Ealing Council have announced this week that part of (the road formerly known as) Havelock Road in Southall will be renamed, taking effect early in 2021.
The street, home to Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall — the largest gurdwara outside of India — will be renamed Guru Nanak Road, after the founder of Sikhism, following a consultation with local residents and businesses impacted by the change.
The Gurdwara’s importance in the community extends way beyond its role as a place of worship. Among other things, its kitchen provides thousands of free meals every day to local residents in need. Check out our video below from a visit last year.
Major-General Henry Havelock was a leading figure in the first Anglo-Sikh war (in the 1840s), and in supporting Britain’s colonial power in India in the First War of Independence (in 1857).
As you might expect, the reaction to the announcement on social’s been a mix of delight at the important move in recognition of the borough’s diversity, and ‘what next’ outrage. Pleasingly, some of the delight’s come from General Havelock’s living family, with members vocal in support:
As a descendant of Henry Havelock, this news makes me really happy. My ancestor’s story will always be part of British history, but his living relatives have a much different view on the world and are very happy to celebrate Sikh influences and culture in the UK.
— Emily Mckenzie (@Emily_Mckenzie) November 29, 2020