1868 – 1873


The main building in 2015 showing the original White House and conservatory


Purchase of the White House and start of operations. Building empty and unfinished.

After spending 13 years as Medical Superintendent at the Royal Earlswood Asylum, Langdon Down wanted to open his own establishment bought the White House as a family home and place where people with learning disabilities could be cared for and educated. This was at a time when most would have been confined to an asylum.

“In May 1868 Langdon-Down purchased a potato field between Hampton Wick and Teddington with an unfinished building called the White House. By the end of the year the house was completed,  renamed and ready for the reception of 19 patients.” Quote from John Earl’s paper “Dr Langdon-Down and the Normansfield Theatre.


37 patients and 26 servants most of whom probably attended to the residents but others looked after the family.

1872 -73

The villas facing Kingston Road were purchased as well as additional land including a plot of land running down to the River Thames on the far side of the lower road, where the boat house was later constructed.


Construction of north and south wings