Uppingham School Sanitorium

From schoolboy’s memories of Uppingham

…..1947 had one of the severest winters ever recorded, snow was on the ground for about 12 weeks and so deep in places that even telephone wires in a dip on the Oakham Road were completely buried, in fact boys from the School were sent to dig them out. The temperature barely rose above freezing and post-war conditions still existed. The country was financially broke, labour relations were in turmoil, strikes were commonplace and there was a desperate shortage of fuel. We had to choose whether we wanted heating on in the studies downstairs or in our dormitories. We chose the former and went to bed in rugby stockings, woolly sweaters and even balaclavas, as the rules dictated ‘windows in dormitories should be open at all times’. Mugs with bedside water would often shatter overnight, frozen with ice.

No games were played during this cold spell. We used to play ice hockey on the town swimming pool (now the Willow Close housing development). Boys had great fun sledging down the long hill on Braunston Road, beyond Ayston. If the council spread salt and sand on the road to clear it, we piled snow over it again so we could carry on sledging – we weren’t popular.

At times we were called to go ‘tattyscratting’ or potato picking. The local farmers were desperately short of labour and it was vital that the potato harvest was brought in.

….We only saw our parents once or twice a year when they came for a weekend. Pocket money was around £3 to £4 per term but due to rationing, which went on for years after the War, sweets hardly existed and there wasn’t a great deal to spend money on.

Basil Frost (Meadhurst House 45)