Langley Park is a village of well over 4000 people, at the last census in 2001. It is situated in the Browney valley about 5 miles North West of Durham City in the North East of England. Its main claim to fame is that it is the childhood home of Newcastle United and former England Football Manager, Sir Bobby Robson.
Like many of the villages in the surrounding area, Langley Park owes its existence to Coal Mining. Langley Park Colliery was developed by the Consett Iron Company, who leased the land on which the future Colliery was to stand from the Earl of Durham. They brought in William Coulson, one of the most famous sinkers of his day, in order to oversee the early development of the Mine. The sinking, of what was to become No. 1 shaft, began in November 1873, and was completed in April 1875 when the Busty Seam at 29 Fathoms 3 feet 6 inches was reached. Two other shafts were subsequently sunk and the Colliery was officially opened in 1876. In it's heyday the Colliery employed more than 1,000 men and production peaked at nearly 500,000 Tons of Coal per year. A Coking plant was also developed to the South of the Colliery to process the Coal produced, which proved to be of very good Coking quality. The Colliery was closed on October 31st.1975 after nearly 100 years of Coal production, the Coking Plant having already been closed in March 1961.
Since the closure of the Colliery, a number of steps were taken to try and bring new industry into the village. Small industrial units were developed to the South of the old Colliery site and some of the old Colliery Buildings were earmarked for the use of small businesses. The biggest employer to come to the village after the closure of the Colliery was Compass Caravans, who set up a purpose built Caravan Factory to the South of the old Colliery site. Unfortunately, this has itself now been closed down. Part of this factory has however, been taken over by H. E. Services for their Diggerland Adventure Park. This allows children to ride in and drive different types of construction machinery. H.E.Services also hire out these machines.
Efforts have also been made to provide the people of the village with new learning and leisure facilities. The old Fire Station has been taken over by the County to use as a library. A new Information Technology facility provided by Langley Park Community Association and with equipment from Derwentside Council, has been made available at The Harry Giuldford Centre,Thomas Street, DH7 9SB. This was set up to provide locals with Broadband Internet access and any other Computing facilities they may need, for a small fee of £1 per hour, to cover running costs. This centre used to be The Neighbourhood Office, but is now the offices of Esh Parish Council.
Surprisingly, despite the closure of the Colliery, the future for Langley Park looks bright at present. It has actually grown in recent years with the development of a number of new housing estates increasing the population of the village. This is despite the fact that most people now have to travel elsewhere for employment.