Tuesday, 14 January 2014

MEMORIES OF A HAUNTED HOSPITAL THAT DIED

ALL good things come to an end. Sadly it happened to Cameron Hospital on February 7, 1992 when the bulldozers moved in and removed the once-proud hospital from the Hartlepool
skyline forever. But for one entity, her links to Cameron went on in ghostly form. Chris Cordner reports.

WE have looked at the highs and lows of a Hartlepool hospital in the last few weeks.

In the last of our mini series, it seems only right to pay homage to one character who was there for all of its 80-plus years.

Known only as Maud, she was a ghostly presence who roamed the wards, even after the last of the hospital patients had long gone.

John Davison was one guard who certainly had reason to remember Maud.

In March 1991, he heard someone moving around in an upper corridor and the sound of eerie laughter.

Later, he was told he had been the only person in the hospital at the time.

Further investigation indicated that it was Maud – a young nurse who had died when complications set in after she was struck on the nose by a hysterical patient in 1907.

And when John asked around, senior midwives told him they used to be accustomed to Maud roaming around areas of the hospital.



In fact, Maud’s presence become more common in the last weeks of the hospital.

For decades, Maud’s presence remained a secret among Cameron staff for fear they would be ridiculed if they spoke out.

But when they did pluck up the courage, many admitted they had feelings of trouble brewing when they were doing their work – and it was usually followed by something going wrong.

One nursing sister told the Mail in 1991: “Once when I was on night duty, I was feeding a baby in the nursery when I became aware my nurse was in the doorway, but when I looked up no-one was there.

“A short while later, she came and asked me what I wanted. She said she thought I had been standing behind her and just walked off without speaking.”

One nurse said: “I saw her wringing her hands.”

And if that wasn’t haunting enough, the final moments of Cameron’s demise held another twist for Maud.

Maud had a plaque erected in her memory but in the last week of the hospital being opened, the plaque was removed.

At the same time, a large chunk of plaster fell in the anaesthetic department.

Whether it was Maud’s final protestations, perhaps we shall never know.

But Cameron’s own death throes came in February 1992 when demolition work began. By then, experts estimated that the hospital had helped to bring 20,000 babies into the world.

Its eventual demolition paved the way for a housing estate but the memories live on.



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