Now and Then – Langley

The neighbourhood is dark and dreary,

Boarded up houses, people weary.

Pensioners with nowhere to go

Families just putting on a show.

Everyone trying to do their best

Living their lives in this great big mess!

That’s what I thought before I found

Community centres all around.

Places of activity

Groups for them and for me.

Committees that challenge the ruling party

Fighting for an estate more worthy.

As time goes on I see the changes

Boards come off the empty houses.

People move in and are pleased as Punch

With a Langley that’s not “out for lunch”.

Improvements keep on coming

And Langley people keep on humming.

The neighbourhood is lighter and bright

The future assured and quite all right.

Committees that keep on challenging

Residents that keep on flourishing.

Everyone trying to do their best

Living their lives no longer a test!


Jo M.

In the same boat – a poem about Langley

We came in 55 from the prefabs

What a lovely house!

Gardens, indoor toilets and stairs for the first time –

we ran up and down them all day long

But winter in Langley was freezing

No central heating

so I’d

warm my legs by a stove in the mornings

drinking a cup of tea while the family was still in bed.

We were all in the same boat


They were just starting to build Langley and there were

No doctors

No priests

No midwives

And the buses full of smoking men going to work in Manchester

only ran to the top of Wood Street

where the bus driver would shout

“Debtor’s Retreat!”

That’s until Ted Briscoe, the bus inspector, aka ‘Lord Mayor of Langley’,

organised our 121 Langley Flyer.

We were all in the same boat.


We had some really great times over the years

Not much money but there was a piano and a singsong

Entertainers in the Catholic Club

Church activities and trips back to where you’d come from

Lovely afternoons spent in Jubilee Park –

free sketched on a Sunday ’til it went dark

Dancing at the baths on the wooden floor put over the water and

marvelling at the Langley Festival elephant kept in the field near the motorway

With cinemas to choose from we could opt for

freezing feet at The Palace or

scratching at the Flea Pit.

We were all in the same boat.


Everybody knew everybody

And everybody got on so well

We were all struggling to make a better life for our children

We were all in the same boat.


A poem compiled from memories of participants in a reminiscence workshop at Langley Library, March 2008 from the book ‘The Folk on the Hill: Poems and Stories from Langley’. 

‘Who needs money when there is love?’

Where do I start? I was born in 1967 and we moved up from Clayton, Manchester. Darnhill was where everybody knew everybody, and was very friendly.

As a kid growing up you didn’t dare do anything wrong as there was this one bobby we called him Sherlock and he used to ride around on a pushbike. I remember him catching me and my cousin on some garages near the shops, he got us both by the ears and frog marched us to our parents and you can imagined what happened next!

It’s a shame they can’t do anything like that now. Our parents were a bit poor, I remember coming in from playing out and we had no electric and I said where are the lights and he replied there is a power cut but there wasn’t we were skint as the rest of the street was lit up lol. But what great times we had! Who needs money when there is love?


Growing up in Langley

I came to Langley with my mum and dad when I was just a baby and we lived in the flats on Rowrah Crescent just overlooking the Golf Course.

I remember the coal fire we had and burning my fingers on a piece of coal. I was only about 4 or 5. I remember the rag-and-bone man going up and down Rowrah and getting kicked in the shin by a horse.

I lived on Rowrah in the flats until I was about 6 and then moved to Dacre Close. I can remember riding to my new house in a blue 3 wheeler bike with my mam and dad in the van. I lived there until I was 26. We had a front and back garden.