Discover the museum and theatre
Explore the history of Normansfield and the social history of learning disability.
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.
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.
Displays show the history of the Langdon Down family and Normansfield. A timeline shows major developments from 1868 to the present.
THEATRE / MEZZANINE LEVEL
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
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 created for fete days at the Royal Earlswood Asylum near Redhill
BELOW STAGE ROOMS
Theatre side rooms
Stage lights from the theatre made in the 1930s by The Strand Electric and Engineering Company. Replaced in 2018 with new lighting that is environmentally friendly and efficient. The lights are displayed in a theatre side room.
Theatre dressing Rooms
Kayte Brimacombe 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.
Sarah Gordy in “After Vermeer” by Richard Bailey: Since 2003 Richard Bailey has been curating and photographing for an ongoing body of work called Shifting Perspectives, concerned with creating positive imagery of people with Down’s syndrome.
Photography series inspired by the paintings of Johannes Vermeer.
LOWER GROUND FLOOR
Displays about the Normansfield staff and lists of those who worked here
Corridor of photography and paintings
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.
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.
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.