Soho Road Gudwara in Handsworth east Birmingham was constructed in the 1970s. Its construction represented increasing prosperity and confidence among the city’s Sikh community, which began developing in the 1940s and 1950s when substantial migration from northern India to the West Midlands began.
Four stories tall, its floor space totaling 25,000 square metres, the building is one of Birmingham’s largest places of worship and a major centre for Sikh religious life and culture. In addition to worship spaces the building also houses a number of co-operatively owned enterprises, including a wood work shop. These mutual businesses are run along lines inspired by Sikh religious principals.
From the Gudwara’s roof
The main entrance to Soho Road Gudwara.
A view from an upstaris window in Soho Road Gudwara across the front of the building. It gives a good sense of the temple’s scale.
The main dome of the Soho Road Gudwara.
Religious banners fly from the Soho Road Gudwara
Looking our over Handsworth from Soho Road Gudwara.
Looking down the Soho Road from the Gudwara’s roof.
The view from the Gudwara’s roof.
Inside the Worship Spaces
The altar from which worship is led at the Gudwara.
A sacred Sikh symbol on the wall-built into-the Gudwara. Translated into English it states that there is only one God.
A religious banner decorating the altar at the Gudwara. It signifies that there is only one God.
A worshiper enters the Gudwara.
Worshipers eat together at the Gudwara.
Worshipers gather for a meal at the Gudwara.
Leading worship at the Gudwara.
A man leads worship at the Gudwara.
Worshipers approach the altar at the Gudwara.
A woman leading worship at the Gudwara.
A man reads from scripture during worship at the Gudwara.
Male worshipers wash before prayers at the Gudwara.
Worshipers in prayer before the altar in the Gudwara.
A woman is served food at the Gudwara.
Kitchens, workshops and other spaces
Kitchen workers standing by the sinks.
Workers in the Gudwara’s kitchen preparing the day’s meal.
Kitchen workers preparing the food given by the Gudwara community to worshipers and visitors alike.
Carpentry workers in the Gudwara’s workshop maintain the building
A worker stands by a pile of doors-made on site-for the upkeep of the Gudwara.
Workers behind the counter at the Gudwara’s hardwear shop.
Customers stand at the counter of the Gudwara’s in-house hardwear shop
Two of the Gudwara’s managers in discussion.
Portrait of a kitchen worker.
Receptionists welcome people to the Gudwara
A kitchen worker prepares vegetables for the day’s meals.
A worker in the Gudwara’s kitchen preparing food.
Boxes are carried through the Gudwara’s laundry to the kitchen.
Clean glass wear stacked in the Gudwara’s kitchen
A bowl of chopped potatoes stands in the Gudwara’s kitchen.
A large pile of newly washed cutlery in the Gudwara’s kitchen. They await today’s guests and worshipers.
Pans stored ready for use in the Gudwara’s kitchen.
Gudwara workers maintaining a large steel dish.
The steward on duty; ready to serve those eating at the Gudwara.