Next Museum & Theatre Open Days

10am-5pm on Saturdays:

9 February, 16 March, 13 April, 18 May




Research project: The Staff who worked at Normansfield, 1868 – 1997

Research conducted by members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) from September 2017 to April 2018.

This project researched a series of life stories of staff who worked at Normansfield. Staff duties were very wide-ranging and included chaplains, governesses, medical/care staff, farm workers, maintenance staff and teachers.

Employment at Normansfield or do you have the attributes to be employed at Normansfield?

The Laundry and Linen

Frances Mary Palling, Governess

Early Chaplains at Normansfield

Staff and the First World War

William Henry Briggs: Engineer, Furnace Stoker and Stationary Engineer

Normansfield Theatre and the staff

Memories of Normansfield, Summer 1977




Research Project: Daily Life as seen in the bills and receipts of the 19th and 20th centuries

Research currently being conducted by members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) from September 2018 to early 2019.

The museum archive has a large collection of bills and receipts for Normansfield that cover a period from the late 19th to early 20th century.

Part of the collection is on permanent loan from local historian Ken Howe whose article can be read here:

From these bills and receipts a picture of daily life will be formed as they contain everything needed to run a large long stay institution.

The exhibition James Henry Pullen: Inmate – Inventor – Genius at the Watts Gallery which has recently ended explored the life and imagination of James Henry Pullen (1835 – 1916), examining the creative escapism of an outsider artist who during his own lifetime attracted royal attention. Dubbed by Victorian journalists as ‘the genius of Earlswood Asylum’ Pullen saw his fantastical works escape the confines of the asylums, where he was incarcerated continuously for nearly 70 years, to travel to international exhibitions.

Bringing together newly restored works – and drawing on new research – this exhibition shone a light on Pullen’s life and work to offer a new perspective on an artist of wit and inventiveness who has been largely forgotten. It examined the broader context in which Pullen was working – the world of nineteenth-century science, technology and psychiatry.

See reviews: The Guardian  The Victorian Web The Spectator

A photograph from the recent exhibition about Normansfield’s history from 1868 to the present day organised by the Friends of Hampton Wick Library.

Hampton Wick Library

Bennet Close, Hampton Wick, KT1 4AT

Next events

Holocaust Memorial Day Event

 Aktion T4: A documentary film

Sunday 27 January 2019 | Museum open 2pm – 4pm

Film showing at 2.30pm

The Aktion T4 Nazi Euthanasia programme was responsible for the murder of approximately 275,000 people with learning disabilities.

In this 30 minute documentary film, Berge Kanikanian who has Down’s syndrome, travels to Poland and Germany to visit the sites of euthanasia centres and speaks to researchers and historians.

Please note this film is not suitable for anyone under 16 years of age.

This event is free. Booking not required.

Talk: Normansfield Theatre

11.00am – 12.00pm Saturday 9 February 2019

A talk on the history of Normansfield’s Grade II* listed Victorian theatre that opened in 1879 and is a venue today for drama, concerts and opera. Your visit includes a walk around the theatre and back rooms. On view will be part of the scenery store of restored original Victorian side flats. Using our interactive touch screen catalogue you can view the 150 items of scenery stored in the building that include beautiful backcloths, side flats, top borders and props.

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

    Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection

Good animals, bad humans?

2pm Saturday 9 February 2019

In their quest to prove the interconnectedness of species, Victorian students of evolution viewed people with learning disabilities as proof of a human–animal continuum. Surprisingly, these ideas persist in some branches of moral philosophy today.

How did the minds of humans and other animals evolve from nothingness to consciousness? After Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1859, scientists turned to the animal kingdom in their quest for answers. Somewhere in the evolutionary journey between the simplest single-cell organism and the higher primates, conscious thought must have emerged. But precisely at what point, and how did it come into being?

Speaker: Dr Simon Jarrett is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Birkbeck University of London. He writes about the history of intellectual disability, human capacity and intelligence.

This talk is free. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

See Talks and Tours


Social Media
Facebook Twitter