Talks and Tours 2017 / 2018

Our talks and tours explore the history and work of Dr John Langdon Down and his home at Normansfield where he brought an enlightened and revolutionary approach to the care of people with learning disabilities.

All talks take place at the Langdon Down Museum unless otherwise stated.

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Open House London

Sunday 17 September | 12 – 4pm

Come and look around on your own or join a guided tour at 12.30, 1.30 or 2.30pm.

We are open to join this London-wide annual event with guided tours of the building. Cost: Free. Booking not required.

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The Landscape of Normansfield

Saturday 21 October | 11am – 12.00pm

A talk and walk around the grounds to see the landscape of Normansfield including the wide variety of trees, many planted when Dr John Langdon Down came first came here in 1868. He planted extensively to create a rich landscape at his new institution for those with learning disabilities. His view being that the outside environment of trees, shrubs, paths and seating was essential in offering residents the benefit of healthy walks and fresh air. The site includes long avenues of trees planted in the Victorian period. Free. Booking not required.

Normansfield Theatre

Saturday 18 November | 11am – 12.30pm

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. Light refreshments. Cost: £10. Booking required: Call: 0333 1212 300 or email: Lesley Alabaf. lesley.alabaf@downs-syndrome.org.uk

The History of Normansfield’s Buildings

Date to be confirmed for 2018

A talk about the development of the buildings at Normansfield from 1868 until 2016 using maps, architectural drawings and photographs.

Normansfield was the home and institution developed by the famous Victorian physician Dr John Langdon Down and his family where a revolutionary and enlightened approach was developed for the care, education and training of people with learning disabilities.

When he arrived in 1868 he bought the White House and over the coming years extended the building. The theatre John and Mary Langdon Down created has been restored and is still in use today with a large Victorian scenery collection.

On the 42 acre site, they set up a farm and workshops with a boat house on the Thames. In 1951 Normansfield became an NHS hospital with new residential buildings including a school, arts centre and hydrotherapy pool. Since its closure in 1997 much of the site has been converted to housing and part of the original building is now home to the Down’s Syndrome Association.

The talk includes new research carried out through a recent U3A project.

Cost: Free. Booking not required.

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In the Footsteps of Dr John Langdon Down

A Walk Around Normansfield

Date to be confirmed for 2018

A talk using maps, architectural drawings and photographs to trace the development of the site. This is followed by a walk around the original Normansfield site locating the position of lost buildings and finding those that remain. The one hour walk is mostly along pavements but will also include some rough paths and grassed areas. The total distance is about one mile.

Light refreshments. Cost: £10. Booking required: Call: 0333 1212 300 or email: Lesley Alabaf. lesley.alabaf@downs-syndrome.org.uk

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James Henry Pullen

The Genius of Earlswood Asylum

Date to be confirmed for 2018

A talk about the life of James Henry Pullen, (1835-1916), a resident of the Royal Earlswood Asylum near Redhill. In his lifetime he was said to have the condition of savant syndrome though today he may have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition. Pullen created model ships including Brunel’s Great Eastern and the warship, Princess Alexandra. Also on display are his pictorial autobiography, imaginary ships, paintings and models along with a short film about his life. Cost: Free. Booking not required.

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Dr John Langdon Down and Normansfield

Date to be confirmed for 2018

A talk about the life and work of Dr John Langdon Down and his institution at Normansfield which brought a revolutionary and enlightened approach to the care of those with learning disabilities. Includes the history of Normansfield from 1868 until its closure as an NHS hospital in 1997. Cost: Free. Booking not required.

  

Great Names in the Social History of Learning Disability

Date to be confirmed for 2018

A talk about some of the great names in the social history of learning disability, from the early 19th Century to the present day. Those who brought improvements to the education, training, care and rights of those with learning disabilities. Cost: Free. Booking not required.

  

Creating the Langdon Down Museum

Date to be confirmed for 2018

This talk explains how we developed the Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability.

In six years we have developed the archive, obtained artifacts, joined museum organisations, created new displays and successfully obtained grants. We have completed three U3A research projects and will start a fourth this year.

The museum now receives about 40 group visits a year and promotes it’s work through social media. Our team of four dedicated volunteers work on projects and greet visitors on open days.

Cost: Free. Booking not required.