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Hartford Hall Grey Lady


Malcolm
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Hello All,

Back in the mid 1980's I had the a nasty back injury and was scheduled to go to Hartford Hall as an outpatient for physio therapy.

 

Suddenly a residential spot became available so I was there full time, except for weekends, for several weeks.

It was a facility for injured miners and police as well as the NHS and had a small mine to help the miners recover and get back to work. I never saw it myself but believe it was a small drift mine on the grounds.

Anyway,  miners and police being characters, there was the almost compulsory story of the Grey Lady who would moan and groan in the 3rd floor domed room and haunt the corridors and in particular the first floor west wing rooms at night.  There were the usual pranks with sheets and things so I thought it was just a big joke until one Thursday night I was woken up by someone shaking my shoulder, but when I opened my eyes no one was there.  I waited over an hour before I could go back to sleep and there was definitely no one there and all the others in the room were fast asleep.

Every week there was sort of a party for the residence/patients and on my last day one of the outpatient miners told me he was surprised I had lasted in "that bed".  He had been in it but when the Grey Lady had woken him up by shaking his shoulder so he would not go back and went outpatient, which is why I had been suddenly given the bed.

He described exactly what had happened to me.  But I had told no one out fear I was being wound up by the other patients and when I told him it had also happened to me he was very sincere in his reaction and told me of the Grey Lady who had thrown herself out of the 3rd floor domed room window to her death. 

Before I left I went up to the third floor domed room, strangely the entire third floor was vacant.  In the room, despite the radiators being too hot to touch, there was an icy feel to the room.

I have often wondered about the Grey Lady but never found out anything about her.

 

If anyone could give me some information on her I would be grateful

 

Thanks

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@Malcolm - The Grey Lady does get a couple of mentions within this group but I can't remember ever seeing any comment that referenced any documents on that lady. 

The name is mentioned,  in a topic by @johndawsonjune1955 - The Ploughman And The Flowers - by @John White (back in 2013) but no stories or references added.

In 2012 Keith Lockey started a topic - Hartford Hall History - and @mercuryg mentions The Grey lady but again no references to any documents of stories

There is a couple of photos showing 'The Physio Lady' :- 

Hartford Hall 1982 named.jpg

Hartford Hall rehab 1982 names.jpg

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 I was in Hartford Hall in 1972 but wasn't a pitman.

Joyce Miller, a physio, was married to a German at one time and was called Muller but changed her name but not sure if it was by deed poll.

Jimmy Luke was there and head physio.

Mrs Mack (Jill?) from Gosforth, I believe, was also there as a physio.

Ollie lived in the gate house and now lives in Newbiggin, so I understand. He was an ex military training instructor and was like a greyhound in training. A very, very fit physio.

There was a dark haired lass who lived in the garage/shop on Shields Road so not far away. Also a physio. I used to go to the shop on a bike when I was shop laddie in advanced legs to seek the bacon sarnies, etc., for the morning break. It was exercise also for the 2 cartilages, one from each knee at the same time I had removed by Mr. Dineto in Ashington hospital and spent 11 days on ward 4 which was Thelma Keelysides ward. I was like a penguin when I first went in.

 I remember the first morning at the Hall. I was dropped off by my father and hobbled into the main doors. A lot were using sticks and as they entered Jimmy Luke took them away. They were like fish out of water.  I couldn't help laughing.  

 There was a groundsman who played a lot of squash or badminton for the county or perhaps at a higher level. I remember seeing him at the Stn coop later last year. He was living in Bower Grange at the time. The name that comes to mind is Dom but I may be wrong. He had a thick black tash.

 There were stories of the grey lady when I was a resident for 8 weeks with weekend breaks at home. I don't believe in ghosts and never had any 'moments' while in bed or at any other time. Some residents did believe the stories. Some went day release after the compulsory 1 week stay for assessment. 

 Hartford Hall was a wonderful place to get fit and the crack was great. With 6.25hrs exercise a day and use of any of the equipment if fit enough to use it with physio's to make sure it was used correctly. The communal hot bath at the end of the day eased the aches and pains. I left fitter than I had ever been in my life. It's a shame it isn't there now for recovering people. Much better than 3 x 1hr exercise sessions at a hospital each week. 

 There was a pit strike at the time I was in so there were quite a few pitmen in with bett knees. They didn't want to leave because they would have very little or no money coming in but got injury(?) money because they were on the sick while there. Each week consultants would call to check their patients to see if they were fit enough to leave. I saw many wet towels slapping the bett knees to swell them up before seeing the relevant consultants in the hope they would get another week there. One day Ollie said everyone in advance legs is going for a run around the hall. On the home stretch Ollie said last person to finish buys me a pint. All that could, put on a spurt to the finish line which was being watched by the consultants from a window who made a list of all that were fit. There was a big clear out the next day!

Happy days.

 

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@Jammy - but was the Grey Lady 👤 a physio?

I never spent any time there I just remember Paddy (Bob Patterson from Tomlea Avenue) telling me that when he was a temporary resident getting physio they used to scale the perimeter wall on a Friday evening and catch the bus to the Red Lion for a couple of pints.🙂

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@Jammy - but was the Grey Lady 👤 a physio?

 A good question that I cannot answer. I don't think any of the female physio's were old enough unless they could change their appearance for daytime use!

 Residents could leave the hall every evening after tea but had to be back by 9.30. Our choice for brown hydration was Guide Post club on a thursday evening. It was easy to get to using the United bus outside the hall to the doors of the club for opening time at 6.00 with the reverse journey reaching the hall at 9.25 for lights out at 10 if I remember correctly. Everyone went home on a friday after tea.

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14 hours ago, Jammy said:

 Residents could leave the hall every evening after tea but had to be back by 9.30. Our choice for brown hydration was Guide Post club on a thursday evening. It was easy to get to using the United bus outside the hall to the doors of the club for opening time at 6.00 with the reverse journey reaching the hall at 9.25 for lights out at 10 if I remember correctly. Everyone went home on a friday after tea.

Don't think any of us ever knew when Paddy was telling the truth or just pulling our legs😂

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On 13/04/2021 at 21:05, Jammy said:

There was a groundsman who played a lot of squash or badminton for the county or perhaps at a higher level. I remember seeing him at the Stn coop later last year. He was living in Bower Grange at the time. The name that comes to mind is Dom but I may be wrong. He had a thick black tash.

That is my Dad! He is called Ray Chaytor and was gardener/ head gardener there for over 50 years. Badminton was his game, he and my brother Paul were great players in their day. 

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@Malcolm - I posted on the Bygone Bedlington Facebook group asking if anyone had heard the story  :- 

847341001_TGLquestion.png.aeb805f17fa312e5f460ef4e73844e1d.png

Added a compilation of photos of Hartford Hall :- 

Project4.thumb.jpg.bb23d57a795a328b5aca8abdaa466e7c.jpg

Some of the replies :-

 

During my childhood it was often spoke about around camp fires etc. She was allegedly spotted floating above the river and would then disappear up into the grounds of the hall. Also sightings of her in the corridors of the old hall.
Apparently she is waiting for her partner to return but he was lost at sea. That’s the story I heard when I was younger.
We used to camp in the barns. Mind we probably scared the grey lady off
I grew up there, was always told it was the daughter of the house who threw herself out of the window underneath the dome as was not allowed to be with one of the workers. Stable boy was usually mentioned but it varied. We never saw her, but there were some who were so frightened they discharged themselves from the care rather than stay in overnight!
Yes I remember rumours about the top window and the grey lady falling from it. I got married there in 1992 and stood at that window and suddenly thought I bet all the motorists think it’s the ghost if they looked up. Great memories x
Couldn't wait to get out of there my bedroom had fire escape nearby and when the lads came back late tap tap I was only 17 so was a bit jealous.
Tracey Temple! You told me you'd seen The Grey Lady sitting on the back of your Paul's motorbike when he was going up the drive one night You little fibber 🤣
                        
                       Tracey Temple
                                          maybe the trauma of it all has eroded my memory!!
  • During my childhood it was often spoke about around camp fires etc. She was allegedly spotted floating above the river and would then disappear up into the grounds of the hall. Also sightings of her in the corridors of the old hall.
  • Apparently she is waiting for her partner to return but he was lost at sea. That’s the story I heard when I was younger.
    My Dad (Joe) had a couple of stays for physiotherapy there and I remember him mentioning the Grey Lady but don’t recall the full story.
    My dad slept in the haunted bedroom he says she never woke him up
Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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On 12/04/2021 at 19:14, Malcolm said:

If anyone could give me some information on her I would be grateful

 

Anther comment on the Bygone Bedlington group :-

 

My Mam worked as a domestic at the hall. While I was studying A level art she got permission for me to sit in one of the top rooms to draw the view. Whilst looking out at the amazing view from up there I got a birds eye view of patients having a sly cigarette or taking short cuts when they should have been walking full circuits around the hall 😆 after a while some grown men started sqealing and pointing to something. I didn't know what all the fuss was about until these said men burst through the door and into the room that I was in. They thought that I was a ghost and I was asked to leave early for causing distress to the patients 🤣🤣🤣 still makes me laugh now.
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@Malcolm - as expected no links to any documentation on The Grey Lady - just stories past down through the generations.

You could look for the lady yourself - buy a flat in the hall or a house on the estate :-

 1723943764_HartfordHallestate.thumb.png.4fa12d9083268238e979ce305c9eb0aa.pngOne last comment from someone living there now :-

 

We’ve lived there since the conversion 18 yrs ago. (In the servants wing) Builders working on it said they had experiences of things happening. I have occasionally felt like a human sized draft passing me but never been scared. May just be my imagination 🤷🏼‍♀️
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