Timeline

1828
John Langdon Down born at Torpoint in Cornwall
JLD lives over his father’s shop as a boy.
His father is a ‘chemist, druggist and draper

1830s

Conifers, later part of Normansfield, is known as Broomfield cottage

1835
James Henry Pullen born. He is later a patient of John at Earlswood

1842-46
John works in his father’s shop

1846
John has a meeting with a ‘feebleminded’ girl which plants the seed of his interest in learning disability
John begins his medical training at the Pharmaceutical Society

1848
The Royal Earlswood Asylum founded

1853
John continues his training at the London Hospital

1854
John is given London University’s gold medal for physiology

1856
John passes examinations for membership at the Royal College of Surgeons and Licence of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries

1858
John graduates MB (Bachelor of Medicine)
John appointed to Earlswood as Medical Superintendent

1860
John marries Mary Crellin 10 October in Mare Street Chapel, Hackney

1862
Everleigh born

1863
Lilian born

1865
Lilian dies, probably of a brain virus

1866
Reginald born

1868
John and Mary leave Earlswood
They buy the White House and open the Normansfield Training Institution for Imbeciles
Percival born
John establishes a private practice in Welbeck Street, London

Residents in 1869: 19

1871
Purchase of more land, and villas facing Kingston Road

1872-3
North and South wings built

1877
Farm buildings built

1879
Formal opening of the Entertainment Hall by the Earl of Devon

Residents in 1879: 137

1882
Eastcote (later known as Trematon) was purchased as well as 4 villas and the freehold of Normansfield

1883
Laundry built
Everleigh dies in an accident involving his brother Reginald

1884
John appointed JP Middlesex


Boathouse built

1887
On some of the mental affections of childhood and youth published by John (the Lettsomian lectures at the Medical Society of London

1889
Dr Langdon Down appointed Alderman of Middlesex

Residents in 1889: 195

1891
Genesta Amateur Dramatic Club formed

1892
Clock Tower wing and conservatory finished
Reginald and Percival qualify as doctors in 1892 and 1893

1894
Normansfield mortgages paid off
Mary Langdon Down becomes a legal partner

1895
Dr Reginald and Dr Percival are included in the Commissioners’ licence for Normansfield

1896
John dies

1897
Jubilee Celebrations

1899
10 residents die in a flu epidemic

Residents in 1899: 18

1900
Mary dies

1905
John, son of Reginald, born with Down’s syndrome

1909
Reginald exhibits handprints of people with Down’s syndrome

Residents in 1900: 168

Residents in 1909: 145

1910
Normansfield covers 40 acres of land between Kingston Road, Holmesdale Road, Broom Road and Normansfield Avenue. A piece of land went down to
the River Thames from Broom Road
Normansfield hosts a garden party for the Women’s Suffrage Movement

1913
Mental Deficiency Act Categorises people with learning disabilities

1917
Reginald’s wife dies Percival’s wife takes over the day-to-day management

1920s
Percival’s medically qualified daughter Molly and his son Norman play parts at Normansfield

1922
Reginald remarried

1925
Percival Langdon Down dies

1931
Reginald buys a house in Broom Road

1939
When war is declared, some residents are on holiday at Selsey Bill and have to come straight back

1944
V1 rocket damages Conifers. Several incendiary bombs fall on the estate and damage buildings

1946
Dr Norman Langdon Down, son of Percival, joins Dr Reginald as Deputy Medical Superintendent

1951
Normansfield becomes an NHS hospital
Dr Reginald retires and Dr Norman becomes Medical Superintendent

1952
Lady Stella Brain, daughter of Reginald, appointed to the Management Committee

1955
Reginald dies and Norman becomes Physician Superintendent

1957
League of Friends of Normansfield formed

1959
Chromosomal cause of Down’s syndrome discovered

1961
Stella Brain School opens, provided by the League of Friends

1965
WHO formalised use of the term Down’s syndrome, first proposed in 1961

1965-67
League of Friends provides voluntary helpers, shop and holiday home at Selsey

1970
Norman retires
Consultant Psychiatrist appointed
Langdon Down family’s involvement ends


Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) founded

1976
NHS nurses’ strike leads to the suspension of consultant psychiatrist

1978
The Committee of Inquiry report published in November

1981
New complex opened with activity centre and 4 new residential units

1983
GLC organises seminar of theatre experts, leading to the inauguration of a Theatre Project Committee by the Friends

1986
Avenue Centre built to provide life skills and activities for students

1994
Public enquiry into future planning proposals rule that any development must allow for the future of the Grade II* Theatre

1996
Remainder of the main building listed

1997
Normansfield Hospital closes
Earlswood Hospital closes

1999
Laing Homes acquire 32 acre site for housing, to be called Langdon Park, and agree to conserve the theatre as part of the deal
Norman dies

2003-5
Laing Homes restores and reopens the theatre wing and the old scenery is conserved by the Textile Conservation Centre

2004
DSA moves from Tooting to Normansfield
Langdon Down Centre Trust moves in, with DSA as tenant

2007
First professional performance in the theatre before a paying audience in 100 years

2011
Earlswood Museum donates collection, including Pullen artefacts
Building work begins to develop housing in part of main building

2012
Langdon Down Museum opens
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for Pullen exhibition

2014
Historic England lists Normansfield boathouse, now privately owned, as Grade II*

2015
HLF grant for project: Normansfield – Protecting a Theatrical Past.
Scenery collection photographed