What To See

Discover the museum and theatre

Explore the history of Normansfield and the social history of learning disability.


Main hall

Copy of Family John Langdon Down 7-Mary-Langdon-Down

In the main hall is a portrait of Dr John Langdon Down by Sydney Hodges and a Langdon Down family tree. A display shows the development of the site through historical maps. The main hall has original coloured floor tiles.

Front room


The front room displays 19th and 20th century photographs of Normansfield, including the main buildings, staff and river. Watch a film on Normansfield’s history which lasts approximately 23 minutes.

Main corridor


Displays show the history of the Langdon Down family and Normansfield. A timeline shows major developments from 1868 to the present.


Normansfield Theatre


Normansfield has a Victorian theatre with original fixtures and fittings. This includes decorative panels, shields, ironwork and painted panels of plants and birds. Botanical panels attributed to the famous 19th century painter Marianne North can be seen to the front of the stage.


Visitors may walk onto the stage but are asked to be careful especially on the steep steps. At the back of the theatre are displays on the Genesta amateur dramatics group and restoration work. To the back of the theatre is a balcony and on the ceiling a 19th century Sunburner to assist with ventilation.



With this touchscreen you can view the digital catalogue of our collection of restored Victorian Scenery. Its also includes photographs of the fixtures and fittings along with the 19th century Genesta amateur dramatics group programmes. Create a scene from the virtual theatre

Theatre Room

Scenery makers model; photographs of 19th/20th century plays; photographs of theatre fixtures and fittings.


Artwork project by the Artists in Residence: The Birds of Normansfield Theatre. Outreach Learners with Learning Difficulties or Disabilities (LLDD) Art class at Normansfield Theatre

Pullen’s Giant

DSC00372 The Giant

Pullen’s Giant created for fete days at the Royal Earlswood Asylum near Redhill


Theatre side rooms and dressing rooms

Stage lights. From the theatre and made in the 1930s by The Strand Electric and Engineering Company. Replaced in 2018 with new lighting that is environmentally friendly and efficient.


Art Exhibition. Richmond and Kingston United Response art group. Puppets, textiles, portraits and masks. Until Christmas 2019. United Response provide activities for people with learning disabilities such as fitness, games, cooking, trips and arts and crafts. See: Richmond and Kingston United Response

Kayte Brimacombe photography exhibition One in Ten. As many as one in ten people with Down’s syndrome have the additional diagnosis of autism. Here are Kayte Brimacombe’s photographs of ten children and adults with the dual diagnosis.



20-Male-staff 21-Nursing-staff

Displays about the Normansfield staff and lists of those who worked here

Corridor of photography and paintings

DSA 365 Richard Bailey DSC00053

Photography relating to Down’s syndrome: the Shifting Perspectives project, WorkFit, Richard Bailey’s 365 photograph of children. Historical Down’s Syndrome Association adverts with images by David Bailey and Patrick Lichfield.

Paintings by people with Down’s syndrome and Earlswood residents by Arthur Easton.

Photography of the Langdon Down family and Normansfield.

Ship paintings by students with learning disabilities inspired by Pullen’s models.

Main room

Originally called the Kindersaal or children’s room


James Henry Pullen was a resident at Earlswood Asylum with a condition called savant syndrome. On show are his model ships and designs. His larger ships include models of the Great Eastern, Princess Alexandra, and Rotary sail barge/Dredger. Many of Pullen’s smaller models, objects and paintings and are on show.

The-State-Barge-(Fantasy-Boat)  The-Dream-Boat-or-Small-Fantasy-Boat

Objects from the Royal Earlswood Asylum including a Painting, Bell, Epidiascope

Display case of Normansfield and Earlswood objects


Inspired by Pullen art students with learning disabilities have a made a Giant and Ship of their own.

The tin ceiling is finished with plates that have a pattern pressed into them.

Displays tell the story of the social history of learning disability from ancient times to the present. On the large wall we project a film or slide show.

Life stories room


Life stories of Normansfield residents in the 19th and 20th century.

Glastonbury Chair