English Heritage launches a trail of Anglo-Sikh heritage in the UK

By Richard Moss | 16 July 2004
shows a photograph of the launch of the project. Several People are stood by a board and the front-row of the audience features a row of Sikh gentlmen. They have light blue turbans and are wearing war medals on their jackets.

Photo: the launch of the Anglo-Sikh trail at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, with Home Office Minister for Race Equality, Fiona Mactaggart MP. Picture © English Heritage

English Heritage has launched the UK’s first ever national heritage trail that celebrates the remarkable history linking Sikhs to Britain.

The web-based Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail, created in association with the Maharajah Duleep Singh Centenary Trust, draws together locations steeped in Anglo-Sikh history.

Among the listings on the trail are significant memorials, rare books and manuscripts and sumptuous treasures and artefacts. They have been developed into a simple trail format that enables people to explore Anglo-Sikh heritage on-line as well as visit locations in real life.

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage said: "Anglo-Sikh heritage is a vital part of England's heritage and the Sikh community has an important and very strong historic relationship with England’s past."

shows an exterior shot of Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. It is a large white painted buoilding with steps leading to it from a manicured garden with fountains in the foreground.

Photo: Osborne House on the Isle of Wight is just one of the many locations featured on the trail. Picture © English Heritage.

"English Heritage cares passionately about celebrating all the different strands of history that make up this country's past and believes that the heritage of England must be interpreted in an inclusive way."

English Heritage have pledged £135,000 to develop the trail in partnership with the Maharajah Duleep Singh Centenary Trust.

The trail highlights the first Sikh temple in Shepherds Bush, London and English Heritage’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. At the latter visitors can see the exceptional Sikh decoration in the Durbar Room, designed and built by Bhai Ram Singh and portraits of Maharajah Duleep Singh (the last ruler of Lahore) from when he stayed in the house with Queen Victoria.

As well as places to visit there are articles about Sikh faith and culture. Historical essays cover subjects such as the Anglo Sikh Wars, Maharajah Duleep Singh, who lived in England in the 1880’s and the British Empire and Immigration.

shows a photograph of the Durbar Room at Osbourne House. It is very ornate with gilded ceilings, glass cases and Sikh-influenced furnishings.

Photo: English Heritage’s opulent Durbar Room in Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. © English Heritage

Harbinder Singh, Director of the Maharajah Duleep Singh Centenary Trust project, said: "Despite Sikhs’ high visibility, what remains unknown about the community is the long and remarkable history which connects Sikhs to Britain. This website is a significant milestone in the promotion and preservation of Sikh Heritage in the UK."

"The United Kingdom is home to a captivating heritage that forms part of the colourful historical mosaic that connects the Sikhs to Britain. The trail aims to preserve the past whilst inspiring the future and keeping Anglo-Sikh history very much alive."

You can explore the wonders of Anglo-Sikh heritage by clicking on this link www.asht.info

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