Normansfield Hospital

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Normansfield Hospital (2005)
Normansfield Theatre exterior

Normansfield Hospital was a facility for patients with an intellectual disability situated in Teddington, Middlesex, England.


The Normansfield Hospital was founded in 1868 by John Langdon Down,[1] after whom Down syndrome was named. When he died in 1896, his sons, Reginald and Percival, succeeded him.[1] The hospital closed in 1997 and the building now houses the Langdon Down Museum and the headquarters of the Down's Syndrome Association.[2]

The hospital was the scene of a 1976 strike by the nursing staff in the Trades Union COHSE.[3] The nurses were angry that the regional health authority had ignored their grievances against consultant psychiatrist Terence Lawlor and demanded that he be suspended. His suspension led to a public inquiry chaired by Michael Sherrard.[4] It was one of many official inquiries into National Health Service (NHS) mental hospitals during that period.[5] Dr Lawlor's professional style emerged as intolerant, abusive and tyrannical. COHSE was roundly criticized for a strike over which its officials had broken union rules, misled their membership and then blamed the nurses. An NHS administrator was found to be fearful of Dr Lawlor. The only body to emerge with any credit was the local Community Health Council, later abolished. The inquiry recommended that Lawlor should be sacked and never allowed to work in the National Health Service again. The same judgement applied to several senior nurses and administrators.

The Down's Syndrome Association operates the Langdon Down Centre in the former hospital's theatre wing, which includes the:

  • Normansfield Theatre, a Grade II* listed Victorian Theatre
  • Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability – the museum's exhibits include John Langdon Down and his family, the history of the care of people with learning disabilities, and the history of the Normansfield Hospital and its residents. The museum also features art, including many works by James Henry Pullen, and artefacts of the former Royal Earlswood Museum in Surrey about the former Royal Earlswood Hospital.[6][7] The museum opened in 2012, and is a member of The London Museums of Health & Medicine group.[8][9]
  • The national office of the Down's Syndrome Association and Down Syndrome International.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Normansfield Hospital". Lost Hospitals of London. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hospitals". Derelict London. 
  3. ^ "Dark Corners of the NHS No 23: Normansfield Hospital". NHS Managers Network. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "The normansfield inquiry". Br Med J. 2: 1560–3. PMC 1608780Freely accessible. PMID 20792765. 
  5. ^ "Official Inquiry Reports into National Health Service Mental Hospitals". The Production and Reproduction of Scandals in Chronic Sector Hospitals 1981 by Amy Munson- Barkshire. Socialist Health Association. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Hospital memories get new home". Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability at Langdon Down Centre". Visit Richmond. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Museum opens door to hospital's past Normansfield was once a progressive hospital, now it's the first museum of learning disability. Terry Philpot takes a tour". The Guardian. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Medical Museums". Retrieved 26 August 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Normansfield Hospital at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°25′12.83″N 0°18′45.22″W / 51.4202306°N 0.3125611°W / 51.4202306; -0.3125611