The Man Who Insisted On Wearing A Turban On The Tube

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 24 months ago
The Man Who Insisted On Wearing A Turban On The Tube

With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

"I decided to let my hair and beard grow again. When my hair looked like a Beatle's I put it in a turban." The words of London Underground train guard, Amar Singh.

It was 1964: a year when Beatlemania was going full throttle, and swinging London danced on the horizon. But London Transport wasn't in a particularly liberal frame of mind.

That August, Singh, from Southall, was sent home from work, after wearing a black turban, instead of the customary peaked cap. That he'd pinned a London Transport badge onto the turban, apparently held no sway.

"I was surprised at this religious discrimination," Singh told the national papers at the time, although London Transport stressed that the turban ban was due to uniform regulations, rather than religious or ethnic grounds. "London Transport seem to be starving me into submission because they haven't sacked me, and will  not release me."

A TfL ad from 2017

But the tale has a happy ending. The (perhaps surprisingly) positive rallying from the press encouraged London Transport to have another think. On 3 September 1964, a spokesman announced an about-turn on the policy — and Singh was welcomed back into the fold. He was photographed, proudly wearing his turban, complete with London Transport roundel pin badge.

Ever since, turban-wearing employees of the Sikh faith have been a familiar sight on the London Underground network.

Last Updated 27 April 2022