Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Radcliffe Infirmary in the 1950`s

AN APPEAL for spooky hospital stories has unearthed a host of unearthly tales.

Last week the Oxford Mail asked for your ghost stories from the old Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford’s first hospital.

Former workers Jacquie Pearce-Gervis and Susan Sugden contacted us on the hunt for spooky recollections of the imposing 17th century building in Woodstock Road so they can be chronicled.

The appeal jogged the memory of former Infirmary night nurse Sheila Farrell, 76, who worked in the Kilner plastic surgery ward, which was at one time the Children’s Ward.

Mrs Farrell, who lives in Bampton, said: “We had an alarm system which would sound and flash red if someone needed help.

“We’d turn the sound off at night so as not to disturb other patients.

“This night I must’ve fallen asleep. But I was woken by the feeling of someone stroking my face very lightly, like a child. The alarm light was glowing red.

“When I went to the patient I told him what had happened. He said to me ‘oh that’ll be the children. I often see them in here playing. They come and see if we’re all right.’.”

The Radcliffe Infirmary, or RI as it was known, first opened in 1770 as the city’s first hospital.

Radcliffe Infirmary in the 1830`s
It closed in 2007, with most services moving to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington and the site is currently being redeveloped by Oxford University.

Susan Allmond, from Wallingford, was born at the RI in 1969.

But she recalls some unusual sightings from her return trips to the hospital as a child.

She said: “I remember seeing a woman in an old nurse’s uniform.

“I remember thinking she just didn’t look of this time or part of the same system as everyone else.

“She had a pure white hat on and a different coloured belt. There was also an old woman who I saw. She was incredibly old, but she had a lovely smile.

“There was something different about them. You could almost see through them, and then they’d be gone.”

The story of the ‘grey lady’ rings a bell with Jenny Holloway, from Botley. Mrs Holloway worked at the RI before services moved to the John Radcliffe site.

She said: “I had a friend who used to say she’d see a little grey lady about the hospital. A lot of people laughed but I didn’t. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it.”

Adrian Taylor, of Eynsham, also remembers seeing an unearthly feminine figure at the hospital.

He said: “I was woken up at 2.15am to a bright light shining through my window. It was almost like sunshine.

“Then I heard a loud bump.

“I looked outside and saw a woman in an old fashioned nurse’s outfit gliding across the quadrangle down below.

“It was very strange.”

Story: OxfordMail

Known Haunted History (courtesy of Paranormal Database)

`After several nights of experiencing something bump against his bed and feeling as if 'someone' was there, a patient mentioned it to nurses. They told him that the room was haunted by an old lady who would sit by the side of the bed as if giving her support. The heating would always be broken in the room - even after repairs, the system would break within the day`.

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