Sikh History on the Streets of Oxford

A Little History of the Sikhs Tour

A Little History of the Sikhs is a community-based organisation that has been turning research in modern-day Sikh history and heritage into walking tours since 2014.   

Tours cover London and the South-East of England, but have also branched out to include study visits to Western Europe. In 2021, the Little History team, worked with local Oxfordshire historian, Stephen Barker, to develop a new walking tour exploring ‘Sikh History on the Streets of Oxford’.

This 3/4 hour-long tour explores Sikh and related Indian histories connected with colleges and historic sites dotted around Oxford’s city centre. Some highlights include:

  • Christ Church: where the fraught political relationship between alumnus Lord Dalhousie (the final Governor-General of the East India Company) and Maharani Jindan Kaur (the last reigning queen of the Sikh Empire) are brought to life
  • Nuffield College: a summary is presented of the career of alumnus, Dr Manmohan Singh, as a renowned economist, politician and former Prime Minister of India
  •  Somerville College: here we explore the lives of some of the first women of South Asian heritage to study at Oxford, including Cornelia Sorabji and Princesses Bamba and Catherine Duleep Singh, who attended Somerville in the 1890s
  • St Hugh’s College: Hear the biographies of Freda Bedi and Baba Pyara Lal Bedi; including the story of their meeting at St Hugh’s, their marriage in 1933, and their subsequent roles in the Indian Independence movement
  • The tour ends at Broad Street, with access to Balliol College, and details of the life and career of the WW1 Sikh fighter pilot, Hardit Singh Malik.
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