History of Langley Park
To read about Langley Park, read the extract from ”Langley and Langley Green Recalled”,published in 1996 and now out of print, it was“ produced by the Langley Local History Society and can be viewed on their Website.
Langley Park was donated to the people of Langley by Messrs W.A. Albright & G.S. Albright in 1892. The Park House was the home of the resident park keeper and the Carnival Queen was traditionally dressed at the Park House. In recent years the Park House has been derelict, but is now being renovated as a Community Centre."
Official Opening of Langley Park, 4th August 1886
In the edition of 7th August 1886 “The Weekly News” carried an extensive article on “the public opening of the handsome, though small park which has been prepared and laid out by
Mr. Arthur Albright, for the use of the people of Langley for ever.
“There was not a street, and scarcely a house in Langley where the people did not express their thankfulness and appreciation for what has been done for them by suspending a flag or motto through their window, or across the street where they reside. The bunting therefore was all that could be desired, and at intervals were found such mottoes as ‘Blessed is he that considereth the poor’ (and) ‘Arthur Albright for ever’ . . . .
“In place of the objectionable ditch, which ran through the ground, and was a constant danger to the health of the people in the vicinity, a large drain has been laid down, carrying the water in fair weather into the small pool, which is one of the chief features of ornamentation.” . . . . “Mr. Albright by his generosity has not only provided for the health and pleasure of the people of Langley for all time to come, but by insisting on the whole of the work being done by those out of regular employment, has very considerably relieved the prevailing distress of the district.
“The Canal Company very generously gave up about a quarter of an acre of land on their side of the park to allow the boundary to be straightened and enlarged, and the whole has been fenced in with ornamental iron railings, all along High Street with stone base set upon bricks, all firmly and substantially erected.”
The dignitaries at the opening ceremony are all listed and include such notable names as Arthur Albright, W. A. Albright,
G. Stacey Albright, J. E Wilson, J. W. Wilson, Frederick Chance, Edward Chance and Walter Showell.
The speeches are all reported. “Mr. Arthur Albright wished to say . . . . that they fully recognised their duties to their workpeople, and it was chiefly for them that this ground had been given. There were a large number of their workpeople around that place, so that there must be some thousands of their children which he hoped would be sent to play there instead of in the streets. It would be kind to the newly-laid turf, however, if it were left to itself for a short time until its fibres got well set . . . .
“The Rev. W. Laing said he had been in the parish just 42 years, and he thanked God that he had put it into the heart of Mr. Albright to give them such a beautiful place. They were all fond of natural scenery, and he hoped that many of the people would be led to raise their aspirations higher than before. He did not want to be a rebel in the camp, but he would suggest that the name of Mr. Albright should be connected with that place. 12 years ago there were 9,000 people in the parish of Oldbury but now there were more than 20,000. In those days it was a natural thing to see the colliers going about on Sunday with their dogs and cocks, which they trained to fight, and the men also fought together as a common occurrence. A friend told him that at one time they could walk through Langley on the Sunday without the slightest indication that it was the Lord’s day. In those days there was house after house with no Bible to be found in it, and even if there were, very few could read it. He remembered some people at Oldbury thinking that they could change all this in a short time, and do everything, but they found their mistake, and the improvement was a gradual one. He sincerely hoped that their future would be a happy one, that God would bless the giver of that place, and that ministers and people would do their duty better in the future.”
After the speeches “. . . . the party strolled round the grounds and came to the entrance in High Street, when the Crosswells Brewery’s excellent band, augmented by members of the Village Band, marched up, and the gates were thrown open to the public, who had been anxiously waiting on the outside. The band, under the leadership of Mr. Jewkes, took up its position on an elevated piece of land, and played some fine selections of music in the course of the evening.”
“The Weekly News”, 4th August 1886
During the war there were four air raid shelters in the park, which were used to the full by the local residents. The RAF also manned a barrage balloon in the park.
Jessie Warkup (neé Wood)
Both articles taken from “Langley & Round About”, an illustrated community history of Langley, Langley Green, Causeway Green & Rood End, compiled and edited by Suzie Drew & Diane Callow in co-operation with Langley Local History Society in conjunction with Albright & Wilson.