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Normansfield Hospital, Richmond upon Thames

Description: Normansfield Hospital

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 25 May 1983
English Heritage Building ID: 205539

OS Grid Reference: TQ1725970177
OS Grid Coordinates: 517259, 170177
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4185, -0.3151

Location: Normansfield Avenue, Richmond, Greater London TW11 9JQ

Locality: Richmond upon Thames
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: TW11 9JQ

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Listing Text

TQ 17 SE

Hospital (formerly listed as 'The Entertainment Hall (private theatre)')



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 win 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 remains. 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.

Listing NGR: TQ1725970177

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.