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Museum of Learning Disability
Spectacular museum of learning disability.
This new museum opened in 2011 can be found in the former home of Dr John Langdon Down. You can find out more about the story of the groundbreaking Normansfield site here dating back to 1868. It includes historic artefacts from the Royal Earlswood Asylum and items made by James Henry Pullen.
The beautifully restored Victorian Grade II listed theatre can be viewed and events can be seen here.
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities for example household tasks, socialising or managing money which affects someone for their whole life. People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.
Dr John Langdon Down brought a revolutionary and enlightened approach to the care of those with all forms of learning disabilities. Although his name is most associated with the condition he recognised and was later called Down's Syndrome, the majority of residents here had a much wider range of learning disabilities.
James Henry Pullen, known in his day as the Genius of Earlswood and described as an Idiot Savant, was born in Dalston, London 1835.
He was given training in the carpenter's shop and soon became an expert craftsman, and later a special workroom and exhibition room were set aside for him.
Over the 60 years spent at Earlswood he completed many fine models, paintings and drawings, and was also a fine carver in ivory. King Edward VII took great interest in him and sent him tusks of ivory to work with and Sir Edward Landseer visited him and sent him engravings of his work to copy. All was his own un-aided work, every part made by himself - indeed he was jealous of assistance and liked his own way.