A Haunting At Newsham Park Hospital with Richie Billing #EpicFantasy

A Haunting At Newsham Park Hospital

There’s a little-known place in Liverpool with a fierce reputation for paranormal activity. This abandoned building, huge in size and beautifully gothic in design, was built as an orphanage, funded by the rich merchants who lived in the grand homes around Newsham Park, at the edge of which the building stands.

It later became a psychiatric hospital and was then abandoned in that state.

Stories of ghosts and paranormal activity have emanated from the imposing building ever since. Below, we’ll take a look at some of those stories, as well as the history of the building and how it’s inspired stories, both mine and those of many other writers.

Ghost Sightings And Paranormal Activity At Newsham Park Hospital

Tattered beds sprawl in rooms frozen in time, their frames whispering echoes of a bygone era. Rusted wheelchairs and trolleys stand sentinel, frozen in the spectral dance of yesteryears. Names etched on empty lockers serve as solemn tributes to staff long departed.

In the morgue, the fridge doors yawn wide, unveiling the chilling embrace of vacant drawers.

The first known ghost story came from a lone nurse who claims to have seen multiple ghosts. In a cruel twist, she was later discovered lifeless atop the grand staircase of the main corridor.

Other patients of the hospital spoke of 'the children', and staff often reported patients conversing with unseen beings. Some wondered if it was merely delirium, whereas others suspected something more paranormal.

Perhaps the most haunted part of the building is on the top floor, leading to the attic. There you can find a row of cabinets that bear the ominous moniker of 'naughty cupboards.' Within their confines, poor children endured hours of solitude and punishment.

Legend has it that the lingering spirit of a young boy, imprisoned within one such cupboard, roams the halls. His spectral presence manifests in the gentle sway of doors, opening and closing in somber refrain.

There are also scores of stories from workmen who have found their tools disappearing, only to reappear in the most random of places. They also report whispers and shadowy specters flitting through the dusty corridors.

As for the source of all of this activity, paranormal historians point to the fact that some 16,000 orphans were suspected to have passed through here over the years. And that’s not to mention the lost souls of the mental asylum.

The History Of Newsham Park Hospital

Newsham Park Hospital was originally built as an orphanage for the orphaned children of seamen. It was funded by shipping merchants and philantropists who called Liverpool home.

Let’s take a look at its past.

The Orphanage

The orphanage was opened on 30th September 1874. When it first opened, the service covered children still living with their widowed mothers as well as those who had no parents. This allowed more children to get support.

In all, the orphanage supported around 1,000 children at any given time. As time wore on, funds began to dry up until in 1949 the orphanage was closed. It was sold to the Ministry of Health with the funds donated to charity, and the orphanage was converted into a hospital.

The Psychiatric Hospital

The repurposed Newsham Park building opened as a hospital in 1954 and took in an influx of patients with severe mental health problems. In 1992 a nearby institution was forced to close its doors and took more patients. Rainhill Hospital, which was also known as the “Rainhill Lunatic Asylum”, at one time housed nearly 3,000 patients.

They were housed in Newsham Park for just 5 years before it finally closed in 1997.

A Gold Mine Of Inspiration

The Newsham Park Hospital is one of the most amazing buildings in the whole city. I’ve always found it so bizarre that it stands there so imposingly, yet so empty. Its almost as if people are afraid to go near it, that nobody can stick it out long enough to develop it.

I live just a ten minute walk from this place and unsurprisingly its inspired some of my stories. A novel I’m currently drafting has a chapter set entirely in this building, with the main characters tasked to hunt a demon that’s been let loose in there.

If that sounds like your jam, you can join my mailing list here to get some free stories, plus read more like this in the future. 

Pariah’s Lament
Of Metal and Magic Core Series
Richie Billing

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Of Metal And Magic Publishing
Date of Publication: 17/03/2023
ISBN: 1838400915
Number of pages: 423 
Word Count: Approx. 110,000
Cover Artist: 100 Covers

Tagline: "So often it's the forgotten who possess the power to change the world."

Book Description:

When an attempt is made on the life of Ashara, Keeper of Yurr, his young, hapless advisor Edvar must uncover and stop those behind it.

With enemies in the capital city and the belligerent Tesh, Keeper of neighbouring nation Karrabar stirring trouble in the Borderlands, can Edvar hold together Ashara's brittle reign?

The troubles ripple throughout Yurr, affecting an ancient race of people known as the Amast, who in their time of utmost need, turn to pariah Isy for salvation. Rejected by society, kith and kin, can Isy guide the Amast to safety during the greatest turmoil Yurr has known since the War of the Damned?

Pariah's Lament will take you on a rollercoaster of an adventure ‘that will keep you spellbound as you traverse the world alongside Isy and Edvar’ (Books Behind The Title). And along the way you’ll experience ‘intense fighting scenes, a little romance and flawed characters’ (Sarah Lillian Books).

If you love to explore fantasy worlds, this book won’t disappoint. Part of a shared universe populated by other authors, the setting in Pariah’s Lament has proven a huge hit with readers, with some praising the ‘insane level of detail’ (The Book Suite) and vividness of its descriptions.


Like a flock of dive-bombing gulls, the great stones of the Yurrish trebuchets and catapults twisted and turned in the air. One jagged chunk struck the bow of a Karraban galley and splinters and shards burst forth to a chorus of cracks and screams. Another great boulder obliterated the masthead of a nearby ship, hurling those upon the deck overboard.
More missed than struck. The yellow tide did not falter.

Driven forward by oars, the Karraban fleet ate up the water, moving in a diagonal line. The trebuchets were taking an age to reload. From his vantage point, Jem could see those on the quay hurrying to winch back the catapults. At the sound of a frantic horn, the arms of the catapults were unleashed and clusters of iron balls, stones and rocks rained down on those ships leading the Karraban charge, puncturing hulls, sails and decks.

Still they came.

The trebuchets, ranges adjusted, loosed again and once more struck a destructive blow. The Karrabans still persisted. Yurrish archers upon the quay walls unleashed their first volley. Unfortunate rowers upon the open decks screamed, and the momentum of a number of ships waned, oars falling slack or tangling with others. One talented, or lucky, archer struck a helmsman and the galley veered into another, scraping its side and snapping its oars, and, no doubt, the arms of a few oarsmen too.

The Karrabans answered with arrows of their own, their archers placed in crow’s nests and platforms built amongst the rigging. The air quickly grew thick with darts. The persistent shouts and cries of men were incrementally drowned out by the great crashes of stone against wood as the loads of catapults and trebuchets fell. The frenetic scene around the quay wall absorbed Jem’s attention. Creeping into the top of his vision, looming behind the chaos, came the first of the great galleons. Its rowers slowed, turned portside, level with the quay gate.

"Sir, the galleon carries the thunder. You must stop it!" Jem shouted.

Gundar looked to where he pointed and nodded. He dispatched messengers to the quay and artillery stations. Jem spotted hatches opening on the portside of the ship. Catapults continued to fire at the galleys, though some quick-thinking engineers had turned their aim to the galleon.

Their loads fell short. The trebuchets were still reloading. They were the only ones who had a hope of hitting it, if any of their operators had the presence of mind to know where to aim.

One by one, their great wooden arms swung forwards. Huge rocks hung in the air like eagles.

Everyone upon the wall had their eyes upon them, hoping they struck, willing them to do so, and despairing as they watched each one splash harmlessly into the water.

Listen to an Audio Excerpt

About the Author:

Richie Billing writes all kinds of stories, but mostly fantasy fiction. His tales often explore real-world issues, zooming in on his characters and their troubles.

His short fiction has been widely published, with one story adapted for BBC radio. And his debut novel, an epic fantasy called Pariah's Lament, was published by Of Metal and Magic Publishing in March 2021. 

Richie also hosts the podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, a venture inspired by the requests of readers of his acclaimed craft book, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook.

When not writing, Richie works as an editor and digital marketer and teaches creative writing both online and in his home city of Liverpool.

Most nights you can find him up into the early hours scribbling away or watching the NBA.

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