Kingston Road, Normansfield Hospital
Road: Kingston Road
Property: Normansfield Hospital
Listed grade II* in 1983.
Known for its association with Dr John Haydon Langdon-Down (who gave his name to Down's Syndrome) Normansfield was a private home for the care and treatment of children with learning disabilities. Opened in 1868 it was managed by the Langdon-Down family for over a century until 1970. It became an NHS hospital in 1951, closed down in 1997 and sold in 2000. After previous plans fell through for conversion to an hotel, the main hospital building has recently been converted and extended to provide 89 flats/houses. The property includes an elaborately decorated theatre which dates from 1879 – constructed by Dr Langdon-Down to help provide therapy for the patients; it was neglected for decades but was refurbished in 2003 under a 'Section 106' planning agreement as part of the Laing Homes development of the main site, and handed over to the Langdon Down Centre Trust; it is a working theatre with drama, opera and other productions and the centre includes the Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability.
The extensive listing description is as follows:
'Former private sanatorium for children with learning disabilities. 1866, with additions of 1872, 1877 and 1891. A private theatre, designed by Rowland Plumbe, was added to the north wing 1877-9. Pale yellow stock brick, with stone dressings. Brick quoins and rustication. Slated roofs with tall brick chimney stacks. Central 1866 section of 4 stories in French Second Empire style has 2 sets of paired sashes under moulded stone heads on each floor from ground to 2nd which is surmounted by a bracketed cornice. Domed fishscale slate roof with round-arched dormers and scroll-pattern cast iron balustrade. Between the ground floor sashes, a bas-relief plaque depicting Langdon Down; corresponding at 1st floor, a coat-of-arms. Flanking this block are two 3-window 3-storey additions of 1872, the right-hand containing the stone-cased main entrance flanked by canted bay windows to the ground and 1st floor; ground floor windows with patterned glazing and part stained glass. Attached to this wing is a fine octagonal patterned iron and glass conservatory. Left hand addition in similar but less elaborate style. Flanking these additions are plainer wings of 1877, that at to the left having twisted cast iron lamp standards to an entrance. To the rear of the left wing is the Entertainment Hall with round-arched windows and diaper patterned slated roof. Attached to this are the former dairy buildings and coach yard. A small tower has a bracketed pyramidal roof and the taller one a similar roof with gabled dormer and elaborate wrought-iron weather vane. To the rear of the right wing a clock tower with pyramidal roof, dated 1891 on the foundation stone laid by Langdon Down. Behind this an elaborate cast-iron fire escape. Interior: entrance hall has patterned Minton-tiled floor, dog-leg, open-tread stair with patterned cast-iron balusters and wreathed handrail and patterned, coved cornice. To the left, the dining room has very fine decoration and an elaborate chimneypiece in the Aesthetic manner. The door has a matching coved overshelf and gilded panels of bay leaves; also a brass plate depicting apples. Below the Lincrusta ceiling with patterned cornice is a tine deep, gilded frieze depicting swags of fruit and flowers with birds; a further frieze of fruit etc., runs above the skirting board. The bay window has patterned stained glass and two panels depicting females in classical dress. To the right of the hall is the drawing room with gilded Lincrusta ceiling, elaborate gilded cornice and deep gilded floral frieze. Windows with patterned stained glass. Good Art Nouveau light fittings. Flanking the carved marble fireplace with gilded overmantel mirror are 2-leaf doors with stained glass overlights leading into the conservatory. Off the conservatory, a small room with elaborate Lyncrusta ceiling and deep floral frieze.
The Entertainment Hall: is a particularly fine and rare example of a surviving private theatre, the proscenium and stage reflecting, as a scaled down model, the regular theatres of the day. The proscenium is richly coloured and gilded; pairs of proscenium doors, approached by steps with ornamental wrought iron balustrades, to either side of the stage are an unusual feature. The doors have gilded and painted panels depicting flora and fauna. Above are fine figure paintings set in Gothic arched recesses. The stage is raked and most of the original equipment, scenery and accommodation remain. The scene grooves are an extremely rare survival and unique in London (possibly in Britain), in that they are in working order. The auditorium has a flat floor, fair-faced brick walls and tall, round-arched windows beneath which are elaborate cast-iron radiator grilles matching the balustrade to the deep raked balcony across the rear of the hall. The roof is of pine with open trusses and in the centre has an elaborate and complete gas sunburner.
History: In 1868 Dr John L H Langdon Down, having spent 10 years at the Royal Earlswood Asylum for children with learning disabilities and researched into the disease he called Mongolism (now known as Down's Syndrome), decided to open his own private home for the children of wealthy and aristocratic parents. He purchased a family house built 2 years earlier, standing in parkland and never occupied. He eventually extended it to house 115 patients in non-institutional style; they were trained and encouraged in a variety of activities, rather than simply being confined and treated. The hospital remained privately run by the Langdon Down family until 1948 when it was sold to the NHS. The hospital entertainment hall or theatre is listed in a higher grade because of its national and architectural importance as a theatre, the remainder of the hospital building is listed at a higher grade for its historic interest associated with Dr Langdon Down.'
The detailed Historic England entries can be found at:
Main hospital building:
© Historic England 1952. The National Heritage List for England entry contained in this material was obtained on 15/7/13. The most publicly available up to date National Heritage List Entries can be obtained from www.historicengland.org.uk
This page is part of the Directory of Buildings of Townscape Merit (BTMs) and Listed Buildings in Teddington assembled by the Planning and History Groups of The Teddington Society. Click on any photo for a higher resolution version.