Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 161,847         Comments: 732

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

732 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Andy on 11th August 2019  

Having read through some past and more recent posts a common theme is not wearing any underwear. The majority state it being due to school rules, however others seem suggest they did it by choice, while others say they could wear them if they had a spare pair but still chose not to wear any.

Being in the category that had no choice and objected to having to wear my white shorts without underwear I wonder why some chose not to. Was the decision not to wear pants the boys own, driven by parents or due to peer pressure?

Comments by Roy on 11th August 2019  

I agree with Dave and others that it did seem strange wearing a jockstrap at first but as growing lads we eventually loved them. At school, although not compulsory most of us wore them for gym and games. I also agree that most of us wore them under shorts in the summer. I have a couple that I bought recently just for that purpose during the summer months (even at my age !)

Comments by Andrea on 11th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi June,
Although my son wore a jockstrap and cup for cricket, he preferred briefs for PE lessons.

Comments by Andrea on 11th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Dave,
I recall our PE teacher speaking to a few of my classmates about needing some support when they hadn't started to wear bras as early as they perhaps should have!

With regard to swimsuits, during the last summer holidays before I started to wear a bra, I quite often wore a swimsuit top under my T shirt to flatten things down a bit.

Comments by Graham on 11th August 2019  

Andrea, Dave and June: from about the age of 13 we were advised to wear some form of support, jockstraps or swimming trunks rather than loose underwear, with the former being our PE master's recommendation.

Comments by June on 10th August 2019  

Hello Andrea

My boys all wore jockstraps and although not a formal school regulation for boys aged 13+ it was regarded as common sensical and naturally had the approval of those teachers involved in all sporting activities ... l hope that helps :=)

Comments by Dave on 10th August 2019  

Hi Andrea, my PE teacher did not recommend wearing a jockstrap but was quite happy that a few of us wore them, he did however say that we should wear underwear for support, briefs / swim trunks etc.

Comments by Andrea on 9th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Dave and Graham,
I had similar feelings about starting to wear a bra. I found them uncomfortable at first, but after a while I would have been more uncomfortable without one, especially in PE.

Were jockstraps recommended by your PE teachers?

Comments by Dave on 8th August 2019  

Hi Graham, your right wearing a jockstrap at first is a strange feeling but you soon get used to it and I like you also wore mine under shorts during the summer holidays.

Comments by Graham on 7th August 2019  

Andrea - I went commando for the first couple of years, as did most of my classmates, and I got my first jockstraps when I was about 14. Wearing one felt a bit strange at first, but I soon got used to to the sensation, and sometimes wore them as ordinary underwear in summer, especially under shorts.

Comments by Andrea on 6th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did you continue to go commando for PE at Boarding School, or were you encouraged to wear a jockstrap once you were older or more well developed?

At Primary School we wore shorts and a T shirt over our ordinary underwear for indoor PE (which was done in the hall as we didn't have a gym). Once we wear at Secondary School, indoor PE kit was a polo shirt and gym knickers, but outdoors we were allowed to wear a long-sleeved hockey shirt and a PE skirt or culottes over our gym knickers in winter.

We were expected to shower after both indoor and outdoor PE.

Comments by Graham on 2nd August 2019  

Andrea - my primary school was boys only. We had reversible two-colour rugby shirts for outdoor activities, cross-country, team games etc., but PE indoors was always topless. Going commando was encouraged, but not actually insisted on, but if you kept your underpants on for the lesson, you had to have a clean pair to put on afterwards. Most of us chose to go without. In the absence of showers, we were expected to bring a towel to rub ourselves down with on PE days, and anyone performing the towel-dance while changing was regarded as a bit of a wimp - as was anyone discovered wearing a vest under his shirt.

Comments by Andrea on 2nd August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did you go to an all boys primary school or have PE separate from the girls?

My primary school, in the late 1960s, didn't have proper changing rooms, so girls and boys had to change together in our classroom. Of course we didn't have to strip right of, just down to underwear, before putting on our PE kit.

Once I was at Secondary school (all girls) we had proper changing rooms and showers were compulsory.

Comments by Graham on 1st August 2019  

Although we didn't have any showers in the changing room at primary school, we weren't afraid of being seen naked while changing before and after PE classes. This was just as well from my point of view, because when I went on to a boarding school, communal nude showering was the norm at bedtime and after PE or games. Also the norm, albeit unofficially, as I've posted elsewhere, was sleeping nude, as I discovered with a certain amount of pleasure on my first night when my eight room-mates showered, dried themselves off and jumped into bed in their freshly laundered birthday suitd

Comments by Rob on 26th June 2019  

John, I am in agreement with you and others about compulsory showers.After our first PE lesson aged 11 I would have done anything to avoid going nude in the showers with a lot of of other boys but I had no choice but quickly realised there was actually nothing wrong with being naked in the showers. There was no way that I felt I was being abused and after being made to sweat in the gym, where I enjoyed having to wear just gym shorts and plimsolls, I looked forward to the showers and being able to freshen up before going on to our next lesson rather than get dressed again and sit around smelling of stale sweat.

Comments by John on 22nd June 2019  

Well said, I completely agree with you. Like you I was made to shower naked with a group of lads after playing sports and given a choice aged 11 would have opted to avoid them. There was actually nothing wrong with showering nude with other lads and it helped me to get over my totally irrational fear of being naked with other lads. In no way was I abused, in life fears are best confronted and not avoided.

Comments by William on 20th June 2019  

Bernard and Roy, I agree with you. To describe compulsory showers as abuse trivialises child abuse, and having to do something you would rather avoid has advantages. Aged 11 I would rather not have had nude showers with a lot of other boys. Luckily we had no choice. I quickly got used to it, became less shy about my skinny body and didn't mind stripping for gym, swimming or showering. By having to do things I thought would be difficult I found I could cope with more than I thought - a good lesson for life.

Comments by Bernard on 18th June 2019  


Roy is, of course, quite right - showers have nothing to do with child abuse. I'm sure we all had to do things we didn't enjoy at school but not liking something does not make it abuse.

Comments by Roy on 4th June 2019  

Showering after PE and games is a matter of personal hygiene and has nothing to do with child abuse.

Comments by Philip on 3rd June 2019  

30 years ago the nightmare of compulsory physical education ended for me. It is time we ended forced showers in school. I can't believe with the passing of the Children Act in 1989 some schools still mandate this state sponsored child abuse.

A modern day example is shown below


At-shirt appropriate to your child's "house", which is available from the office, priced £4.00

Plain black shorts

White P.E. socks


Swimming trunks/costume

A towel and a change of socks are required for every P.E. lesson

A P.E. bag is available from the school office, priced £2.50

All students are expected to shower are a P.E. or games lesson.

Comments by Arby on 23rd April 2019  

Good for you Dave. So do I still wear one under shorts.

Comments by Dave on 22nd April 2019  

Hi all, when I was at school we also had the no underwear under shorts rule which was enforced until the middle school aged 15/16 after which we could wear something,most of us started to ether use snug briefs, swimming trunks or a jockstrap for support, I started off with trunks but quickly moved on to a jock initially for cross country running but then for all sports and activities.
I continued to wear one at school then college and still wear them now under shorts.

Comments by Arby on 20th April 2019  

When we boys entered the 6th form we were advised to starting wearing a jockstrap. A few of us went together to buy one at the local sports shop. We felt really grown up and "manly". We continued to wear them at all sports even after leaving school.

I agree with Chris that they are great to wear under shorts in hot weather. Much better that sweaty briefs. In fact I have just bought 2 on line to wear this summer. I may be old fashioned but hopefully will be comfortable.

Comments by June on 20th April 2019  

Chris G
Yes, my husband will only wear a jockstrap for running and tennis ... nothing else does the job ... to paraphrase him :=)

Comments by Chris G on 19th April 2019  

June, funny you should mention tennis, as my first experience of wearing a jockstrap for more than a couple oh hours was when we had an all-day tennis tournament at school. Much more comfortable than clingy sweaty cotton briefs on a hot summer afternoon!

Comments by Julian B on 19th April 2019  

Only to reiterate what June says, and that is that a jockstrap's chief purpose is that of a genital support - l can vouch for that as can many other school boys and men

Comments by June on 19th April 2019  

Hello Andrea
A jockstrap can be used to hold a cup for protection against a kick or a hard ball, but its main purpose was as a very satisfactory genital support used in any sport be it running or tennis ... my boys typically possessed two jockstraps, a standard jockstrap without a cup pouch, and one with cup for games like cricket or field hockey.

Comments by Andrea on 18th April 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

June & Chris G

When he was in the 3rd year at secondary, my Ex and his classmates were told by their PE teacher that wearing a jockstrap would reduce the chances of them 'doing themselves an injury' now they were starting to mature.

However I wouldn't have thought a jockstrap alone would offer much protection against a kick in that area!

Comments by Ross on 16th April 2019  

Alfie, the kit we wore indoors was perfectly fine of course girls were allowed and expected to wear a tee shirt but us boys didn't care. The girls were also barefoot.

Comments by Andrew on 15th April 2019  andrew_bx@yahoo.co.uk 

Ross, although you changed separately from the girls was doing mixed lessons in the kit you describe ok?

Personally, I cant remember anyone mentioning jockstraps to us so we managed without all the same, with just shorts and pumps on. Incidentally, I presume when people say 'pumps' they mean plimsolls?

Was anyone told the reason why underwear was banned?

Comments by Ross on 14th April 2019  

Alfie, middle school was ages 9 to 13 and all PE was in mixed lessons and yes we had separate changing facilities. In reality the rule wasn't enforced and was there for hygiene reasons.

Comments by June on 12th April 2019  

Chris G
You are right in that a good PE master would advise on the dangers of going commando and to wear either supportive underpants or a jockstrap.

Secondly, my boys' classmates wore a jockstrap in preference to briefs, not only for PE but for all games. My understanding is that most men who've worn one see the value of a jockstrap.

Comments by Alfie A on 12th April 2019  

what age range was the middle school. Was PE a mixed lesson or separate and if mixed did you have separate changing facilities as you had to remove underwear

Comments by John on 12th April 2019  

Chris G,
We switched to topless PE in second year of Junior School, my older brother was already doing topless PE at Senior School which I was aware of. It made the transition to Senior School PE easier by already being used to being stripped to the waist. At Senior School we were not allowed to wear any underwear for PE, only shorts and pumps and it was never suggested that we should purchase a jockstrap. It seems that topless PE was being introduced in many schools when we were at school, Education advisors must have decided that this would be better for boys and I personally agree with them.

Comments by Ross on 11th April 2019  

Jockstraps were never a thing in my school years. Probably quite the opposite and in middle school we were told to remove our underpants. Our indoor kit was white shorts, shirtless and barefoot. Outdoors we were allowed a rugby shirt and boots when required.

Comments by Chris G on 11th April 2019  

We didn't have to go without underwear for PE at secondary school, but most of us did. At some time in my third year there, just after we switched to going topless, one lad got kicked in the "privates" during a rather boisterous team game session, at which point the PE master warned us about the dangers of going commando and advised us to either to wear supportive underpants or a jockstrap. I do'nt think any of us had ever heard of such a garment before, and none of us owned one at that point.

I didn't get one until a few years later, when I moved to another school for my 6th form years, and found that most of my classmates wore them in preference to briefs, not only for PE and games, but also as everyday underwear in hot weather.

Comments by Dan on 10th April 2019  

Andrea - Jockstrap was on our school games kit list.

Rob - Yes we showered naked (how else would you shower!).

Comments by Rob on 9th April 2019  

Dan, same with me; jockstraps were never mentioned at school and certainly not by our PE teachers and we had to continue wearing our shorts with nothing underneath until we left after sixth form. That was the way things were and we just accepted it and got used to it and I'm also sure no-one suffered in any way as a result. After all we were all boys and saw one another completely naked in the showers after each PE lesson. Dan,did you have to shower naked after PE and also take your jockstrap off?

Comments by Andrea on 9th April 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Your experience sounds the same as my Ex. He said their PE teacher advised them to purchase a jockstrap at the start of their 3rd year.

Was this how you were told, or did they appear on a uniform list sent home to parents?

Comments by Bernard on 8th April 2019  

Dan - No-one ever mentioned jockstraps at school - I didn't know what one was until some while after I left school. We wore just our shorts with nothing underneath - it was just the way things were and I'm sure no-one suffered as a result.

Comments by Dan on 8th April 2019  

Rob, Alan, Alfie A and others, why didn't you wear a jockstrap?
We were not allowed to wear pants but jockstraps were worn from 3rd form onwards.

Comments by Julian B on 8th April 2019  


I can remember the'ritual' of the jockstrap at school. Think overnight each and every boy had bought one ... another stepping stone toward manhood. Gosh how times have changed! Lord knows what ritual modern day kids follow today. But it was fun and simple in our time!

Comments by TimH on 6th April 2019  

I agree with John but I have seen 'somewhere' a comment that making boys do gym shirtless is tantamount to child abuse. I've also come across a remark about a lady who saw two 11 y.o. boys going to school in shorts on a warm day in October and reported the mother to Social Services for 'child neglect'. (I don't agree with either of these commemts, BTW!)

Comments by John on 5th April 2019  

ĎThe tide comes in, the tide goes outí, I think that over time things may change again. Throughout the history of mankind nothing stays static, it may take a long time. I still believe that wearing shirts for gym should be optional for males and not compulsory.

Comments by Rob on 5th April 2019  

I agree that it is much healthier being bare chested while exercising but sadly I can't see any way that PE lessons could return to the way most of us remember. From the start of our first lesson we had to strip off completely and wear just shorts and plimsolls. We never wore anything on top and it felt great being able to sweat freely in the gym and also running around outside and enjoying the fresh air. I felt decidedly hesitant at the end of first lesson about having to go naked into the open communal showers but quickly overcame my inhibitions leading to an increased level in my confidence.

Comments by John on 5th April 2019  

Exercising shirtless is a healthy and natural way for males to exercise. I donít see why lads cannot be allowed to do Physical Education shirtless if they want to. Having done PE with a shorts and shirts rule and a shorts only rule, I would always choose to be shirtless to exercise.

Comments by Andrew on 4th April 2019  

I found initially going without a top a bit daunting but never thought it was abuse either, but its now presumably unheard of and would be considered abuse today I would imagine- or at least not even contemplated.
Recalling experiences here is one thing but who would dare advocate its return these days, even given its merits?

Comments by Ben on 4th April 2019  

Interesting to read your post Drew C - it sounds like a really positive set-up at your school. Did I misunderstand or were you saying that the girls were actually able to choose which boys played on which teams? How did that work if every boy was bare chested anyway?
Normally at my school when we did the sports you mentioned, the teams were chosen by the teacher and the boys on one team then had to take their tops off. PE sessions weren't always done alongside the girls but they certainly enjoyed the opportunity to see at least some of us bare chested!
I definitely agree it's a good thing for boys to be stripped down for PE as standard - health wise and in terms of building a positive body image. And also no bad thing if girls are watching as it encourages the boys to work harder and stay in good shape!

Comments by John on 4th April 2019  

Drew C,
I experienced barechested physical education lessons too and totally agree with everything that youíve said. In no way were we abused.

Comments by Drew C on 3rd April 2019  

As a newbie to this I do not recall at any time being mistreated. We were all made to strip down to the waist for PE/Games indoors and outside for cross country and athletics during spring and summer. Punishment was being made to do a fitness test out on the field obviously bare chested regardless of weather or temperature, normally lasting a single lesson so you had to catch up after. Our teachers were fair but expected you to work and give effort regardless of ability, or lack of. Being made to strip at school was definitely a good thing. Girls were always keen to see us bare chested too, picking class teams for basketball, cross country and athletics based on what they could see in the gym or outside. When we were 11 one morning loudly suggested a lad sitting nearby should stop wearing a vest under his school shirt... and he did too.
Being stripped to the waist gives boys a sense of identity and proved a natural way to exercise. We often competed in inter school cross country competitions stripped down. That really narked some other teams but it allowed us to sweat freely and show our chests to others.