From 1895 to 1920 Langley Park continued to expand with around thirty new streets built during the period.

Between 1901 and 1905 an estate known locally as the Kop was built west of Railway Street, consisting of Lambton, Darcy and Dale Streets.

The Kop may have been a reference to a Boer War battle - the Spion Kop of 1900, or perhaps to German designed coke ovens called Koppers erected in 1915 at the nearby coke works to the rear of the estate.

In 1908 Logan and George Streets were built through the gardens of the earlier Railway and Durham Streets and by 1909 other streets with names like Ash, Oak and Elm Street were built east of Front Street in a development called New Town.

A Variety Theatre was built on the western edge of New Town in 1911 and this became the Hippodrome Cinema in 1920.

After 40 years of films in the village it closed in 1960 and became a bingo hall for a time, but it is now in a rather dilapidated condition. After World War Two, the rival King's Cinema had opened in Front Street but in 1953, a fire closed this cinema down and it served as a dance hall and wrestling venue before it too became a bingo hall.

Now the headquarters for the coaches of Bob Smith Travel, this former cinema is Langley Park's most prominent building.

Buses and coaches are an important aspect of Langley Park's history and a garage now used by Maddrell's coaches just up from the old cinema was once home to Langley Park's Gypsy Queen service. Willy Benton, a Langley Park off-licence owner, started this business in the village around 1920.

For years he had delivered goods to villagers with his horse and cart, until the army confiscated the horse during World War One.

In its place Benton bought a car and then in 1920 he purchased a charabanc or open-topped bus with a retractable canvas hood.

Benton called his fledgling bus service Gypsy Queen, after a horse that unexpectedly won him £3,000 in the Irish Sweepstakes after the race leader and favourite fell at the final fence. Benton acquired newer buses as time passed and the business grew.

It was eventually bought by Go-Ahead Northern in 1989. In the First World War, seventy-three Langley Park servicemen lost their lives and are commemorated on the War Memorial at the junction of Front Street and Quebec Street.

The Second War claimed the lives of a further 27 men from the village and their names were added to the memorial. However, Langley Park's most intriguing memorial to the war lies further west along Quebec Street in the graveyard of All Saints church.

In May 1942 an elderly Langley Park couple called Mr and Mrs Bolton received sad news from the army notifying them of the death of their son, Private William (Billy) Bolton.

His body was returned with full honours and on May 21 his funeral was held, attended by many Langley Park residents. Imagine the shock two weeks later, when Mrs Bolton heard a motorcycle pull up outside her door and Billy walked in.

The body of the mystery soldier buried in the graveyard has never been identified but in 1978 the grave was adopted by the Fellowship of the Services. They provided a new headstone dedicated with the inscription "A soldier of the 1939-45 war, Known Unto God".

It is reputedly the only Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in England apart from the one at Westminster Abbey.

Housing developments continued in Langley Park after the war when temporary prefabricated houses opened in Kingsway. They gave way to permanent old peoples' homes in the 1970s in a decade that also saw the building of Hilltop View estate on the slopes climbing towards Hill Top village. Since 1998 the estate has been the subject of a regeneration project and many houses are currently empty.

Langley Park fell on hard times following the closure of its colliery in 1975 but the site on the north side of the Browney is now Langley Park Industrial Estate. South of the river, the coke works closed back in 1961 and is now the Riverside Industrial Estate.

Industrial estates brought new jobs to the village with one of the most unusual businesses being the Diggerland theme park that opened on the Riverside Estate in 2001. Here children can operate diggers and other construction vehicles under supervision.

Tourism is not an obvious industry for a former mining village, but the Browney valley and neighbouring Ushaw College are potential attractions of a kind. Langley Park's appealing terraces often attract TV and film crews and featured in TV shows like the Fast Show and Ripping Yarns.

A TV drama about a football team starring Dennis Waterman and Tim Healy, entitled The World Cup a Captain's Tale, was filmed in Railway Street and the Langley Park Hotel.

A Langley Park boy played the captain's son. The village's name has even featured in the name of a successful late 1980s album "From Langley Park to Memphis" recorded by a local band called Prefab Sprout.

Returning to football, Langley Park has close links with the football manager, Sir Bobby Robson.

Though born in Sacriston in 1933, Robson's family moved to Langley Park when he was still a baby and he spent his formative years in the village playing football with Langley Park Juniors before signing for Fulham in 1950 at the beginning of a long and eventful career.

As a boy, Robson was taught the bugle by a member of the colliery band and on a day of remembrance at the age of seven young Robson was honoured to play The Last Post at the grave of Langley Park's Unknown Soldier.

There are it seems many aspects to Langley Park's history and it is certainly a place with lots of character and a great deal of community spirit.

* If you have memories of Durham you would like to share with The Northern Echo, write to David Simpson, Durham Memories, The Northern Echo, Priestgate, Darlington, DL1 1NF. E-mail or telephone (01325) 505098.