U3A Members from across South West and South East London have taken part in five shared Shared Learning Projects (a sixth is now underway) – with the Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability at Teddington.
The fifth project, completed in Spring 2019, was partly inspired by a collection of invoices and bills on loan to the museum from a local historian, Ken Howe. His acquisition supplemented the vast array of documents held at the London Metropolitan Archives and allowed a thought provoking and sometimes entertaining insight into the running of a private hospital.
The remaining Grade 2* listed building is on part of the former Normansfield Hospital site. It houses not only the Museum and the restored Normansfield Theatre but also the offices of Down’s Syndrome Association.
We are a friendly and welcoming Shared Learning Group. Each has their unique approach to research and is happy to share findings and technical skills and take on research challenges in a fun and determined way. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot would be proud of our tenacity!
However when researching into the lives of people, be it resident or staff, we ensure our findings or photo evidence are presented in a respectful manner.
One of our newer members said, ‘These Shared Learning Projects (SLPs) are a wonderful opportunity to visit local archives and libraries to discover information about a subject I know little about and to share this acquired knowledge with others’.
The first SLP in 2013 explored ‘Normansfield – The Early Years 1868 to 1913’ followed by (2014) Long Stay Institutions for People with Learning Disabilities, (2016) The History of Normansfield’s Buildings, and the 4th project (2017) The Staff who worked at Normansfield 1868 – 1997.
The Sixth SLP ‘Normansfield and the Written Word: Correspondence and Newspapers’ commenced in September 2019 with a final presentation planned for early 2020.
*Image with thanks to Langdon Down Museum