Uplands Middle School

Uplands Middle School
Uplands Middle School

Saturday, 29 March 2014

School Dinners...

I don’t recall very much about school dinners, other than ‘chocolate crunch and pink custard’. The chocolate crunch was lethal – so hard that when you eventually split it with your spoon the pieces flew across the dinner hall. The pink custard was thick, lumpy and usually cold by the time we got to eat it.

This picture (taken from google streetview) shows the back of the kitchens on the left, with School House on the right and the roof of the P I Block just visible in the middle.


I don’t remember the actual lessons, but I do remember we had to choose French names for ourselves, and make a paper nameplate for our desks! I ended up being Jean-Marie (or something similar).


I was never destined to be another ‘Delia’. I only remember two of the cookery classes; one where we made coconut pyramids and another where we made vegetable soup.


Mr Gregory used to throw a blackboard rubber at anyone misbehaving (yes, we had proper blackboards and chalk back then). He also often used to slap a ruler over your knuckles if you weren’t paying attention!

We had to use well-worn copies of ‘Science for the Seventies’ text books, with pages missing and doodles on the human body diagrams.


I remember Mr Johnson reading us The Day of the Triffids. He was so good we were all spellbound.

I’m not sure if it was part of the English class, but I do remember that I entered a school poetry competition on the topic of Christmas one year. I won, and had the horrifying task of having to read out my poem in assembly to the entire school. My prize was tickets to an amateur dramatic performance of A Christmas Carol in a local hall, and I got given a Parker pen and was taken backstage to meet the cast afterwards. I went with my mum.
The poem began: “C is for the carols that are sung both far and wide, H is for the holly found in the countryside…..”. (Can’t remember the rest).


I remember banging rows of nails into a piece of painted wood, painting it with emulsion (mine was pink) and then having to tie cotton thread around the nails to create interesting geometrical patterns. I also remember trying my hand at enamelling (I created a crescent-shaped pendant with very sharp, pointy ends, which I made into a necklace), and engraving wood using a very hot burning device! No sign of any health and safety back then.


I remember having sewing classes in a room full of ancient Singer sewing machines (operated by a foot pedal). The teacher had pre-cut enough dark blue and white checked material (nylon) for all the girls to stitch together smock tops. We also made glasses cases (just hand-stitching the sides of two pre-cut oval shapes together) and we also made little school bags, just big enough for a couple of books.

Most of us gave away the glasses cases as gifts, but we all turned up for school wearing our smocks and carrying our identical cloth bags for most of that term.

School Plays...

I had to make some strange outfit resembling a vest with a torn skirt attached, as I was some sort of sea urchin in a play once but have no idea what the play was called. Maybe it was The Water Babies.

I do remember being in the audience watching various stage productions, in particular I recall watching Oliver.

School Trips to France...

The trips I remember involved a hovercraft on one occasion and a ferry on another. We had no passports and were ushered, en masse, through customs (presumably or teachers took care of any paperwork). The hovercraft was all very peculiar, especially when it ‘deflated’ with a bump on the embankment on the French side. On the ferry, I remember being told (by one of the teachers) that there were some soldiers on board (I don’t recall seeing any so I assume they were wearing civvies at the time).


I remember when I first went to Uplands, my classroom was in a portakabin and my teacher was an American man called Mr Davies. Each portakabin housed two classrooms, with a shared cloakroom in the centre. They weren’t the warmest places to be during the winter.

The P. I. Block...

Not entirely sure why it was called the P.I. block but at some point it was used for music and arty things. It was situated right opposite my home (as my father was caretaker and we lived on school premises).


Mr Robert Hewett (Headmaster)
Mrs Mary Teece (Deputy Head).
Mrs Rush (P.E.)
Mr Tyler (P.E.)
Mr Davies (An American)
Mr Roger Bigg
Mrs Gillespie
Mrs Topper
Mr  Bob Thurlow
Mr Johnson (English)
Miss Nancy Dear (Sewing / English?)
Mr Malcom Crowe (Art / P.E?)
Mrs Auld (Cookery)
Mrs Gregory (Cookery) – before my time there.
Mr Norman Gregory (Science)
Mr Dolan (Science?)
Mr Brian Swallow (Music)
Mr Mason
Mr White (Part Time Fireman)
Mr Iliffe (English / Humanities?)
Mr Roger Bellamy
Mr Wright
Mrs Palmer (Physics) – before my time there.
Mr Smith
Mrs Pat Collinson
Mary Long – after my time there.
Miss Nicholls (French?) – after my time there.


I attended Uplands Middle School, Sudbury, Suffolk during two separate periods. Great Cornard Middle School wasn’t quite built, so several of us were bussed to Uplands approximately 1973. Great Cornard Middle School was finished approximately 1974, so we all left Uplands and attended our local school instead. I’d only been at Great Cornard Middle School a few months when my father was given the job as school caretaker at Uplands …..so back I went! I’d now like to share some of those memories with you…..

This photo taken from google streetview shows School House (the caretakers house) 
where we lived.

Just behind it you can see the P I Block.

If you have any additional stories, photos etc you'd like to share just email me