the Southern staircase to the top, you'll find yourself in a single
corridor - not too long - with windows on one side and doors on the
other. At the far end you can see the stairwell which will take you
down to the opposite side of the foyer from that which you came up.
Not a lot up here really is there?
the most significant thing about this upstairs section is that it
allows you to get a birds-eye view of some of the surroundings through
the windows. That makes this a good vantage point for learning the
geography of the hospital.
these windows (many of which still open) you can look south onto the
inner courtyard - the open space you glimpsed before from the reception.
we're looking across to what is actually Ward 7 - don't let
the number 5 deceive you - it was clearly added for a film (most probably
"Patton" but we have no real proof to confirm it) alongside
a lot of other German gothic-type writing throughout the CRCMH. It's
hard to imagine the courtyard being anything but an overgrown mess
- but we'll be heading down there for a closer look in a moment.
we're going to take a little wander into one of these doors you can
see on the right. There's several small rooms up here. It's basically
just attic space. Lot's of junk and paper. Rumour has it that the
telephone exchange used to be up here, which might be true though
we've never seen any evidence of that. What we do know is that
stuff was stored up here. Lots of stuff. Primarily, we've discovered
medical journals, but there's some sign that even the hospital's Christmas
decorations were kept up here.
can now enter the most interesting example of the rooms on the Eastern
side. Perched directly above the main entrance, you can quite literally
watch the world go by (seriously - you can glimpse the occasional
truck passing on the Cliveden Road behind the wall). You can also
check that there's no-one else about on the site - the ultimate lookout
post in the entire building - though naturally the most obvious one
too. So you have to ensure that your only two exits are covered (if
you feel you have good reason for being wary of unexpected arrivals
vividly recall that we played a practical joke on a bunch of girls
from up here once. All I'm sure of is that a couple of us were stationed
up here with a walkie-talkie (oh, for those pre-mobile phone days)
and others were positioned elsewhere. We had arranged for the girls
to arrive later with yet another group and, whilst I don't remember
precisely what it was that we did (though I've no doubt knowing us
that it was something elaborate), I do remember watching them running
in terror all the way back to the wall from this vantage point. So
whatever we did, it must have worked - and we came clean about it
immediately of course.
honestly don't remember the whole thing properly (one of the few occasions
that my memory has let me down) - so thankfully, one of the "victims"
has provided an account of the incident here.
See - it's not all misery and horror here at the CRCMH - it does have
its lighthearted fun moments too.
we shall leave the top floor now and make our way back downstairs.
these stairs at the Northern end, you'll notice some graffiti on the
wall - "No Smoking on the Set" - which is a remnant from
the shooting of "The Last Days Of Patton" here in late 1985.
at the bottom, we can head West and emerge into that little corridor
again (which heads to the X-Ray Dept and The Flincher's Lair
to the south, and to the canteen and kitchen area to the north). What
we're going to do though is head straight through those doors that
open up onto the inner courtyard.