22nd January 2006. View of The Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) at number 281A Chapeltown Road. The Grade II 22nd listed building was originally the Newton Park (Union) Congregational Baptist Church, built in 1887 to designs by Leeds Architect, Archibald Neill who also designed the shops on Chapeltown Road, Newton Park Estate for the Lupton family who owned the estate. In 1879, building commenced on the Anglican St Martin’s Church on the family’s estate. However, the Lupton family by this time were leading Dissenters (Non-conformists) in Leeds and surrounding towns. By 1846, the philanthropy of “Arthur Lupton of Newton Hall”, Potternewton (Leeds Times, 14 November 1846) extended to both the building of the Leeds House of Recovery on land which he owned in the Burmantofts area and the support of the Potternewton Independent/Congregational Chapel. Arthur’s brother Darnton was Mayor of Leeds (1844-45) and was his neighbour, living across the field at Potternewton Hall from c.1837 till c.1847. By 1870, Darnton and his brother Francis had acquired their brother Arthur’s Newton Hall Estate which quickly accommodated the building of a new Independent/Congregational chapel. The architect was W.H. Harris. In 1887, the 520 seater Newton Park Union Church, serving both Baptist and Congregational denominations was constructed at a cost of £6,500. It was constructed on the eastern side of the original 1870 chapel which was extensively damaged by fire in 2005. The new church was in the “14th century Decorated Gothic style” and on the west side the three light gabled central window can be seen. The Leeds Mercury reported on 8 October 1887 that the laying of the foundation stone “ceremony will be performed by Mr. J. Barran, M.P. [later Sir], on behalf of the Baptists, and by Mr. E. Crossley, MP, on behalf of the Congregationalists”.
On an Ordnance Survey map dated 1952, the Newton Park Union Church was no longer a church but was in use as the Royal Airforce Association Club. The original 1870 Lupton family chapel at the rear was the premises of the Old Central Hebrew Congregational Synagogue at this time. The building in the photograph became The Sikh Temple c.1963. It has the Khanda, the emblem of the Sikh religion, above the porch. The Khanda is a double edged sword representing the separation of truth from falsehood. The circle symbolises the perfection of God, who is eternal and is called the Chakar. The two outer curved swords, or Kirpans, remind a Sikh of the equal importance of spiritual aspirations and obligations to society. Olive Middleton (née Lupton) grew up at Rocklands at her family’s Newton Park Estate and knew the Newton Park Union Church and St Martin’s Church well; she attended her brother Francis Ashford Lupton’s wedding at St Martin’s Church on 13 August 1914. Olive Middleton is the great-grandmother of H.R.H. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (née Middleton). Photograph courtesy of James William Bell.