From a letter from G R Patel, Shree Hindu Temple and Community Centre
Mr Millet M,
98 Melbourne Road
In response to your letter dated 13th May1994 and with regards to our telephone conversation in connection with "Highfields Remembered", I enclose herewith a few lines which are related to our organisation which were established in the very early age of Indian settlement in Leicester.
I hope this information would be of interest to you.
G R Patel
Indians in Leicester and Highfields
After World War II, very few Indians came to this country. Highfields was the area where they first started to live. At that time there were no houses owned by Indians. They had to rent the room and four or five people were living in a room. At that time there were no Indian families.
After 1960, East African Indians started emigrating to this country. Most of these immigrants started to settle in London, West Midlands and Leicester. In 1973, a mass exodus started from East Africa. Many of them were financially well off, but again, quite a good number came as refugees. The British government helped them a lot to settle in this country as well as many other countries in the world.
In 1967, Indian ladies started praying in various houses in Highfields. In 1969 a co-operative shop was purchased at the corner of Cromford Street and Chatsworth Street. This shop was later made into the praying hall. In June 1969, the deities of Lord Radha-Krishna were installed and the place was turned into a Hindu Temple. This was the first Hindu Temple in UK.
We started many activities such as religious services, mother tongue Gujarati classes, celebrations of religion festivals, children's art classes etc. Up to 1989, this place was very active serving the Hindu community living in surrounding areas. Slowly our people stated to move to the other areas of the city.
We handed over this place to another private group.
There is a vast Hindu population living in the North Evington area and Evington Road. Not a single worship place is there for their need. We are looking for a big site in these areas and hope to move our centre as soon as possible.
Govindbhai R Patel