MR "X" INTERVIEW - Part One
How did you come to read my account of "The Flincher"?
X: I found your website purely by chance. It's very interesting.
To be honest, I felt shivers before I read about your beast.
I'm calmer tonight, but reading the Flincher essay last night brought
back so much in one go! The CRCMH is truly a spooky place - even before
it became derelict. I
guess you may want to use some of my rather long tale on your website.
I think that would be okay - if you keep me anonymous.
Okay. Then welcome to the official unofficial CRCMH website,
X: Oh, I just realised, you don't know who I am or how I came
to be there.
If I knew who you were, you wouldn't be anonymous. But I would
like to know how you came to be there.
X: I was a patient there as a child. I am now in my late thirties.
I am sure there are many people, ex-staff and patients who never found
the place remotely scary. But as far as my memory serves me, almost
all of my fellow - youngish - inmates found it terrifying.
Not during the day of course. And when I say inmates, I mean other
All in padded cells?
X: And no - not mentally ill, haha.
what were you doing in the CRCMH in the first place? - If you don't
mind my asking.
X: I first went to the CRCMH aged 9 because I have arthritis.
Got it at about 8 &1/2. I had a fairly long stay at about 12/13 years
old. The stays consisited of doing physio and having some schooling,
usually going home at weekends.
I was 20, I went back for a short stay after having a knee op at Wexham
Park. I was the last male patient on Ward 3 (male arthritis /orthopaedic).
That was Feb/March '84. I believe they closed it very shortly afterwards.
I should say that, during the summer, it was quite nice there - not
very hospital like.
It closed in 1985, so I expect you would have been amongst the
last to have been turfed out. And yes it is gorgeous in the
summer - even more so as a ruin I'm sure. Call me an old romantic
poet at heart but it's true. So they had a school there?
X: The school building was opposite the ends of wards 2 and 3.
Oh right! Yes, in my days there was a little school-terrapin like
hut there, right at the edge of the forest. I thought it was a strange
place for a medical building.
X: Ward 2 was the rheumatology ward for kids - thats the one with
the paintings on the wall. I never ever went to the maternity ward
- ward 1 - but strangely, while on holiday in Turkey in June 98, I
met a girl in a bar who was born in there - probably while I was 60
yards away! Ward 4 was female rheumatology, 5 was.... I think where
they had a test lab. I think 10 was a heart ward. 9 was kept for conferences
and some tech stuff I think. Went and watched videos there sometimes.
Many people I know in Maidenhead were born at the CRCMH, so that
was often the first thing that I associated the place with (before
discovering it for myself that is) - It's first and foremost the birthplace
of everyone in Maidenhead. However, whilst doing a bit of basic research,
the most striking thing was that the vast majority of references to
the hospital mention rheumatology. What do you know about that?
X: As I understand it - quick history here - the Astors gave part
of the grounds, and the Canadian Red Cross built the hospital for
WWII soldiers to recover...
It was WWI, but still very much in use during WWII and beyond.
Mr X: Well, after the war, a rheumatology unit was set up -
there was a lot of rheumatic fever. They sorted that problem, then
went on to build the world's leading rheumatology team - using
wards 2, 3, 4 and the resources of most of the building.
Ah! - now that explains a lot. Looks like I'm not quite the expert
I thought I was!
Mr X: Well, there is one area I bet you never thought
X: The bit I guessed you might have missed was the part above
Au contraire! Wouldn't have missed it for the world.
X: I think there was a telephone exchange above it. And I know
they stored stuff there like Christmas decorations.
It's the only bit of the hospital with stairs - if you don't count
the separate staff quarters type-building. And I'm not altogether
unsure if we didn't actually encounter decorations too. There was
certainly a lot of attic junk up there. Nursing journals and stuff.
"No smoking on the set" had been scrawled into the wall
of the stairwell - a relic from Hollywood. And while I'm on the subject,
there's a fair amount of archaic-looking gothic German graffiti around
the place now. Dramatic movie background text like "Warning -
Explosives!". Obviously, we know that "The Last Days of
Patton" was shot there, but although there's a lot of German
scenes early on in the film, not a single piece of CRCMH scenery with
German writing appears at all. Perhaps it either didn't make the final
cut, or it was from a different film altogether that we still don't
know about. It's a long shot, but just to clear it up, you wouldn't
happen to know anything about any of this would you?
X: I am sure there was no German writing anywhere. When
we left physio in the summer - what you call the swimming pool room
- we'd go through the doors between wards 9 and 10 and walk back down
the grass next to the woods, taking our time - I would have noticed.