Park Langley

Park Langley, Bromley

A select residential estate in south Beckenham, augmented by some slightly less grandiose early 21st century development

Corner of Hayes Way and Wickham Way - geograph-2960787-by-Dr-Neil-Clifton

It is likely but not certain that the ‘langan leage’ recorded in a charter of 862 can be iden­ti­fied with this place, although the next mention of Langley does not come until the 13th century, when the Langley (or de Langele) family were in posses­sion of the estate, and had probably taken their name from it.

The Langley estate passed through a succes­sion of eminent hands until it was acquired in the 1820s by Emmanuel Goodhart, whose family retained it into the 20th century.

In 1908 the Lewisham building firm H&G Taylor bought 700 acres of the estate, intending to create a garden suburb of the highest quality, with a golf course, substan­tial detached and semi-detached houses, curving avenues and a circular amenity building, with shops and a church. One of the houses was built as the centre­piece of the 1910 Ideal Home Exhi­bi­tion at Kens­ington Olympia and reassem­bled here after the show.

Henry Wellcome bought Langley Court and 105 acres of land in 1918 to set up research labo­ra­to­ries for his phar­ma­ceu­tical company. At the same time, Taylor’s resumed work on its ‘garden city’. Although the company consid­ered the golf course to be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Park Langley, its archi­tec­tural highlight was the petrol station built at Looking Glass Corner in 1928. Designed in what Pevsner called “a rampant Road to Mandalay style,” it later became known as the Chinese garage and was grade II listed in 1994.

Hidden London: Park Langley, the Chinese Garage, b Dr Neil Clifton

Parts of Park Langley were not fully developed until after the Second World War, while the amenity centre failed to mate­ri­alise and its site was used for Langley Park schools for boys and girls.

Wellcome ended research at Langley Court in 1995 and the grounds saw extensive house­building at the turn of the 21st century, including the Langley Park and Langley Waterside estates. The much tighter network of streets makes the newer estates readily iden­ti­fi­able on the map below. The purpose-built Unicorn primary school opened in September 2003.

Postcode areas: Beckenham BR3 and West Wickham BR4
Website: Park Langley Residents’ Association
* The pictures of a house at the corner of Hayes Way and Wickham Way and the Chinese Garage on this page are both adapted from original photographs, copyright Dr Neil Clifton at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.