Burnley Grammar School

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1959         Item #: 1607         Views: 638,278         Comments: 2,313

Burnley Grammar School
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There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

2313 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by John on 25th May 2019  

Rob,
I take it that youíre a sensible guy who prefers to sleep naked.

Comments by Rob on 25th May 2019  

I can't remember when I last owned a pair of pyjamas and my wife gets concerned that I am not feeling well if I wear my boxers in bed.

Comments by John on 25th May 2019  

CJ,
Pyjamas are restrictive, bunch up and make you too hot in bed. I donít know any guy who doesnít sleep shirtless, my mates either sleep naked or wear boxers to bed. Most people have centrally heated homes, pyjamas are from an era when peopleís homes were cold.

Comments by CJ on 24th May 2019  

Fiona
Nothing wrong with PJs !!!!

Comments by Josh on 24th May 2019  

Hi guys, when i went to school, we had a strange policy on being shirtless. Our pe teacher let us run and took the time. We were with shirt on. After a week, we run another time on the same track, and if our time wasnít faster than the time before, we had a warning. After two warning (which means after two times we werenít able to improve our time, we had to do lesson without a shirt, which means we gave our shirt to the teacher and each time we had pe we took off our shirt (which we wore in class) and cannot wear anything. We would have received our shirt only if we were able to improve time for 5 time in a row, which was very difficult because winter is cold and we have to run under rain, wind, hail, snow without anything on our top. I remember when there were 20 F and I had to run under a hailstorm with nothing on my chest... but that was the rule

Comments by Fiona on 24th May 2019  

Stuart, either a very clear reference to sleeping without nightwear, as you say, or an acceptance that pupils of senior school age might have given up conventional nightwear in favour of underwear. I favour your interpretation, and it's the first indication that I have seen of a boarding school acknowledging that, in the 21st century, not everyone wears PJS!

Comments by Paul on 23rd May 2019  

hi Kenton,
yes it was early 90ís, an allboys school. I would have been 13 when we had to divide into skins and shirts for the first time. I remember being very shy and self conscious about taking my shirt off in the gym and standing there topless, the lesson felt endless. It probably didnít help that I wasnt very good at team games so tended to be more aware of my bare chest, as I never really got into the game. I definitely felt naked - once my T shirt came off and got put on the bench, all i was left wearing was a tiny pair of white shorts!

Comments by Stuart on 23rd May 2019  

Hi Fiona thanks for the research. I'm not sure when the nude swimming was ended probably in the late 1970s and well before the school went mixed in 1995. Times have indeed changed. I wasnt a boarder so have no knowledge of sleepwear back then but as you say a very clear reference there now to sleeping without it.

Comments by Fiona on 22nd May 2019  

Stuart, your comments re nude swimming at Caterham Prep School in the 1970s prompted me to look at the current Caterham School uniform requirementsfor two reasons.

Firstly, contrary to your experience nearly half a century ago, swimwear is now definitely specified for boys and girls of all ages.

Secondly, the uniform list for boarders contains the following line item:

Nightwear- (if used) at least 2 sets. One dressing gown/towelling robe

Does this mean that use of nightwear by boarders is not obligatory? I'm a bit surprised to see it spelled out so explicitly, although given contemporary attitides and habits, it's probably better than requiring parents to provide nightwear that their offspring have no intention or inclination to wear.

Comments by Stuart on 21st May 2019  

Pete, reference your comment re nude swimming. I understand that nowadays it may seem far fetched but it definitely happened both here in the UK and in America where there is a wealth of evidence online especially relating to the YMCAs.
I can honestly say that between 1971 and 1975 my older brother and I swam naked at Caterham Prep School in Surrey aged 9 - 13 and I know it continued there for at least another couple of years after then.
Showers after games were compulsory both there and at my senior school Portsmouth GS up until what is now year 11.
It was normal and most of us were just used to it and it didnt seem odd, you got filthy playing rugby so you showered afterwards.

Comments by Sterling on 21st May 2019  

I thought it was barking mad that boys' Mum's would insist on the wearing of vests under a shirt, Pullover, Blazer and or Coat. Then on the same cold winter mornings, when we had cross country, vests were banned and bare chests were compulsory!

Comments by John on 21st May 2019  

Toby P,
I wish that my dad had made me sleep shirtless at 9 years old like you, I had the embarrassment of being made to take pyjamas to school camp aged 12 and finding that most of the lads slept shirtless. I donít approve of your dad making you stand in the coal shed though, apart from that he sounds a great dad.

Comments by Toby P on 21st May 2019  

Hi Graham, my dad never approved of vests. He stopped me wearing a t shirt for bed when I turned 9. He also made me spend hours standing in the "spare" coal house wearing y fronts if I had a sub standard school report or I'd misbehaved. My sisters were made to take an ice cold bath overseen by our mum. I often helped out on the farm and was encouraged, especially during harvest, to strip down. Most of the helpers who varied from 16 upwards stripped off too. I do remember one lad in his early 20s, who on his first day helping, kept his vest on stripping off when it was totally soaked in sweat, then the penny dropped as to why 3 of us were already stripped off. Working in the sheds was like being in a blast furnace! The following morning he bared his chest like the rest of us, lesson learned.

Comments by Pete on 20th May 2019  

Seeing these comments is eye opening since when I was at school (left 5 years ago) we did PE in shorts and a tshirt, and did swimming in trunks/speedos, definitely not nude. As far as I know, most of these would constitute child abuse now, and Iím a bit doubtful that some of these things happened to be honest. Showers after pe werenít compulsory and no one usually showered after pe since for most it would be the last lesson of the day or near the end, and we would shower at home. This was at an all boys school by the way.

Our school actually had excellent PE and swimming lessons. Usually the class would be divided into three groups from very able to least able, and the teacher would focus on one at a time, with everyone doing the same activity on different levels (e.g. the most able swimmers would swim more laps than the rest). There was a competition at the end of every lesson which we quite enjoyed. And there were a bunch of after school fitness/sport clubs you could go to for free, and a small gym. And this was at a state school so it was pretty good. I became pretty good at swimming by the end and took part in a bunch of galas, competitions during my time there.

Comments by Graham on 20th May 2019  

Toby, right from my Junior School days, my parents had no issues whatoever with me stripping off topless for PE, or anywhere else provided it was not inappropriate. It was how it was done back in those days, and my memory is that most kids, boys and girls alike, enjoyed the freedom of minimal clothing whenever possible, not just when exercising, a concept in keeping with my parents attitudes.

Mum and Dad never wore vests themselves, so I never suffered the indignity of being made to wear a vest: at bedtime they shared a pair of men's PJs in the traditional manner, so I was introduced to sleeping topless at an early age: and they appreciated the health benefits of exposure to sunshine, so I was encouraged to leave my shirt off at every opportunity when playing out in the garden. When we went for walks in the fields around our village in the summer, we would generally all wear sandals and shorts, Dad, my younger brother and I usually topless, and Mum and my sister in halter tops, and we would often encounter similarly-clad families.

And they were open to new ideas, too. When, as a rising twelve-year-old, I came home from boading school for my first half-term break with three pairs of brand-new, unwrapped and obviously unworn PJs in my case and the coy admission that nobody in my dormitory, me now included, wore anything to bed, they laughingly agreed that while PJs were on the boarders' clothing list, nothing was actually said about wearing them, and promptly announced their intention of following my example.

Autres temps, autres moeurs!

Comments by Chris G on 20th May 2019  

It's a long time ago I now but I don't remember either of my parents commenting adversely the day I came home from school and announced that we would be doing PE topless from now on. Dad's initial reaction that we wouldn't have to buy me any more PE vests, was soon put down by Mum pointing out that I had been wearing my ordinary underwear vests for PE for a number of years. Her greatest concern came a couple of weeks later, when she realised that an unintended consequence of not wearing my underwear vest for PE was that, after the class, I generally "forgot" to put it back on again, and within in another couple of weeks I had stopped wearing a vest altogether.

Comments by Toby P on 19th May 2019  

Both my parents fully approved of me stripping to the waist for PE/Games which was the no from 9 years old through to 18. It's something todays young men would benefit from. Stripping in view of the girls was a good thing, making you work harder

Comments by Kenton on 19th May 2019  

Hi Paul, I know exactly what you mean about being on the skins team at school. I hated it at first and felt really uncomfortable, almost as if I'd been made to strip completely naked. This was when I was 13, in the early 90s. Interested to know if you were a similar age and/or era?

Comments by Shin on 18th May 2019  

Hello Paul, we would usually practice for 4 hours everyday after school for 4 weeks before the actual performance.

Strangely we were allowed to wear a shirt for the first week. Only on the second week onwards we have to do it shirtless. We were all shocked during the first year when we found out that not only we had to practice shirtless but perform shirtless on the day. Eventually after seeing some of my classmates took their shirts off I had to do it too. Some of the shy kids were taken into a corner to be reprimanded but came back to practice without their clothes.

Every single boy in my school hated being shirtless, obviously the girls enjoyed it, they were visibly excited when we had to our shirts off for the first time.

Comments by Paul on 17th May 2019  

Hi Shin, that's interesting seeing the pictures you linked to earlier, thanks for sharing. Presumably everyone is shirtless when you practice as well, and not just for the actual performance?
We didn't do calisthenics at my school . I only took my shirt off when I had to be on the skins team. I didn't like that very much, I was uncomfortable being stripped to the waist the first times.

Comments by John on 11th May 2019  

Hi Stuart,
Iíve been to Germany and nude swimming was considered perfectly normal in many places. I have no problem with swimming naked, the Germans and Scandinavians have a healthier attitude towards non sexual nudity than the majority of British people.

Comments by Stuart on 11th May 2019  

I have holidayed a lot throughout my life in france and they have always had this strict proper trunks for swimwear rule and it does make sense both for hygiene reasons as stated and for swimming, you can't swim properly in those ridiculously sized bermuda shorts.
I think it is the same in Italy too.
Guys seem to eb scare dof wearing speedos.
Interestingly enough a couple of years ago was in denmark andn sweeden, ended up swimming from the kalbadhus which is a men and women sepaarte bathing areas in the sea on the end of long piers and usually nudist, and the scandanavian boys had no fear of swimming nude, such a different culture to the british. It wa sseen as normal not scary - the germans are very relaxed too.

Comments by Bailey on 8th May 2019  

Hi John and Alfie A I think all the points you have said about the French insisting on speedos in pools are good reasons. They sound pretty logic and sensible to me. Proper horses for courses I thinks For swimming it makes you streamlined for the activity just the same as above the knee shorts and shirtless for PE and things like that. It makes the activities safer and more hygienic. Being a young lad I don't always like the many petty rules we have in UK because alot are ludicrous like protecting peoples touchy feelings but if ruled are for hygiene and safety I am all for it.The UK is lax with hygiene I think even in restaurants I have seen it myself.

Comments by Alfie A on 7th May 2019  

The latest comments on "speedos" having to be worn in France seems to confirm my previous message.

Comments by John on 7th May 2019  

Hi Bailey,
The French consider that board shorts are unhygienic because guys will often have worn them all day, they donít want germs being transferred to their swimming pools. Itís more hygienic to get guys to change into speedos.

The other reason is that guys who wear board shorts are considered not to be keen swimmers, itís not really possible to swim well wearing board shorts. The French donít want guys fooling around in the pool dive bombing and doing belly flops, they feel that guys will swim and obey pool rules whilst wearing speedos.

Comments by Bailey on 6th May 2019  

Hi John That is interesting to know. In UK a lot of boys dare not wear them because people of all ages say things that puts them off and people dare not to stand out.
You mentioning France insisting that they wear speedos is fascinating. It makes me recall an holiday about 8 years in Bournemouth I think it was where they told the males they had to wear small trunks ONLY and not long shorts It just sticks in my mind the reaction of the men, women and kids it was as though they were asking them to be naked!
Can't just remember exactly what happened as I was 8 but I remember my dad me and my brother used the pool so I assume we either had some small trunks or some were bought for it. It stuck in my mind the peoples reaction to this request by the pools bosses. I have never come across this request in this country since that time. most males wear the long shorts in pools.

Comments by John on 6th May 2019  

Hi Bailey,

I just wanted to mention that the French donít have a problem with males wearing speedos, in fact many swimming pools in France insist on guys wearing speedos or similar trunks and ban guys from wearing board shorts. The French also have a generally healthy and positive attitude towards nudity as well.

Comments by Bailey on 4th May 2019  

Hi Mikeee We are not forced to be bare chested like on the picture back then, but the kit is dark or grey shorts similar length to the shorts on the picture and a dark vest. Nobody bats an eyelid if we do not wear the vest and I would say more than half choose shirtless like me. But then a lot do not of course but the vest is useless only that it covers the tummy and a bit of the chest.
Perhaps if they are fatter it may serve a purpose i do not know.
In sports lessons shoes and black ankle socks are worn but in ordinary PE lessons footwear or bare feet is optional. At times I have been involved in mixed PE lessons but if I had to make a choice of bare chest or bare feet in front of a girl it would be bare chest every time. There is a big deal about boys bare feet for some reason Is that because boys have bigger feet, perhaps but some girls have bigger feet than me to be honest!!!!! another thing is as I have said before on here is a disgust by people of all ages about boys wearing speedos. Other generations said they wore them and my dad wore them and nobody said anything to him when he was young so it is harder for us at times. My dad said they are more prudish now than when he was a lad though I think society thinks they are more outgoing now. I do not know about that but you can only deal with what you come across I guess.

Comments by Shin on 4th May 2019  

Hi everyone, this is an interesting topic. I am a student from Japan. In my school we did not have to be barechested during physical education lessons like the picture. However we do have to be barechested when we perform calisthenics during our annual sports festival. Here are some pics of me performing during my 2nd and 3rd year.

2nd year (3rd guy from the right in 1st row)

https://ibb.co/3fVdcLm

3rd year (directly in front of a guy with cap)

https://ibb.co/kSh0Msf

Comments by Mikeee on 4th May 2019  

Hi Bailey,

I have not found your generation lacking in toughness at all.

I'm 26 and at my local boxing gym on Suffolk parents of boys from age of 10 upwards are encouraged to let their sons to strip to the waist when fighting competitively and the majority do give their approval for this to happen.

It does take guts for some of the younger lads to stand stripped to the waist in front of an audience waiting to fight.

The big difference these days are boys were expected to be stripped off for PE/Games(at my school this included fitness sessions out on the yard, X country runs and athletics. In the gym it was basketball, more fitness and anything to make sure you were sweating!)

If you attended a more enlightened school, vests would be worn and half the class would be picked to strip to the waist as a skins team.

Which would you and your classmates have preferred?

Personally I owe my PE teachers a lot. Not wearing a vest outside helped me physically to harden up overcome my terrible shyness and made me comfortable being stripped to the waist and sweating in front of females.
.

Comments by Bailey on 3rd May 2019  

Thank you for the advice Chris! Shorts should be shorts for sports or PE etc. If not you may as well just wear trackie bottoms. I think PE should be brief trunks what do you need loads of clothes on in water for!!!!!

Comments by Alfie A on 3rd May 2019  

To add to the comments re swimming trunks,I do not if it still the case but I did read sometime ago that in France swimming pools (especially at holiday venues)ban the wearing of swimming shorts in the pool. All men must wear trunks/briefs. The reason given was that the shorts my have been worn outside the pool area perhaps on a beach and they would have sand on them which would block the filters in the pool. Whether that is till the case I do not know.
Furthermore, I agree with the males who like to wear what are now known as speedos in the pool. AS one person has commented, ladies can wear very tight fitting costumes and that is acceptable yet it seems unacceptable for a man to wear anything other than shorts.
My final point on swimming, I know of 2 swimming instructors who coach children in a public pool. They have to wear t shirts over any swimming attire they may be wearing. I understand that they must not "Show too much flesh"

Comments by Chris G on 3rd May 2019  

Bailey, thanks for your interesting comments. The only advice that I can give is to stay strong and be your own man. As for swimwear, as I said a few posts ago, when I was your age, standard boys' swimwear was brief trunks. I've never subscribed to the "long shorts" swimwear thing. I'm four times your age now, and still wear speedo's!

Comments by Bailey on 2nd May 2019  

Hi Tim. I don't think soft is the right word for my generation of boys because many of them are not soft i.e fighting or standing pain or tough conditions like camping out all weathers, taking risks on bikes etc. Many of my mates can do that sort of thing but they are shy of their bodies because celebrities on TV do tend to make a big deal of any male nudity and they make fun on adverts esp about speedos. I have been talking with my dad about stuff like this. Hardly any of the lads I know would wear small trunks but my dad said nobody said much it was proper dress for boys swimming when he was young nobody batted an eyelid. so maybe we are softer MENTALLY than in the past but then my dad and the like did not have to be they just wore what they had to or what was right for the activity/sport that suited the sex you were. My dad agreed that many boys would have to be thick skinned otherwise we are going to have to swim in jeans or a helmet or do PE in overalls !!!!!!! Being a boy of 16 I want to do PE or swim with minimum amount of clothes possible but adverts influence my generation and we have to be mentally tough to stand up and be counted thanks for reading

Comments by TimH on 2nd May 2019  

Firstly - Thanks to Bailey for his comments: really interesting especially the bit about the girls views on bare feet.

Looking at few recent comments, I have used the pool at my gym when there has been an area roped off for junior swimming lessons and it does make me 'smile' to see young lads in 'rash suits' - I suppose there must be a reason, but I can't really see one.

I'm not too sure about boys being 'soft' - yes - some of them are, but there always have been, but thinking of some youngsters I know, a neighbours son plays footfall to a high level and is in the Army Cadets, and another is also in the Cadets and plays hockey to a high standard. The daughter of another neighbour cycles and is a very good gymnast.

(The thing is just to help the less 'sporty' types 'mature' and see what happens)

Comments by Bailey on 2nd May 2019  

I think they were more brutal with rules towards boys back in the day that is regretful but at least they accepted a boys body more than they do today that is what it seems.
I am a boy of 16 my dad is in his fifties I have talked to him about this subject. He was a brilliant swimmer at my age but he says he swam naked in front of girls or he wore tight small trunks what we call SPEEDOS. I have seen an old photo of my dad with some girls swimming and he was naked!!
I have seen him in tight trunks too he said they did not call them speedos then but same thing. I would love to swim naked or wear speedos but people are disgusted by speedos.But I have read on here people have worn them like my dad did. Boys I know wear baggy swim short I don't like them but you hear on the telly celebrities start mocking anyone in speedos but women and girls wear skimpy swimwear that is tight in certain areas.

Comments by Bailey on 2nd May 2019  

It does seem as though many posters felt that the PE masters were stricter with boys than girls but it seems like most guys got used to it and liked it by what I have read. We are not forced to be bare chested so you could say we are lucky I am not so sure. I do it by choice because it gives me an identity that I am BOY/YOUNG MAN otherwise it is only girls that have an identity of being female us boys have to deny physically existing so I think this is where my generation of boys are dismissed.

Comments by Bailey on 1st May 2019  

I am a 16 year old boy. I hope some of you do not mind me joining in. This is really interesting to read some of the posts. I go to school in Derbyshire UK.
We do not have a compulsory rule on shirtless PE or sports but I would guess 60% of boys just wear shorts and bare chested I notice the white shorts on the picture us boys wear either black, navy or grey shorts those are the colours allowed for shorts but they are similar length to those on the picture. You can wear a dark vest thing if you wish to. We have Light shoes and black ankle socks allowed although some in basic PE are barefooted sometimes the basic PE Lesson due to logistics, staffing etc
are performed in a mixed group so I have had to do PE among girls at times. When the boys have done PE among girls as I say over half of boys opt for bare chest the big issue is the teachers and girls are more disgusted at boys bare feet.
I think somebody recently mentioned that recently on here who went to school in the nineties. Now I go bare chested in this situation but wear the shoes and ankle socks. Girls bare feat is accepted more than boys bare feet. Some boys have the vest and shorts on but bare feet. They are more noticed than me without a shirt and shorts, however girls say my socks stink so I can't win but they do not seem to be annoyed by the bare chest but then us boys wear shorts and go shirtless when the weather is hot in summer I guess the girls are used to it. Another poster mentioned these shorts that are really long like half mast pants I hate them but I guess some like them to me they are pointless.

Comments by Alfie A on 22nd April 2019  

I agree with the comments about boys being soft these days and Sterling I think you have got it right. In the winter when young lads are playing foot ball they wear long shorts and some seem to have a form of tights underneath coming below their shorts and almost joining their socks. Apparently this is to prevent being stung on the leg if the ball hits them. AS for summer and covering all of the body, I know that parents have to be responsible in the sun, but there are reports that nowadays the kids do not get enough Vitamin d because their skin is forever covered.

Comments by Sterling on 20th April 2019  

Chris G. Perhaps it has something to do with the feminisation of boys!

Comments by Chris G on 20th April 2019  

As a kid going on holiday to the Sussex coast, all I, and all other boys, ever wore in the sea was a pair of brief trunks, even at the beginning and end of the season. Go back there now, and lots of kids are to be seen in wet-suits and rash-vests, even on the hottest days. Wimps, or what!

Comments by John on 17th April 2019  

Ross,
I was more comfortable doing PE shirtless, males donít usually wear a shirt to go swimming so I think that thereís no point in wearing a shirt when youíre doing an activity that makes you hot and sweaty.

Comments by Ross on 16th April 2019  

John, I think ultimately given a choice I'd have worn shirt but it was alright I didn't really mind. I think most boys were more concerned about having bare feet.

Comments by John on 15th April 2019  

Ross,
Did you mind doing PE in just shorts or would you have preferred to wear a shirt as well?.

Comments by Ross on 14th April 2019  

Looks like a lesson of mine from the 90s! Except we were all barefoot too.

Comments by Paul on 27th March 2019  

I can also remember a PE teacher who drove out to the furthest point of a cross country though it was in his blue Vauxhall Viva and I can still see the number plate on it. He also used to tick a list though how he saw anyone through the thick cloud of cigarette smoke in the car used to amaze me.

He also used to smoke as he ran on the few occasions he ran with us. I do remember on more than one occasion running right behind him and wondering why he would wear a rugby shirt and quite visibly through his white shorts, underpants when we were allowed neither not of course that I or anyone else dared ask.

We were in shorts and plimsolls only regardless of the weather.

On return there was a dose of the plimsoll for anyone who was not ticked off the list and if it was a second offence the plimsoll was replaced with the cane.

We had a second PE teacher too who taught me for about half my time at school. He was far more fit and healthy, he did everything he had us do, I never saw him with a cigarette, he was always stripped to the waist and running behind him he didn't wear underpants. I much preferred him to the other one.

Comments by Philip on 26th March 2019  

To Michael and Rob.

If that teacher thought that the lads were a bunch of softies, he could have set them an example by going out stripped to the waist himself.

Comments by Bernard on 25th March 2019  

Michael - you do seem to have got off quite lightly with the kit you were allowed to wear for cross country. We always ran stripped to the waist and barefoot as others commenting here did. Bare feet were practical as the route took us through muddy parts and I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was glad to not have to clean plimsolls afterwards.
There were a few times each winter when we didn't really warm up but most of the time we would certainly not have wanted to wear more than our shorts.
One p.e. teacher had a little moped and he would sometimes come and check on us though I don't think he ever ticked us off on a list. I wasn't aware of any-one ever trying to cut out part of the route - it wouldn't have been easy. The route took us through woodlands and along the edges of fields all of which surrounded a golf course - there would probably have been complaints to the school if any-one had dared to run across the golf course.

Comments by Rob on 25th March 2019  

Michael, If your PE teacher thought you were all a bunch of softies who needed toughening up he should have sent you out stripped to the waist every time like most of us here.

Comments by Michael on 24th March 2019  

Our PE teacher routinely sent whole classes of us boys out on cross country runs.

The weather made no difference. In fact, the worse the weather, the better he liked it, as he often remarked that we were a bunch of softies who needed toughening up.

In winter, wearing only gym shorts/vests and plimsolls, it was sheer torture, but we had to do it.

Meanwhile he would stay in school, presumably making a mug of coffee before sitting down to read the newspaper.

Occasionally he would venture out in his big Ford Zodiac, and park up at the turning point of the run, to tick off our names as we ran past. We could never predict when he would do this, so the only safe option was to run the entire exhausting distance, every time.

After driving back to school, his oversize gym shoe would be made ready, to welcome back anyone whose name hadn't been ticked off.

Happy days? I didn't think so!



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