I am trying to trace the family of Walter Ridpath (born: 1848 within the City Of London, UK). Walter spent much of his life as a resident at Normansfield Asylum, Teddington, Middlesex, UK. I have found Walter on the UK 1881 and 1891 Censuses - he is termed an 'imbecile since birth'.Normansfield was run during the mid/late 19th century by John Langdon Down who first identified 'Down's syndrome'.
In 1881 Walter is boarding with the Turner family at Gleadthorpe, Hornsey Rise, London, Middlesex. The son of the head of the household, Frederick Turner, is a medical student. John Langdon Down was a progressive thinker and It is possible that Walter Ridpath was placed with the Turner family as part of some kind of rehabilatation project. However by 1901 Walter is living back at Normansfield.
I believe that Walter may have been the son of George Ridpath and Anne (maiden name unknown) born on 12 Nov 1848 at Botolph Lane within the parish of St. George, City Of London, UK. My souce is the IGI so I am not certain of this.
I am personally interested in Walter Ridpath as I work for a charity that supports people with Down's syndrome. We are shortly moving into offices located at the old asylum at Normansfield where John Langdon Down practised. We were lucky enough to find some letters that Walter wrote whilst at Normansfield. We do not believe that Walter had Down's syndrome. Walter's letters would indicate that he may have been autistic.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.