Posted 15th November 2017
Watts Contemporary Gallery
A group of Friends and Patrons were recently given a private tour of the fascinating Langdon Down Museum and its Victorian theatre, Normansfield, in Teddington.
Formerly the home of Dr John Langdon Down, who with his wife Mary brought a revolutionary and enlightened approach to the care of those with learning disabilities, Normansfield opened in 1868 and closed as an NHS hospital in 1997. Dr Langdon Down is most associated with the condition he recognised, which was later called Down's Syndrome.
Museum exhibits included life stories about former residents, contemporary photographs and paintings by people with learning disabilities. The most extraordinary of these works were the models of Brunel's ship Great Eastern and a huge Giant made by James Henry Pullen, a savant known as the 'Genius of Earlswood Asylum' – who is to be the focus of a Watts Gallery - Artists' Village exhibition next year.
The beautiful, Grade II listed theatre opened in 1879 as an entertainment hall with seats for 300 people and is a rare example of a private Victorian theatre still in use. It is home to the largest collection of restored Victorian scenery in the UK.
For further information about forthcoming Friends and Patrons events, click here.