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History

The Langley name became associated with the areas now known as Langley Park, Langley Waterside and Langley Court from 1350 when the Langley family owned the entire estate.

Former owners, the Bucknall family ran a shipping business and often cruised to the Far East and Japan. J L Bucknall would collect unusual plants from the region, many of which were planted around the Langley estate. The Bucknall family was also responsible for building the Langley Park mansion house, which was completed in 1886.

The family continued to live on the Langley Estate until around 1914 when they ran into financial difficulties. Rumour has it the family lost money underwriting the insurance for the Titanic.

During the First World War the Langley Estate was used as a camp for officer prisoners of war. Shortly after the war the estate was acquired by Henry Wellcome for the bargain price of £32,000. The purchase included the Langley Park mansion house and other buildings, together with 105 acres of land.

Over the years, several new laboratories were built including the construction of mock oast houses. In the 1980s extensive redevelopment included the construction of the Langley Waterside Lake and hillside as well as significant new landscaping, including 500 trees and 30,000 shrubs. Following the 1987 hurricane, a further 3,000 hardwood trees were planted to the south of the site.

The pavilion and restaurant was built in the early 1990s, as well as the bridge over the River Beck and a series of nature trails.

Following a gradual wind down of GSK’s activities from 1995 onwards, parts of the Langley Court Estate have been sold off to developers. Laing Homes developed the Langley Park estate restoring the Bucknall mansion house, with Berkeley Homes later developing the adjoining Langley Waterside.

Langley Court was designated as an employment site by the London Borough of Bromley. However, the lack of market interest over many years in using it exclusively for employment activities led Altessen to propose new residential-led mixed uses which have proved popular with the local community and met with the approval of the local authority.