The building was formally St Thomas’s Church, Manse and schools. The inscription inside the door notes that the buildings were founded by Sir John Gladstone of Fasque. The date is given as 1820. However, the buildings were built to the designs of John Henderson in 1840-43.
The building is an example of the early to mid 19th century Romanesque Rivival which was fashionable before Ecclesiological Gothic took hold. The Romanesque detailing continues inside the building to some extent, notably in the rib-vaulted chevron-moulded plaster vault of the lobby. The architect or patron did not consider Romanesque to be a suitable style for the more domestic manse, schools and asylum to the west of the church and which form a unified scheme with it. Another popular style of the period, Tudor, was chosen instead.
The architect, John Henderson, was an important figure in the history of the church design of 19th century Scotland. His early career, of which this building is an example, was in the period before the writing and example of Pugin and Ecclesiological movement encouraged much more scholarly revivals of Gothic architecture. This building is very good example of Henderson’s work before his conversion to Ecclesiology. In the second part of his career, Henderson was Scotland’s first major exponent of the Victorian Gothic Revival.
In 1976, the building was purchased by the Edinburgh Sikh community for use as their Gurdwara. The building is fully used. The former manse is now used as a Community Centre for the Sikh community as is the ground floor of the subdivided church and of the hall block to the north of the church. The part of the temple used for worship is located in the upper part of the original church. The Sikh community has a policy of keeping the building open as much as possible.
The building is important in townscape terms, The spiral along with the Sikh Insignia at the top, The Khanda, provides a focal point along Mill Lane and in the area to the east. The building is Listed Category B.