The History of Newsham Park Hospital
Newsham Park hospital is a grand Victorian masterpiece looming silently on the edge of Newsham Park in Liverpool. The beautiful building has witnessed some ugly times. It is no wonder many ghosts remain.
It began life in 1874 as an orphanage for the children of sea faring parents. The building was designed by established Liverpool based architect, Alfred Warehouse. Funding was provided by some of the biggest ship owners of the time with the purpose of providing an education and home for children from a very young age. The building was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Victoria herself visited in 1886, entitling the building 'The Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphanage'. Upon opening, one hundred and twenty five boys and fifty seven girls were passed for admission. This number rose dramatically over the years.
After the distress of losing parents, life didn't get much better for the poor children. Once in the care of the strict matrons, life became crueller still. Children were separated from their siblings and only allowed contact for a few hours on a Saturday. They were fed soup daily and once a week had to eat 'slink', a concoction of the weekly left overs thrown together in a pot. One lady described her time as a child at the orphanage as 'Oliver Twist style'. Punishments were extreme. On the attic corridor are a row of fourteen 'naughty cupboards'. Children were placed in these in complete darkness in solitary confinement. You can only begin to imagine how alone, scared and distressed these children would have been.
As the Second World War approached, children were evacuated from Liverpool to the city outskirts. Times were changing and new laws were passed, including one that stated children under the age of eleven were not be be educated alongside older children. After careful deliberation, the orphanage was shut down. The building re opened its doors as Park Hospital in 1954.
Many lives will have been lost in the building over the years, however, evidence of which is hard to come by. The only documented death I have come across is that of a 19 year old domestic servant, Florence Hansford. She was found in one of the lakes in the park on January 1st, 1897. Does her ghost wander the grounds today?
The building sits on a three and a half acre site, which also includes a school house, a gymnasium, a nurses home and a chapel. The main building itself is vast and pans over five floors. There is a large assembly hall, dormitories, psychiatric wards, treatment rooms, staircases with anti-suicide grids and a chilling mortuary. Wheelchairs, broken beds and rusting trollies lay scattered around. This really is a building of horror films!