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.