Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 101,785         Comments: 457

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

457 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Andrea on 5th October 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Rose,

Did any of your teachers ever speak to you about wearing a bra if they thought your boobs were bouncing too much in PE?

I guess it wouldn't have been appropriate for your male teacher to do this, but did he ask one of the female teachers to? Our female PE teacher spoke to a few girls about getting bras during our first year at Secondary school.

Also, did he have to supervise you all when you were changing for PE.

Comments by Liz on 5th October 2015  

Hi -

We saw the boys a lot in summer when we'd be outside at the same time. In winter we'd be indoors when the boys were outdoors and vice versa so we didn't ususally see them. A few times they came indoors and used the gym at the same time as us and then we'd see them in just their shorts normally as they had to take off their outdoor socks and their rugby shirts. The gym would be pretty crowded and although their teacher would be in charge of them we would be mixed up, so while the girls might be using the vaulting horse the boys might be using the ropes for example.

Comments by Liz on 5th October 2015  

Hi Andrea

I guess my main feelign was shock! At primary school I'd been used to wearing PE kit so when we were sat on the benches in the changign room and our new PE teacher told us that we didn't need kit for indoor lessons and to take our clothes off, we weren't quite sure what it really meant. I think she probably knew we were a bit confused because she then stated very clearly that we must take all our outer clothes off and line up by the door wearing just our knickers. I remember she was very clear that anyone wearing a bra or a vest must take it off, and that only our knickers could be worn.

For me it wasn't too much of a practical problem not wearing anything on my top. I didn't wear a proper bra at that point but I think I wore a crop top more because it was what many of us did rather than because I actually needed anything. But it was still a very strange feeling to be in the gym with so little on, and some of the girls in my form probably did need bras! After a few lessons I began to get used to it until one day the boys lesson outside was cancelled and they came into the gym with us!

Comments by Andrea on 3rd October 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Liz,
How did you and your classmates feel about having to do PE topless in Year 7? I would have been OK for about the first term and a half, but I can think of several of my classmates who wouldn't have?

Comments by - on 3rd October 2015  

Liz, did you or classmates ever see the lads exercise barechested either indoors or outside? The girls in our class would often joke about us being topless outdoors especially if it was a cold day!

Comments by Rose on 3rd October 2015  

@jack

Yes in my case it was a male class teacher that took PE,country dancing etc. except for netball which a female teacher took.
He was quite elderly or so we thought, I guess he was probably in his early sixties and used to get embarrassed if our boobs bounced too much!
We didn't have showers or changing rooms at Primary school but of course we did at secondary school.

Comments by Liz on 30th September 2015  

the comments have been so interesting to read. Such a range of experiences from so many different decades.

I'm 28 so probably a bit younger than the average here. I went to a mixed secondary school but PE was meant to be single sex. I think someone way down the page said that they had to do it in their knickers and topless for the first term in year 7. That was what we did too, but it emerged on until PE moved outdoors in the summer term. After that we still did gymnastics when we came back in September for year 8, only now we were allowed crop tops or bras with our knickers! We carried on like that until our last year when we were suddenly allowed tshirts!

Comments by DM on 22nd September 2015  

John yes I remember the transparency when wet of the white nylon shorts due to having to run outdoors even if raining. But I don't think we were bothered.

Comments by John on 21st September 2015  

DM, we also wore nylon shorts and anything worn underneath could easily be seen. They were also chilly to wear in cold weather, clammy in hot weather and transparent when wet.
They were also tight fitting and very short inseam of about one inch.

Comments by aidan on 21st September 2015  

I think boys who developed chest hair were often more confident about showing off their bodies but it made no difference to their PE kit! Everyone had to do it with shirts off, period.

Comments by - on 20th September 2015  

Were lads who developed chest hair expected to wear a t shirt for PE.

Comments by DM on 20th September 2015  

John not only did they afford little protection from the cold, they were also nylon so if anyone attempted to wear any thing underneath it would be very obvious to teacher and class alike and so prevented any from doing that

Comments by John on 19th September 2015  

Roy, there were boys still in short trousers at my school in their second year (year 8) often when they were about thirteen. Due to my parents' insistence they indulged themselves of the practice of keeping me in the full uniform that included short trousers up to my fifth form (year 11) until I was sixteen.
Like DM's shorts they fitted tightly and left most of my legs bare.
If you were still in shorts at that age you were considered to be childish and immature.

Comments by John on 18th September 2015  

DM, yes that style of shorts was typical of the 60's/70's fashion. They were excruciatingly brief and took a while to become accustomed to wearing shorts that were so brief.
They was certainly a disadvantage wearing them, especially when it was cold, as they offered they little protection from the cold.
I could never understand why we had to wear them!

Comments by DM on 18th September 2015  

John I remember the brief style shorts. My school days was in the 60's and if people remember our shorts were similiar to the ones worn by the English football team at the world cup. They were very tight so I suppose they were their own support. It seems "tight " was the order of the day because my grey school trousers were very tight and my old fashioned underwear made things uncomfortable.

Comments by Roy on 18th September 2015  

I was at secondary school in the early 1960's and started wearing long trousers halfway through the second form(Year 8 in today's parlance.)
There were boys still in short trousers after I wore lolng trousers.

Comments by John on 14th September 2015  

In reply to DM, it was also due to my parents' insistence that I had to wear shorts to the secondary school that I attended and it was co-ed which often led to some embarrassment. I didn't wear shorts by choice and was unfairly ridiculed by my contemporaries for wearing shorts right through school. I was quite tall but this was not considered a reason to be promoted to wearing long trousers, neither was my age.

Comments by DM on 13th September 2015  

In reply to John, I aslo because of parents insistent I also wore grey shorts in Secondary school unitl I was consdired old or tall enough for longs. I think this was when I was about 13. Fortunately being 1961 to 1963 this was not uncommon and there were just a few other boys in the same situation. It was an all boys school and it may have be more embarrassing if it was a co ed school.

Comments by John on 13th September 2015  

Hi Andrea, I didn't even know what a jock strap was, let alone wear one. We wore white shorts and wouldn't have been allowed to wear anything underneath. We would have been punished if we had slipped anything underneath and they weren't those shorts we see in the photo, they were those brief styled shorts that were fashionable in the seventies.

Comments by Nick on 12th September 2015  

Hi Andrea
Sorry for my over simplification. I went to a boarding school where the first year at the senior school was the second form, jockstraps were worn from the beginning of the third form.
I too always wore a jockstrap for sport as an adult.

Comments by John on 12th September 2015  

In reply to DM, we also wore those grey shorts at primary school but they were optional at my secondary school.
I was dismayed when my parents chose short trousers to send me to my new school in shorts. I had to suffer all the trials and tribulations at school for wearing shorts simply to satisfy my parents.

Comments by Andrea on 9th September 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Nick,
I'm just curious, were Jock straps compulsory from the start of Secondary School (at age 11)?

My ex told me that at their school it was from the start of the third year (at age 13).

He always wore one for sport as an adult.

Andrea

Comments by DM on 9th September 2015  

in response to Nick. I attended Junior SChool in the late 1950's to 1961. All boys wore grey uniform shorts all year round. Long trousers were not thought about. For pe whci was done as a mixed class, we simply took off our shirts, and did pe in our grey uniform shorts and white singlet, which all boys wore as a matter of course under their shirts. No changing into PE kit so pants were worn. The girls simply did pe on their underwear and this was accepted as the norm. At Secondary school which was all boys as I have posted previously pe indoors or out was topless with short shorts no underwear and plimsolls no socks. We were never advised about or told to wear any support so no one ever did.

There were communal showers afterwards with a teacher patrolling to make sure there was no horse play and noone ever questioned it.

I do not know what happens nowadays.

Comments by Nick on 6th September 2015  

I was at school in the 1970s. In common with many others wearing underpants for pe / games was strictly forbiden, at junior school nothing was worn under shorts, at senior school it was compulsory to wear a jockstrap. I agree that pants should not be worn to ensure a complete change of clothes but I don't think that older boys should be expected to play without support.

Comments by Andrea on 24th August 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Jack,

Our class teacher was female and usually took the whole class (boys and girls) for PE lessons.

For some of the more gender specific activities (football / cricket for the boys and netball / rounders for the girls),two classes were combined and a male teacher took the boys and a female one took the girls. This was well before the era of girls football!

We were only in our underwear while we were actually getting changed, as both boys and girls wore T shirts and shorts (or sometimes skirts for the girls) for the actual PE lessons.
I don't recollect there being much misbehaviour while we were getting changed, although in the final year at Primary school, a few of the girls who had started to 'develop' and wear bras were allowed to change separately in the girls toilets.

There were no showers at our Primary school, so compulsory showers at Secondary came as a bit of a shock!

Comments by Jack on 23rd August 2015  

Hi girls, was your class teacher who took you for PE lessons male or female?
I assume that it was the class teacher who gave the boys and girls PE lessons since there were no PE teachers in primary schools, at least not in mine or any other primary school I knew of. Of course it was different in secondary schools, with gyms and PE teachers.
Also do you remember any boys or girls getting physical punishments during PE lessons for misbehaviour while in their underwear?
I am also curious to know if there were any primary schools which had compulsary showers after PE. We only had showers in secondary school.

Comments by Andrea on 16th August 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

I left Primary school in July 1971 and about 4 or 5 of my classmates had started to wear a bra during our final few months there.

My mum bought me my first bras during the last term of my first year at Secondary school, but I didn't wear one regularly until the start of my second year there.

What did you wear for PE at Secondary school?

Andrea

Comments by Rose on 15th August 2015  

Hi Andrea
I was at primary school from Jan 1970 - July 1976. I don't recall any of the girls wearing a bra at primary school, I certainly didn't start wearing one until I was 13.
I don't think many girls owned a vest either.

Comments by Tyler on 9th August 2015  

Neil, was it embarrassing being a skin? Were there any female teachers present?

Comments by Tyler on 9th August 2015  

Looking at Neil's post it seems that even to this day pe is sometimes done shirtless. was it embarrassing/difficult to be a skin?

Comments by Matt on 8th August 2015  

Neil, did you get to choose whether you were shirts or skins in PE or were you just told which team to play? Which did you enjoy more?

Comments by Neil on 8th August 2015  

I only recently finished high school (boys school) as well and we never had nude swimming (thankfully!!) although communal showers after pe and swimming were compulsory and were always done nude by most. Also, during basketball and football, there would be two pe lessons in the hall at once and not enough bibs for everyone, so we just did shirts vs skins. Remember this was only around two year ago.

Any questions go ahead. That's the whole point of history sites.

Comments by Roy on 8th August 2015  

I was at school in the fifties and sixties and although doing PE stripped to the waist was the norm-both indoors and outdoors including cross-country runs-we certainly never had nude swimming.
As being stripped to the waist was the norm we accepted it and eventually got to enjoy it.

Comments by Gerald on 7th August 2015  

I honestly can't imagine having to grow up in a time where shirtless pe, corporal punishment and nude swimming was the norm. I only recently graduated high school and thankfully never had to hAve this lack of privacy. If anyone wants to ask any questions, go on.

Comments by Paul on 4th August 2015  

Hi Jason,
I'm interested to know whether the shirtless PE rule at your school applied only to the gym, or were you ever required to do lessons outdoors with your shirt off?
We had teachers who would sometimes make boys take their shirts off for PE as punishment but it wasn't part of the actual uniform.

Comments by Jason on 3rd August 2015  

Dave,

no, it didn't take very long, we all lined up and our teacher walked along in front of us putting an X on every second boy's chest and then did the same on our bare backs.

Being shirtless was not an option and we didn't really think about whether we liked it or not, you just went on with it and you better not complained if didn't wanted to be mocked or punished.

Comments by Dave on 1st August 2015  

Hi DM and Pete! Thank you for all the answerings!

Jason: Wasn't that ink proceura too long before team games?
How did you react for and for having to be shirtless anyway. Was it a problem for more boys or most of them didn't mind it?

Comments by Jason on 26th July 2015  

Hi Jono

As we were all shirtless anyway, a method of distinguishing teams was needed. Rather than letting some boys wear a top, which our teacher would never ever have allowed, he marked our chests and backs with a big X. We had that method of marking until I left school at 18.

Comments by Pete on 25th July 2015  

Dave, I await DM's further comments but in the meantime I knew from the Uniform List that we had to do PE shirtless.
Teams were told apart by coloured tags on our shorts and yes we were barefoot as well.

Comments by DM on 24th July 2015  

In reply to Dave. My elder brother was already at the secondary school. However, my dad attended a parents evening prior to my going there, and came home and told me pe was white shorts, no tops and no pants for reasons of hygiebne because we would work up a sweat and we would not want to go onto other lessons in sweaty underwear. (Communal showers were available,but, because of the time limt to get changed and onto next subject very few lads had time to use them)
Tops were only worn for outdoor games, football etc. There was no set uniform for sport and we just relied on remembering who was in our team. Indoors footwear was the old fashioned black plimsolls,with boots for football outside. In addition when we did football outside it was the same white shorts and again no pants so could be very cold in winter. Even as we progressed through to the age of 16, unlike a lot of schools we were not told about , or wore athletic supports. Everything had to be held in place by your shorts depending on the style and cut. Usally a lot of bouncing about. If it was raining we still did football outdoors, which was not good in white shorts. Especially for those lads who wore the nylon shorts. However, one seemed bothered. Nowadays they all seem to be covered virtually head to toe.

Comments by Dave on 23rd July 2015  

Hi DM, welcome to the forum!

How did you get to know that you have to do PE shirtless? Were there a uniform list or the PE teacher told you at the first lesson what you had to wear?
How did you distinguish as all of you wearing no tops?
Were you allowed to wear footwear?

Comments by DM on 22nd July 2015  

This is a new sight I have just found. I recollect that at junior school, pe was mixed with boys wearing there normal vest and grey uniform school shorts. The girls were in vest & knickers. I am sure that the equality gang would object to that these days.
In 1961 I went to an all boys secondary school. Pe was done in shorts( much shorter than the ones in the photo) and tighter and as in those days no pants we allowed to be worn. As was the general rule no tops. The shorts were thin white and anyone tried to wear pants then it would be obvious. One lad tried to get away with and ended up be made to remove them and then got the slipper on the backside which wearing only thin shorts must have been painful.

As far as I know this was the norm in most schools. One of my friends who went to different secondary school where they wore black pe shorts would sometimes randomly select a couple of boys to check that they were not wearing pants.

Swimming was more civilised becuase it was at a public pool although hired exculsively for the school. In those days we all wore what are now described as "Speedo" type swim briefs but there was no designated colours.

Comments by DM on 22nd July 2015  

This is a new sight I have just found. I recollect that at junior school, pe was mixed with boys wearing there normal vest and grey uniform school shorts. The girls were in vest & knickers. I am sure that the equality gang would object to that these days.
In 1961 I went to an all boys secondary school. Pe was done in shorts( much shorter than the ones in the photo) and tighter and as in those days no pants we allowed to be worn. As was the general rule no tops. The shorts were thin white and anyone tried to wear pants then it would be obvious. One lad tried to get away with and ended up be made to remove them and then got the slipper on the backside which wearing only thin shorts must have been painful.

As far as I know this was the norm in most schools. One of my friends who went to different secondary school where they wore black pe shorts would sometimes randomly select a couple of boys to check that they were not wearing pants.

Swimming was more civilised becuase it was at a public pool although hired exculsively for the school. In those days we all wore what are now described as "Speedo" type swim briefs but there was no designated colours.

Comments by Sterling on 20th July 2015  

We we similarly attired for PE mostly shirt free! For some it was liberating freedom of movement and for others a nightmare!

It seems to have put a great many of sport as young adults and therefore damaged the health of the nation!

Jason, ink is used routinely in triathlons to number competitors, perhaps your teacher was involved, mine was but thankfully didn't implement ink at school!

Comments by Jono on 17th July 2015  

Jason, I too went through school during that time en we were outside on the yard or field, it was normal for teams to be shirts vs vests or if they decided, shirts vs skins or for everyone to go barechested which happened a little to frequently for some of my friends liking!

The teachers always kept a few "regulars" who were always made to strip down regardless. These tended to be the really sporty lads and how I fell into this category, I have no idea, but all the same I didn't mind being barechested, maybe it showed?

I'm surprised that your teachers chose ink rather than bibs or vests to distinguish teams, what age were you when that stopped.

Comments by Peter on 13th July 2015  

Like Jason, I hated having to do PE stripped to the waist and I regret having hated it so much. However, I can strip to the waist now and enjoy it. In a strange way, like Toby, I'm glad I was made to do it.

Comments by Jason on 12th July 2015  

It did come off under the shower, not always very easily but no problem with the help of a mate.

Comments by Spence on 12th July 2015  

Jason, how indelible was this black marker ink? Did it come off easily in the shower? Bearing in mind, you wouldn't have been able to see your back to check.

Comments by Toby on 11th July 2015  tbaird45@yahoo.co.uk 

Read your post Jason, it sounded familiar and I remember corresponding with you elsewhere! I was at school around the same time as you and also had to do PE bare-chested, dreaded it at the time but with hindsight I'm glad I was made to do it. Anyway let me know if you'd like to continue the discussion!

Comments by Jason on 10th July 2015  

I don't think that it was only a matter of changing times but depended on the kind of policy a school chose to enforce. I went to a school in the 1990's that had a barechested indoor for gym or sports hall PE rule. It applied to all lads 11 to 18's. In fact the PE teachers seemed to delight in enforcing the rule especially on the shy ones like me who detested it, which was quite a few of us actually. It was just a case of wearing white shorts, no top no shoes. What bugged me in the gym was team games, when we all looked the same up top. Rather than half of us put a top on to tell the teams apart on such games as indoor footy or basketball, we had teachers pick the teams and proceed to line you up and get a thick black marker pen and scribble a large cross right over the chest and the back of half the class.
Looking back I'm a bit sorry that I didn't actively enjoy all this barechested PE I was made to do.



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