Part Four:
Main Corridor

Stepping out of the chapel, you find yourself in the dead centre of what I've calculated to be the longest above-ground, fully-enclosed, straight corridor in the whole of Berkshire (and possibly further afield). We've never actually taken the time to measure it, but the Ordnance Survey map indicates that it must be approaching 300 metres long - as near as makes no difference to the length of the ocean liner QEII. Standing at one end, a combination of distance and perspective makes it almost impossible to make out the opposite end. We have good reason then for referring to this feature as The Grand Corridor. Indeed, if you had to pick one reason to save the CRCMH from demolition, then this is it. A truly remarkable sight. But accolades over with, here we can gaze along its length looking north from near the chapel.

Taking a stroll upwards for perhaps a hundred metres (but not right to the end because we'll be heading up there later), the northern doors become visible through the darkness. Believe it or not, the corridor actually continues past these doors. You can also see a random assortment of wires dangling from the ceiling. Even the experienced explorer will walk straight into one of these from time to time - especially in the dark, when it's likely to make you startled and hop about flinging your arms in the air as you try to disperse a load of ficticious bats.

Something else you might bump into if you're not careful is a strange wheely contraption such as this. Actually, this one is fairly famous. It appeared in Mist Raiders as "part of Sven and Cornis's His & Hers bicycle set - retailing at only £23.99 from Argos." It also featured in the two CRCMH photos present on the Maidenhead Millennium Photography Project CD ROM in May 2000 - resting peacefully next to the sentry box near the entry gates.

Whilst making our way south again, wandering down the seemingly endless corridor, you get all sorts of interesting views from the many windows on either side. Here we can see the side of a ward through a west window. Actually, the building on the right looks uncannily like the chapel, unless it's a trick of light.

Many of these windows have been pushed in by foliage, giving the whole corridor the appearance of a leafy conservatory. A great example of man-made and nature in peaceful co-existence - as the latter reclaims its stolen territory. We still can't really see the southern exit yet.

The long walk continues past one of many doors which open up onto the green space between the wards. Well, they would open up if time hadn't well and truly jammed most of them shut. Note the old heating pipes exposed on the ceiling which run the entire length of the corridor. The original ceiling panels had been long since removed - perhaps because they were made from asbestos. Quite ironic really when you think that a hospital - which exists solely to make people better - would be constructed with something designed to harm people. The human race is how intelligent exactly?

Just before we head outside, let's take a turn off into one of the wards. This one is maybe Ward 1 or 2 - right at the southern end. At the start of each ward, you'll find a narrow passage with doorways leading to an array of ward duty desks, administrative offices and private rooms (such as that occupied by General Patton in the film). At the end of these passages, the room opens up.

Then you'll find yourself standing in a large empty ward - but hopefully not looking like a Cockney chimney-sweep like Ezekial here. There's not much of interest left inside these anymore. No furniture - just big vacant rooms which ideal for that all-night function. At the very western end of each ward, you'll discover some double-doors which open up onto a small conservatory like day-room - where the patients could go and get a bit of sun and gaze into the forest. Some of these actually have a further set of doors which enabled the staff and patients to take a wander outside.

So that's pretty much it for these western wards. There are 15 of them in total and they take up a lot of ground space on the site (and so they should - because more space means more patients, and more patients means more money - not that it made any difference at the end of the day). Now, I know you're dying to get out into the open air at the bottom of The Grand Corridor - but first, we're going to take a detour off through the passages on the left (East) and head through the area famous for The Flincher incident and into the Maternity section.

[return to the shrine]

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