A History of Langley
Any residents wishing to read about the history of the
Langley Park and Park Langley areas may be interested in a short booklet
written in 1994 by Dr. Arthur Newman, one of Welcome's directors. If you're
keen, you can borrow the booklet: if not, here's a summary!!
There is some reference in ancient texts to a property
on the site as early as 862 AD. The Domesday Survey in 1086 mentions
properties at Langley,
which was at that time part of the estate of ado, Bishop of Baiex, Earl of
Kent, and half brother of William the Conqueror (obviously why there are so
many "'Conqueror "' trees around here).
The properties and land passed through several
families over the centuries and these have given their names to roads and
features of the area. One example is John de Malmaines, who had a King's
Charter to hunt game on his lands at ""Begenham" in the 14th
The property came into the hands of the Langley family in 1350,
since when the name has attached to the principal
residences of the area. The original Langley Mansion,
the main house of the estate from Tudor times, was destroyed by fire in 1913,
and the Club House of the Langley Park
Golf Club was built on
The site of the
current Mansion House was occupied by the estate's Farmhouse
The best source of information on the early property
dates from 1820, when Langley Farm was auctioned and was bought along with 250
acres of land by one Emmanuel Goodhart. There were a number of buildings
included in the Farm properties, although only one .the Chapel, with its
thatched roof .still remains.
In 1884, Goodhart's son sold Langley Farmhouse and 105
acres of the land for £25,000 (Laing Homes eat your heart out) to JL Bucknall.
Soon after the purchase, Bucknall decided to demolish Langley Farmhouse and to
erect in 1886 a new property of suitably grand proportion .the present Mansion
House. The Buckmall family lived at Langley
Court until 1914, when they ran into financial
It is part of the
folklore of the site that these owners were shipping
magnates and that they underwrote the Titanic. Subsequently when it sank they
financially sank too hence the sale. Moreover, their involvement in shipping
and cruising the world, took them regularly to the Far
East and Japan.
Many plants were collected and planted around the estate. As a result an
architect was inspired to design the local garage in a pagoda style, distinctly
Japanese architecture and not Chinese. The locals with memories of the Pacific
preferred to call it the Chinese Garage so the name has remained.
The Mansion was then unoccupied for a time, and was
used during the first World War as a camp for Officer prisoners of war ( but
did they get the security to work?)
At the end of the War, Wellcome bought Langley Court for
£32,000 (together with the 105 acres originally bought by Buckmall) as the
answer to his need to relocate his Physiological Research Laboratories from Brockwell Park. The remainder of the Goodhart
estate was sold for residential development .the current Park Langley estate.
Wellcome developed the site extensively for his manufacturing ( penicillin) and
research activities (chemotherapy, poliomyelitis, veterinary vaccines and other such biological products.