The company was incorporated in August 1955 by Leslie Beet Longley of Epsom, Surrey as his family property investment company. Leslie was a Chartered Surveyor and proprietor of Longley & Broadhead, a Surrey based firm of Chartered Surveyors, Auctioneers and Estate Agents whose head office was at 93-95 High Street, Epsom between 1920 and 1970.
Leslie’s father, Henry Banks Longley, was an Architect and Surveyor originally from Bradford. Henry relocated to Epsom with his young family in 1910 to join a partnership of established ‘House, Land & Estate Agents’ known as ‘A E Morris’ and based at 93 High Street, Epsom. The firm then became ‘Morris & Longley’s Surrey Estate Office’ until Mr Morris’ retirement in 1920 when the firm became ‘Longley & Broadhead’.
Henry Longley was a bit of a high achiever by all accounts and in the years between the two World Wars, he built several large housing developments around Epsom and Ewell and like all property developers, he never missed an opportunity. Something his wife Ada soon got used to.
Woodcote Hall, Epsom circa 1914
In 1921 Henry bought Woodcote Hall, a grand 18th century house on the outskirts of Epsom with 20 acres of gardens and grounds from Lord Roseby’s daughter, Countess Athlone. After settling his family into the big house, he promptly fenced off 11 acres of paddocks at the rear and set about building 30 large new family homes along a new private road which he named Woodcote Close. Today Woodcote Close is described as “one of the most highly sought after private residential roads in Epsom” with the houses now selling for over £1,000,000 each.
Henry & Ada Longley lived at Woodcote Hall for the rest of their lives despite their substantially reduced garden. After Henry Longley’s death in 1956, the house passed to his son Leslie and it was divided up into flats for letting. Later in 1965 Leslie developed Woodcote Hall’s derelict old stables and replaced them with a large modern block of flats which he named Ardingly Court after his childhood school in Sussex.
Leslie Longley decided to retire in 1969 and Longley & Broadhead was amalgamated with another local firm called Osenton & Lamden and the Epsom office became ‘Longley, Lamden & Co’ for several years until being rebranded as Osenton & Lamden. Leslie did hang on to most of his old business premises, including 93-95 High Street Epsom, and the former Thames Ditton and Leatherhead premises are still part of L B Longley Investments Limited portfolio.
Henry & Ada Longley with their children Leslie (L.B. Longley) and Kathleen in 1914
Sadly Leslie Longley suddenly passed away in 1973 aged just 63. Following his death, the family decided to sell Woodcote Hall but neighbouring Ardingly Court is still part of L B Longley Investments Limited’s residential portfolio.
At the bottom of this page you’ll find a fascinating photographic collection taken throughout the 100 years that 93-95 High Street was owned by the Longley family. It’s worth noting that each photo shows the very same building, the only change being the addition of a 2nd floor mansard in the 1930s. Ownership of the building eventually passed to Leslie Longley’s grandsons, Rupert and James Hakim, and in 2003 they agreed to sell to the neighbouring Ashley shopping centre.
Today, L B Longley Investments Limited is still owned and run by members of the Longley family with the day-to-day business handled by Leslie Longley’s grandsons, James and Rupert Hakim, with Leslie’s son Nicolas Longley as Chairman.
Check out the Epsom & Ewell History Explorer website for much more information on the family’s connection with Epsom and also Woodcote Hall. Click on the links below: