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South London Hospital For Women & Children


I have posted this account a number of years ago but I can't find it and I'd like to share it with you.

The occurrence was about 30 years ago when, as a student, I worked as a security guard in London. Although I've had quite a few strange experiences this was by far the most interesting.

It was summer on a sunny Saturday morning. By this time I'd been promoted to area inspector so I had a number of teams to look after across London. Over the radio I'd been speaking with a friend and colleague; it seemed a good idea to meet up for a coffee and one of my sites due a visit was The South London Women's Hospital in Tooting. We agreed to meet up there. This hospital had been closed for a number of years, had suffered squatters resulting in a team of three stationed security guards and a visiting dog unit to assist in covering what was quite a large area.

Like most hospitals, there was the original smaller building, added to by large corridors and added structures.

I'll describe the layout as it is relevant and saves further explanation.

Through the large, wooden double entrance doors there was a further set of double doors taking you into the short hallway with a reception room on the left. To the right were doors to some wards, more or less straight on led to the back and new parts of the building with access to the gardens.

Left was a corridor, entrance door to the reception room, huge lift and two day rooms or waiting rooms, one at the end of the corridor. To the right were windows into an over grown quadrangle. The area was light and spacious. At the end of the corridor there were two glazed double doors leading to an oak staircase that only reached a first floor. This staircase is a noted design feature and of historical interest.

It accesses a short section comprising a very short corridor with a dead end of fire exit doors. On both sides there were two small rooms, well lit, and they were probably private rooms. They were empty.

'S' and I met at the front with our small vans squeezed in to the small drop off point. Bounding in to the place we stuck our heads in to the reception room where the guards were and volunteered to do a patrol for them if they put the kettle on. All was well, on went said kettle.

As we were about the start the patrol we both saw a lady walk out of the far room on the left nearest the double doors towards that fine staircase. We launched in to a run. Both us calling out: "Excuse me madam. You are not permitted here." (I know, how polite we were...). We repeated this whilst saying to each other that we had an intruder.

The figure kept walking away from us and through the double glass doors which we got to and through as the figure was now up the staircase and I got a side/front profile for a moment. The figure disappeared, vanished.

We were at the top of the staircase. I said to 'S' I'd stand point as the staircase top was the only exit point and he was much taller than I was! He returned within a few minutes saying there was no one there. I asked him to stand point and I'd look. Nothing. So we shrugged our shoulders and went through the rooms together, checking the security of the windows and noting the fire door, locked and further secured by padlock and chain.

Our conclusion was that we had seen an intruder but they were no longer on the premises. I personally wrote up a description in the duty log book as we supped on our coffee.

It was only some years later that on reflection, I realized, knew for certain that I, we, had seen a ghost. This is where critics and psychologists get it completely wrong: our minds made the event look completely normal. The fact that the figure vanished before our eyes was washed away by an assumption that the figure had kept going up the stairs and we had lost sight - impossible in fact.

So the detail: the figure was female, dressed in blue. She was holding a file or clipboard or similar to her left arm against her body. We heard her footsteps on the wooden floor. I believe she opened/pushed one of the double doors to go through it but I can't be certain of that. Indeed my mind, rationalizing as our minds do, saw it as so because a person can't walk though a shut door. I clearly recall not being able to make out the facial features at all and I should have been able to do this. There was no other exit and we had it covered. A ghost? Yes of course. A nurse.

The hospital is now a Tesco store. I believe they were unable to save many fine architectural features as English Heritage refused to list them. Of personal interest, I have met quite a few people who only later realized they had a ghostly encounter; some incidents are more obvious than others I suppose.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, tinonline, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

SLHworker (1 posts)
1 year ago (2022-10-22)
Interested to read this account as I worked at South London Hospital Path Lab from 1965 - 1973. A very spooky place. Some mornings, when we unlocked the lab, we would find the heavy chests of drawers pulled out and moved around the lab. Sometimes you would be quietly working and feel you were not alone. I would just get up and go into another room. Once a heavy bottle of sulphuric acid leapt into the air in front of me and crashed onto the bench. We all felt the building had a presence.
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-16)
Tony - Please consider submitting your experiences separately. I for one would love to read them and I'm sure many others would as well.

Regards, Melda
tonyrotherham1968 (1 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-15)
Hi everyone, I was there in 1990. The client let us keep our dogs there. He was happy having about 5 extra dogs on the premises and it was ideally located for wimbledon. We had to look after centre and number on court. It was also free accomadation! A massive bonus. However my room overlooked the old morgue. You would hear constant banging and the sound of footsteps. The worst was letting the dogs out. Into the basement You would go through the old outpatients dept which was just like time had stood still in 1940. Past Pathology and out of the back door into the grounds. Here was the old nurses quarters, a dark foreboading building you had to walk past. I couldn't get back inside quick enough. It was a horrible place. You would constantly hear doors banging and the sound of feet running on the upper floors. We just ignored them. I swear I heard screams and laughter in that place. I was only young. Pete and sammy were the official two on duty but there were about 6 of us in total. I also worked the London hospital in whitechapel. They had an old one storie swimming pool. A big fish would spout water into the pool at one end. Swimming alone bare arse naked in the pitch black your mind would be doing overtime. Locking up the museum where the elephant man statue is kept was a whole different ballgame. Heads staring at you preserved cadavers etc etc. I saw a suicide still alive come in on two stretchers. Of the two the London was the creepiest. Deeepest darkest whitechapel at 3am is a wicked place to be. Mark winpedder was the area manager for the company called securiguard. I also worrked the old BBC Lime Grove another building with its resident ghosts. Happy days lol Would love to hear back from anyone.
Unexplained (2 stories) (122 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-08)
An excellent recollection of the details. Thanks for sharing. Some people have experiences that rational explanations just can't wholly explain and where purely rational thinking can only take you partway to solving something, or else it'll take you to a complete dead end where all you end up doing is kidding yourself. The advantage you have is that your friend also saw the apparition (does 'S' believe that it was an apparition like you or does he still believe it was a living person who was able to walk through doors?).

My experience with 'an apparition' followed through with the usual application of rational thinking because, in almost all cases, I have been able to apply such to explain something. I've only had one, maybe two, cases where due to my grounding I end up trying to fit a rational picture of a situation that does not completely convince me and which can only lead me into thinking that it was possibly something else I experienced. Dare I say 'paranormal'. 😕
Argette (guest)
7 years ago (2017-07-07)
Fascinating account, Tinonline. I'd love to hear more from you, as I like your style.

A residual event sounds likely.
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-03)
tinonline - I wonder whether this could have been a residual event?

Perhaps not but I get the impression that the lady was totally unaware of you, which causes me to think that it just might have been residual.

Regards, Melda
lady-glow (16 stories) (3154 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-02)
tinonline: welcome to YGS.

I really enjoyed reading your experience and think that you were very lucky witnessing a paranormal event without realizing it at the moment.

Thanks for sharing this fascinating experience.

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