Sikh Family History Project Revisited Archive

Scope and Content

This collection includes the oral history and related material (documents and photographs) from the Sikh Family History Project reminiscence session held Feb 2019. It also includes three publications that were donated on the day of the interview by one of the participants and a copy of the volunteer nomination made regarding the project for the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Volunteer Awards. An additional donation of photographs of the Sikh Community in Manchester was donated by a project participant.

Administrative / Biographical History

The original Sikh Family History Project was set up in 1982 as a one year Community Enterprise Programme funded by the Manpower Services Commission. The project was established to help young Sikhs to learn and understand about their heritage and to combat the effects of growing racism in the 1980s.
The Manpower Services Commission funded two researchers, a publicity officer and an administrator and contributed towards running costs. In the first year the project began by focusing on the first generation of elders and their experiences. These were the generation who had experienced Pre-partition Indian, the decisions behind their move to the UK, the migration journey and their view of and adaption to a new and strange environment. This group were able to provide a link back to the Punjab and record the history of the Manchester community from its arrival in the UK until the 1980s.
The three goals of the project were to:

Show young Sikhs that they have a legitimate place in the local community using the first hand testimony of those who had moved and integrated into the UK.
Contribute to a wider multi-cultural education in Manchester to provide reliable information to combat misconceptions and stereotypes.
Educate British Sikhs about the context of their community including social, cultural and economic traditions.

In the original project 42 interviews were undertaken with a cross section of the community, both men and women and often several generations of the same family. Alongside this photographs were collected which are held in the Manchester Digital Photograph Archive. The project ran for more than the year as additional funding was obtained from a variety of sources. There was considerable work undertaken around promotion of the project including events and exhibitions. The book 'Speaking for Ourselves' was produced using information and quotes from the original interviews.

The original Sikh family History Project was pioneering in its aims, activities and achievements. The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust (AIU Centre) have been aware of the project and keen to make links / promote the outputs of the project. Extensive searching has failed to identify the location of the original oral history recordings or the film that was produced towards the end of the project.
As part of an ongoing project the AIU Centre carries out oral history interviews with individual people to capture their stories for the archive. One such interview was undertaken with Kanta Walker who had been a part of the Sikh Family History Project. Kanta was able to facilitate contact with Daljit Singh and Raj Kaur who were two of the project researchers.


  • GB3228.85/1 Oral History reminiscence session recording and associated material
  • GB3228.85/2 Publications
  • GB3228.85/3 Volunteer awards nomination
  • GB3228.85/4 Photographs of the Manchester Sikh Community

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please contact:

Acquisition Information

Mixed source of acquisition

Other Finding Aids

Summary and index of the oral history session produced by Jennifer Vickers available on request

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Hybrid collection including digital and physical files

Archivist's Note

  • Catalogue created Aug 2019 by J. Robson.
  • Oral history summary by J Vickers Jun 2019.
  • Information pertaining to photographs provided by D. Singh and R. Kaur, Sep 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection for private research and study purposes only. Please contact the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Centre if permission for other uses if required.

Appraisal Information

No appraisal or destruction undertaken. A video of the recording was attempted. The battery in the camera did not last the duration of the first session. Staff were unable to retrieve from the device the file that had been recorded and so this has not been added to the collection.

Custodial History

  • Accession 2019/7 created by AIURRRC & ET.
  • Accession 2019/3 donated by Martin Palmer and were in his care until the 1 Feb 2019.
  • Accession 2019/6 - digital version of the original images donated by Daljit Singh, Oct 2019.


No accruals expected

Related Material

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre Archive and Library:

  • A database that was used to organise the event has been added to the AIUET digital archive and hardcopy research notes created by J. Robson on the project have been GB3228.22.
  • Sikh Family History Project Annual Report 1982-1983 (AIURRRC Ref: MAN.HI.1/SIK)
  • Speaking for Ourselves - Sikh Oral History Project (AIURRRC Ref: MAN/HI.1/SIK)

Location of Originals

GB3228.85/4 Original photographs are retained by the donor