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CLARENCE PLACE
PROJECT BY GURU NANAK DARBAR GURDWARA

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Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara (Gravesend) at Clarence Place (1968 to 2010)

The Sikh community of Gravesend had gathered to pray at 55 Edwin Street, a terraced house in a residential street, until 1968. As the community grew, this property was deemed to be too small and a property in Clarence Place was purchased. This was originally a Church, and then used as a wholesale warehouse, before being purchased by Gravesend’s Sikhs.

 

The formal opening of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Clarence Place was held on Sunday 17th November 1968, with a Nagar Kirtan (procession) from Edwin Street to the new premises. 3,000 people are reported to have taken part in the opening day’s celebrations. The Nagar Kirtan was led by the Panj Pyare and Guru Granth Sahib Ji as it arrived at the new Gurdwara. Sikhs from all over the country had come to Gravesend to take part in the celebrations, which also coincided with the 499th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith and after whom the Gurdwara is named. 

 

The new Gurdwara was noted to be the largest in the United Kingdom at the time, and the opening happened to be on the day after Enoch Powell’s infamous “send them home” speech. Mr David Ennals, Minister of State for the Social Services, attended the Gurdwara opening and his speech was described in the Gravesend Reporter as “a scorching reply was a well timed answer made in the right atmosphere to lend support to his case”. The opening was also attended by Alderman Charles Sutor, Mayor of Gravesend, Mr Albert Murray MP, and leaders of different faith and community groups.

 

The black and white pictures show the procession from Edwin Street to Clarence Place, and the celebrations inside the Gurdwara, on 17th November 1968.

Clarence Place became a much-loved Gurdwara for the Sikhs of Gravesham and surrounding areas. Thousands of Anand Karajs (marriages), Akhand Paaths, Sehaj Paaths and Sukhmani Sahibs to celebrate other important events in people’s lives took place there and formed lifelong memories for those involved. However, by the end of the 1990’s, it was becoming apparent that the community had outgrown the Clarence Place site and there was a need for a larger and more modern Gurdwara.

 

After two or three years of planning, work started on the new Gurdwara in 2002. The pictures show the turning of the first piece of turf to start work on the new site, in April 2002.

It took over eight years to build the new Gurdwara and be ready to move out of Clarence Place. The following pictures show the Clarence Place Gurdwara in the last few days before closure. Preparing for the move was a time of mixed emotions for many, sadness at leaving a much-loved place and joy at the opening of Europe’s largest Gurdwara in their own town.

Almost exactly 42 years after moving into Clarence Place, on 19th November 2010, the community moved into the new Gurdwara in Guru Nanak Marg, off Saddington Street. A Nagar Kirtan was organised to bring Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the new Gurdwara ceremoniously. The following pictures show a few scenes from that day, bidding farewell to Clarence Place and arriving joyfully at the new Gurdwara.

Whats Next for Clarence Place

WHATS NEXT FOR CLARENCE PLACE?

Over the past 12 years, Clarence Place has been vacant over this period, different committees have explored different options, including renovation to flats and selling the property to developers.  Overall, the Sangat wish to keep the building, and it becomes part of the Gurdwara estate.

 

In 2018 we started the journey to seek planning permission on existing plans.  Please see below the journey map.

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PROJECT BOARD

Project Board

In Jan 2023, the Gurdwara was formally granted planning.  The next step of the journey was to set up a Project Board that would oversee the project's development.  Please see below the project board members and roles.

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HIGH-LEVEL APPROACH

High-Level Approach

The planned approach to managing this project ensures that we all understand the new legislation and regulations. Several new pieces of legislation in the construction industry have existed over the past 12 years. These include:

 

  • The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

  • The Energy Performance of Buildings

  • The Building Regulations 2018

  • The Modern Slavery Act 2015

  • The Infrastructure Act 2015

 

These pieces of legislation demonstrate the ongoing effort to improve the construction industry's safety, sustainability, and ethical practices. As society's expectations and priorities change, the industry will likely continue to be subject to new regulations and requirements.

 

It was agreed at the project board that we would require external expertise from design to construction to deliver this project successfully.

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HIGH-LEVEL PROCUREMENT PROCESS

The high-level procurement process involves careful planning, selecting the right partner, and evaluation to ensure that goods and services are procured in a fair, transparent, and cost-effective manner. By following a structured procurement process, the Gurdwara can reduce project risk.  

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High - Level Procurement Process

COMMUNICATION

Project communication is essential for stakeholder engagement, risk management, conflict resolution, decision-making, and performance monitoring. By establishing a clear communication plan with Sanagt and promoting open and honest communication throughout the project, teams can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and that the project is delivered successfully.

 

The timetable for meetings is as follows:

 

  • Project Board – Last Sunday of every month

  • All Sangat Meeting – First Saturday of every month 

  • Stage Announcements First Sunday of every month

Communiaton

ALL SANGAT MEETING DATES

Sangat Meetings
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FAQs
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