Forthcoming talks & tours










Talk on the history of Normansfield at Hampton Wick Library

7.30pm Thursday 20 September

Details and booking.

Open House London 2018

Sunday 23 September 2018 | Open 12.00pm to 5pm. Last entry 4.30pm.

We are open to join this London-wide annual event.

You are welcome to look around on your own or join a talk or tour:

  • Talks at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
  • Tours at 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Max 15 people at one time. Tickets on first come basis.

Free talks and tours. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

Historic European Theatres Day & Normansfield Theatre

7pm to 8.30pm Thursday 25 October 2018

A talk about Normansfield Theatre and the European Route of Historic Theatres and Perspectiv – the Association of Historic Theatres in Europe.

The talk will be followed by a tour around the theatre including a viewing of the historic scenery collection.

Using our interactive touch screen you can view the catalogue of 150 items of scenery in storage that include beautiful backcloths, side flats, top borders and props. The visit will also show a short film about a recent project to re-photograph the scenery collection.

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

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The Landscape of Normansfield

11.00am – 12.30pm Saturday 20 October 2018

A 1½ hour 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 talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.






The Staff of Normansfield

11.00am – 12.00pm Saturday 3 November 2018

This talk is based on research from a U3A Shared Learning Project conducted in 2017/2018. The project looked at the lives of the staff who worked at Normansfield between 1868 and 1997. Staff duties at Normansfield were wide-ranging according and included governesses, medical and care staff, farm workers, maintenance staff and teachers.

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

Hampton Wick: Brick by Brick

The Origins and Growth of a Thameside Village

2pm Saturday 3 November 2018

Local historian Ray Elmitt traces the history of Hampton Wick from its origins in the Domesday Book until the present day. He will illustrate how the original village green together with the farms and market gardens gradually made way for the present housing and reveal the surprise identity of the oldest surviving building in Hampton Wick – built between 1526 and 1529. Finally he will demonstrate the public website he has created which records the history of all the 650 current houses together with their residents and their occupations. Ray’s books and research about Hampton Wick can be found here:

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.

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.


James Henry Pullen

The Genius of Earlswood Asylum

11.00am – 12.00pm Saturday 16 March 2019

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.

Free talk. Booking not required. Donations welcome.