In case you’ve missed it, we are in the midst of the Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week, according to Down’s Syndrome Association. The BBC News brings us the amazing story of John Langdon Haydon Langdon-Down:
The man after whom Down’s Syndrome is named did not want to be called Down at all.
Born in 1828, John Langdon Haydon Down wanted to change his name officially to Langdon-Down and settled eventually for John Langdon Haydon Langdon-Down.
His own grandson, born in 1905 nine years after his death, had Down’s Syndrome.
Dr Langdon-Down pioneered education and training of the mentally handicapped in his own Normansfield Hospital in Teddington, Middlesex, from 1868.
He and his wife Mary, known as “Little Mother”, ran a community surrounded by a farm and wooded grounds, where the patients learned trades, and imprisonment and teasing were forbidden.
The crowning glory was the theatre, opened in 1879, with the finest workmanship in scenery and lighting.
From the 1860s, Dr Langdon-Down published works classifying conditions by their mental and physical characteristics.
In line with popular theories of the time, he classed these types in racial terms, most of them long forgotten – but the term “Mongolism” was common until it was officially replaced by “Down’s Syndrome” in the 1960s.
Conversion of the disused Normansfield Hospital to a hotel is planned. The magnificent theatre remains, though much restoration work has been necessary on its sumptuous scenery.
The BBC article has also short stories about the lives of Alois Alzheimer, James Parkinson and Thomas Hodgkin. It is an easy Friday read.
Thank you for spending your time on our website this week. Please have a safe and relaxing weekend! With this ‘The Good Old Days’ feature we sign off… until Monday.