Another long standing mystery, and one which I’d pondered since Grand Tour days, was the staircase
in the Pharmacy. Most of the buildings clustered around the Chapel were single storey and I’d often wondered
if I’d imagined the rickety staircase when I first explored the interiors of the complex.
The Pharmacy had lost its elegant wooden shelves and cabinets, rudely ripped out since my last visit. But the stairs
were still there, and could be traversed gingerly. I emerged in a bright, airy room with windows which overlooked the shell of the
Ballroom, the back of the Administration Block and flank of the Chapel.
Medical books, glassware and chemistry equipment stood on shelves, still mostly neatly stacked. Despite most of the windows
being smashed, the room was remarkably intact, seemingly overlooked by the vandals and thieves who ran riot through the
hospital’s more accessible areas.
It seemed a good place to stop and pause. Anyone walking in the corridor network below could be heard but, despite the
barking of the guard dogs from the perimeter fence, nothing more could be heard. We wondered if Squibb
were having a rare day off and we’d got the interior of the hospital to ourselves. If so, we were extremely lucky, but it would
prove to stay cautious; the endless barks of angry dogs kept us on our toes.