95 High Street (extreme left) before there was an estate agency at the premises. Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
The Longley name was a High Street presence in Epsom for more than 70 years and descendants of Henry Banks Longley still own property in the town today.
The Longleys had been involved with Yorkshire bricks and mortar for centuries, working their way up the ladder from bricklayers to builders and then an architect. Henry's father, William (1839-1904), the architect, was of particular note, since some of the designs he produced with his partner, Samuel Jackson, are still standing. Others, such as the Prince's Theatre and Star Music Hall in Bradford have long been demolished. Saltaire Primary School, which is still in operation, dates back to the 1870s and is just one of the buildings to see in the Victorian textile village of Saltaire, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The picture below shows what was the Victoria Works in Shipley. When built in the 1870s it was a huge textile mill and warehouse and is currently apartments.
Henry was born in Bradford in 1870, the first child of William the architect and his wife Emma (nee Banks). He was educated at Clarendon Academy, Bradford and then served articles with his father from 1885-90. In 1891 he became Chief Assistant to the Mining and Consulting Engineer at Darwen (near Blackburn) and in 1896 he beat 79 other candidates to be appointed architectural assistant to Burton-upon-Trent. He next went to the Borough Engineer's Department in Coventry and in 1899 was made engineer and surveyor to the Moss Side Urban District Council in Manchester; by now he was a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and a qualified Chartered Surveyor. Projects he worked on during his engineering career included heating and ventilation of public buildings, laying electric tramways and a scheme for a refuse destructor. In 1905 he was appointed surveyor for the eastern district of Manchester.
Unfortunately, I do not know why Henry decided to leave the public sector and enter private practice in Epsom (perhaps he wanted to be in business for himself and thought that Surrey offered better opportunities) but, before we leave the north we must gather up Mrs Longley for the journey. She was Ada Bertha Beet, born in Darwen in 1873, and Darwen may well be where the couple met; they were married there on 8 September 1898. Ada was the daughter of Edwin Charles Beet and Catherine (nee Smith) and was musically talented. At the age of 14 she passed a junior examination in 'playing the pianoforte', held in Manchester by the Royal Academy of Music, and she sang as a contralto in amateur opera. Edwin Beet was nominally a 'music seller' but actually he made and sold pianos, which must have been profitable, since he left effects of £10,392 (around £1 million in today's money) on his death in 1912. Ada's brother, Fritz, was also a pianist.
So, Henry and Ada came to Epsom around 1910 and brought with them their two surviving children (one had died in infancy), Kathleen (6) and Leslie Beet (2), both born in Manchester. Initially they lived at Quinta, a nine-roomed house in College Road.
Alfred Edward Morris was born in Plumstead in 1874, son of a grazier (cattle farmer). He had lived in Woking prior to setting up business in Epsom and in 1911 was living at The Nook, Ashley Road. The next two photos show how his business at 95 High Street, next door to the White Hart Hotel, looked just before Henry Longley became a partner.
There is a little more about Mr Morris in Epsom Businesses 1911. The photo below depicts 95 High Street now bearing the name of Morris & Longley, which partnership subsisted until Mr Morris retired in 1920, at which point it appears that Henry purchased the freehold of 93 High Street from Brandon's Putney Brewery Ltd - in that year Brandon's was taken over by Mann, Crossman and Paulin Ltd, which later merged with Watney.
We do not know exactly when Eustace Broadhead went into partnership with Henry, but he was certainly in Epsom district by 1922, when he married Doris Louise Beaumont (1893-1976); he was born in 1891 in Stocksbridge, Yorkshire (near Sheffield), son of a pork butcher. In 1911 he could be found as an auctioneer's clerk in Harrogate. It is thought that he operated out of the Sutton branch of Longley & Broadhead.
By 1915 the Longleys had moved to Wytcot, The Parade, Epsom. Sadly, Kathleen died from scarlet fever in June of 1916; she was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave A298A). By Christmas, 1923 the family was at Summerlands, 42 Mill Road and in 1927 they bought Woodcote Hall. What happened next in relation to that building is detailed in the linked article. In later life Henry and Ada lived in a bungalow they had built in the back garden of Woodcote Hall, which is now known as 1 Woodcote Close.
Like many businessmen in Epsom, Henry had a keen sense of civic duty; he was the Chairman and Honorary Treasurer of Epsom Urban District Council at the time of the 1919 Epsom Riot. In an interview at the time he was asked about the attitude of the police towards the Canadian soldiers based in Epsom and 'was very emphatic on the remarkable consideration and human feeling by every member of the force to the Canadians, even when, as Kipling says, "going large a bit"'. He was also a Justice of the Peace and Provincial Grand Secretary of the Surrey Freemasons.
After World War 1 Henry was the Chairman of the War Memorial Committee and it is hard to believe the wrangling and dissension that went on among local dignitaries, people in authority and other folk about what form this should take and where it should be. A full narrative of what happened appears on this website in the links at the end of the Ashley Road War Memorial article.
Henry died at Epsom General Hospital on 14 June 1957, leaving a large and varied property portfolio, followed by Ada on 8 November 1961.
Grave of Henry and Ada Longley in Epsom Cemetery. Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.
Leslie Beet Longley
We parked young Leslie, aged only two, back in 1911, but his turn has now come. He was educated at a prep school in Epsom and then sent to board at Ardingly College in West Sussex until he was 18. Following in father's footsteps, he became a Chartered Surveyor and it's surmised that he worked alongside Henry, but we do not know that for sure.
There were two children, being Gillian Primrose (1940-87) and Nicholas (born 1944). During the Second World War Leslie served with the RAF and afterwards moved the family to a larger house at 1 Links Road. He continued to run Longley & Broadhead; in due course Eustace Broadhead retired, whereupon Leslie bought him out and closed the Sutton branch.
Just as an aside on Eustace Broadhead, who died in 1965, after the Second World War he was seconded to the War Damage Commission together with a surveyor named (Henry) Lewis Edwards. At that time Lewis's firm was called Edwards & Sharp, based in South Street (now Huggins, Edwards & Sharp of West Street, which, incidentally, incorporates the business of the Langlands family). The firm still has professional associations with Longley property to this day.
In 1952 Leslie and Yvonne Longley formed a small property investment company, L B Longley Investments Ltd, which is still in the family, run by their grandson, James Hakim. Woodcote Hall was transferred to the new company and in due course so was the block of flats called Ardingly Court, which Leslie built on the site of the Hall's stables. Ardingly Court is still owned by L B Longley Investments.
I did adverise in the opening titles that this article was to be about the Longleys at 93-95 High Street and it still is, but, rather like Topsy, it growed.
Leslie retired in 1969 and Longley & Broadhead was amalgamated with Osenton & Lamden of Leatherhead. This next picture shows the offices branded as that firm and you will see just behind the traffic light that they are under offer via Maggs, Edwards & Sharp, which is another incarnation of the previously mentioned Edwards & Sharp.
95 High Street (extreme left). Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
You will also notice from the photo that the Ashley Centre has now appeared and, as it opened in 1984, this tallies with the fact that Osenton & Lamden was sold in the mid-1980s. Here are two later incarnations of the premises, as Fine & Country and Browns Residential (these two companies are connected).
95 High Street (extreme left). Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
95 High Street. Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
After Leslie's retirement he and Yvonne moved to Fetcham, which was very near to where James Hakim lived as a lad. Leslie died in 1973 and Yvonne in 2002.
The freehold of 93-95 High Street passed to James Hakim and his brother Rupert after Yvonne's death and in 2003 they sold it to the Ashley Centre. However, as I said, Ardingly Court remains in the family.
I cannot finish without saying a big thank you to James and Rupert Hakim, who started the ball rolling on this piece and not only provided many of the pictures but also gave me most of the information, so all I had to do was put it together.