Perhaps you have seen it through a hole in the laurel hedge at the top of Amersham Hill. A dark, dreary, inadequately-lit collection of shacks. However, if you go in you will see the delightful terrapin buildings which are made up of a few slats of wood held together by broken windows. The collective noun for these buildings is “Uplyme” or “Junior School”. As we enter Uplyme territory we are confronted by a large red brick twelfth-century building: this is Uplyme boarding house, recently fitted with beds and cold water appliances. To the right of this is what is called the main block. There are four doors and if we select the right one we see a long narrow passage opening into the hall which contains one honky-tonk piano, used for assembly, and a lectern, both on a raised platform. Surrounding the hall are six classrooms and two staff rooms fully furnished with desks and chairs. Each classroom has less desks and chairs than pupils, but this is only natural. Parallel to the main block are the terrapin buildings, lavishly furnished with enough chairs and desks for all pupils. The two classrooms in the block are equipped with oil-stoves which only work when it is very hot. Opposite the terrapin huts is another block of two classrooms, both of which are obviously meant to be used for developing films and, if the lights are switched on, only one will work. There is an arch joining this block of buildings to another. The arch’s only purpose in life is to fall on the head of any unfortunate mortal who happens to touch it. These buildings are the music rooms containing two pianos which don’t work, one piano organ which doesn’t work, one piano which works sometimes, and another which works but is toned a semitone flat.
Oh, how I long to go up to Main School next year where I can forget all my Uplyme worries! But how sad it is to see Uplyme being replaced by new buildings. After two short years I had grown to love those crumbling shacks, those decrepit desks, and those wonderful silent pianos.
by Peter Watts, Form 3Y (Wycombiensian, Sept 1962, p345, and oddly entitled “Advertisement”)
The boarding house was not really of 12th century construction, of course.