barnet.
With their unique way of life, a handful of Sikhs felt a need of establishing a Gurdwara in North London, as a hub of Sikh religious assembly, culture and identity. The inaugural prayer meeting took place in March 1972 in a room at the unglamorous location of a swimming pool in Edmonton Green. The main spirit behind this was Sardar Makhan Singh Ji together with a small number of other likeminded families. It became a regular occasion held on alternate Sunday from 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. A committee was formed to run the congregational gatherings which grew with time.
In 1975, the venue changed to St. Marys Church Social Hall, Dysons Road , Edmonton , Enfield . The attendance improved as the news spread. Holy Akhand Paths at the individual homes were commenced and so was the music class.
In order to continue this Sewa , voluntary work, the burden naturally fell on few willing individuals. The sheer determination to succeed overcame the difficulties of regular attendance during its infancy and, in 1977, a decision was taken to look for a property which would be adequate and proper to call a Gurdwara. A derelict Methodist church came on the market at that point in time, in 1978. The community took the decision to purchase it.
When the news spread, an arson attack caused further damage to the property. An untoward reaction of the local community was to be encountered with fortitude and friendliness at all times in keeping with the religious fervour. At that crucial time the quality of leadership within the community was positive and the role of the police officers was positive as well in bringing peace and harmony in the local community.
The significance was to see the Sikh community in North London , which was very small in size, getting together and undertaking this immense task of rebuilding the Gurdwara from inside except the outer walls of the church. It took a few years to transform the derelict structure into a vibrant and magnificent Gurdwara as you see it today.
To this day, this Gurdwara is managed by Executive Committee elected by the members annually and all posts are honorary. Some members of the congregation, who do not become members of the committee. The underlying spirit is the unity of the community and the peaceful methods that are used to overcome differences of opinion which are often the cause of divisive cliques in other similar organisations.
The mother tongue school was the next priority to be addressed. Initially run in a local primary school on Sundays the Panjabi School now has a permanent home in the Recently, both the adjoining freehold properties came on the market and the community decided to purchase them with the intention to improve the existing services for the community and if possible to introduce some services for the local community as well. The acquisition of these properties was achieved solely by the community through internal resources. We intend to introduce the following services,
1) Men and women keep fit classes
2) Elderly luncheon service
3) youth sports facilities
4) Advice centre for welfare and benefits for mothers and elderly
5) Careers advice and training
6) Mother’s toddler group
Other services will be introduced as and when appropriate.
So far the Sikh community has depended on self help, but it takes a very long time to achieve results. Therefore, the committee is looking to outside sources to assist us in fulfilling our aims and thereby playing a full part in the local community