'A fright in the night at the local hospital'
With patients, relatives and friends visiting and leaving the hospital daily and with the entire busy doctors and nurses rushing around, Hereford's County hospital is the last place where you would expect to find a ghost story. Unknown to many a selection of buildings once occupied the site of the County hospital including a prison named John Nash's Gaol and a workhouse. The workhouse was situated in Union Walk and was originally called Hereford Union Workhouse, however this name was later changed to the Public Assistance Institute and in 1935 the P.I.A had approximately 200 inmates, a vast majority of these inmates were old and were very poor.
On the site wards were also open to children, pregnant women and the sick, tramps and temporary residents used the casual wards. The inmates who were fairly fit would work in the gardens; in the grounds an isolation block and piggery were present. A map of the city which was drawn up in the 1930's show's that the city’s slaughter houses was within the grounds where the County hospital stands, these were most likely stood where the front main car park of the hospital is. A new hospital block with more up to date services was built in 1937 midwifery, chronic sick, advanced tuberculosis and venereal disease could now be dealt with in a more sufficient way with appropriate and necessary equipment on hand.
The P.I.A was also upgraded and queen Mary paid a special visit to Hereford on the 29th July 1937 to lay the foundation stone of the hospital, the hospital was then known as the County hospital which was of a fairly large size and could accommodate more patients outside in the 10 wooden hutted wards, the huts were of a reasonably size each measuring 144ft by 24ft, they were built to only last 10 years but they were still being used in the late 1990's and in 1940 the number of inmates dropped down to 100, most of these were transferred to institutes in Leominster, Weobley and Ross - on - Wye. The casual ward was the last to close down in 1941 and the staff of the institute moved on to other posts or simply retrained, sadly the master Mr. Thomas who showed dedication to his job decided to commit suicide, this was a great loss to the hospital.
Part of the hospital was recently knocked down and demolished and a new building was built on the site, sadly during construction a tragic accident happened, four workmen were instantly killed, the workers fell off the scaffolding. The building where the men were killed is the Lugg Ward and it is believed by many that these men are haunting that particular area of the hospital, as so many paranormal events occur at this part of the hospital.
The prison had many alterations in 1880, it was enlarged and the boundary of the prison ran alongside the Union Workhouse ( P.I.A), the prison was closed down in 1929 and was later demolished in 1930, and advert was placed in the Hereford Times and locals were given the opportunity to see the prison before demolition, the only surviving parts of the Gaol today is the main building situated in the bus station car park which is now a travel agent and the upstairs is flats, the bus station toilet block which is over the road of the carpark is a another remaining building that is left, these buildings were the Governor's and Deputy governor's houses. Ghosts of the prison have been heard at the County hospital by frightened staff who have heard muffled voices, the staff has also felt uneasy walking through parts of the old hospital where the Dore and Kenwater's Wards are based, these wards at night have an eerie feel and many staffr effuse to go alone.
Other spooky happenings have happened when the hospital staff have been on their night shifts, whilst during their break staff on occasions are offered a bed so they could sleep for a while, however many have been unable to sleep as blankets and sheets have been suddenly pulled off them and the feeling of someone sitting on the mattress as also been reported. One unfortunate nurse woke up in the night to find that her arm was suspended in mid air by something that she was unable to see and the feeling of something watching you is another phenomenon that occurs regularly at the hospital. So always keep an eye open whilst being in this hospital as you may not be alone at nightime.