Revised Edition 2010
Dr Landon Down’s Normansfield Thatre. 2010 ISBN 978-0-903341-83-7
This publication is a very substantial updating of the paper we originally published in 1997 about Dr John Langdon Down and the private theatre he created at Normansfield in Teddington.
With the future of the theatre secured and in the safe hands of the Langdon Down Centre Trust, now merged with the Down’s Syndrome Association, John Earl brings the story of the theatre up to date with revisions to the original text and an additional chapter. There are many more illustrations – over 60 in total and most in colour – with many views of the unique collection of scenery backdrops and flats.
The paper covers the career of Dr John Langdon Down, his pioneering work in the care of people with learning disabilities, his identification of the condition now known, after him, as Down’s Syndrome, and the building of the Normansfield hospital in 1868. Central to his programme of training and care was the use of theatre and performance both to entertain the patients and to enable them to take part. Thus the theatre or ‘entertainment hall’ was added in 1879. It has remained virtually unaltered since and is recognised as one of the most important private theatres in Britain.