Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 90,660         Comments: 434

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

434 user comment(s) below:-

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.

Comments by Pete on 10th July 2015  

It is strange that while vests and shirts are seemingly obligatory for PE/Games many youths are prepared to go about outside of school stripped to the waist.

Comments by Oliver on 9th July 2015  

Sounds like we were quite lucky when I was at school by comparison! I can't remember any boy ever having to do outdoor PE in bare feet. And apart from that punishment session, the only times I had to do it with a bare chest was for shirts against skins team games. But this was the late 80s and things had clearly changed a lot.

Comments by Roy on 8th July 2015  

Oliver our normal kit for all outdoor PE was bare chest and barefoot.

Comments by Oliver on 6th July 2015  

Thanks for your reply Roy. Was that your usual kit for outdoor PE or only for punishment sessions?

Comments by Roy on 3rd July 2015  

Oliver, the "Punishment PE" sessions were always outside and were always done stripped to the waist and barefoot.

Comments by Oliver on 2nd July 2015  

Roy, did the punishment PE sessions at your school always take place in the gym or were they outdoors as well?
I remember being ordered, along with a few other boys, to report back after school for punishment PE, which I assumed would be indoors and in full kit (vest and shorts). But the teacher had other ideas. First we were told to take off our vests, then we had to go outside and run laps around the football pitch. After several laps, everyone else was allowed to return indoors and shower, but the teacher told me I hadn't been putting in enough effort and made me run two more laps. Somehow those last two, running shirtless and on my own, felt more humiliating and I was so relieved when it was over.

Comments by Roy on 1st July 2015  

"Punishment PE" was quite common when I was at school and was imposed seemingly at the teacher's whim for minor breaches of the rules.
It would always be done outside usually after school hours from 4 until 5.30 or even 6 o'clock.
You were always stripped to the waist and barefoot.
If you were deemed to be slacking the punishment was another session of "Punishment PE".

Comments by Andrea on 25th June 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Early 2000's.
They did have the choice of skirts or shorts and the older girls who chose skirts tended to wear 'fitness shorts' under their skirts.

The other thing I recall is that by the final year at Primary, most of the girls seemed to be wearing tween bras or crop-tops rather than the vests that I wore at that age!

Comments by Katie on 24th June 2015  

Andrea, what a shame that your child's school introduced inappropriate PE kit. Skirts seem the worst of all for indoor PE! When was this?

Comments by Roy on 23rd June 2015  

Things have certainly changed.
When I was at primary school boys and girls did PE separately and changed in different rooms but the boys were always stripped to the waist with many barefoot as well.

Comments by Andrea on 20th June 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

It had all changed by the time my son was at Primary School.
The girls and boys changed in separate rooms after the age of about 8 and all wore T shirts and shorts or skirts for PE.

Comments by Katie on 4th June 2015  

I was at primary school until 1993. We all changed in the classroom, but since we basically just undressed there wasn't a lot of point changing in the toilets! At secondary school we had proper changing rooms near the gym, with showers.

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

Katie and Rose,

What decade were you at primary school?

I was at primary in the late 1960's boys and girls all had to change for pe in the same classroom, but that was only to vest and knickers as we put on our pe kit. When a few of the girls started to wear bras rather than vests (I never got to that stage at primary school!), they were allowed to change in the toilets.

The early developers did get a bit of a hard time from some of the boys, either trying to 'ping' their bras or making comments if they hadn't started to wear one yet.


Andrea

Comments by Katie on 25th May 2015  lcclinton4@yahoo.co.uk 

Hi Andrea

Yes, topless PE continued all through primary school. In the last year, there were some girls who were wearing bras or at least training bras, but they still had to take them off for PE and do it in just their knickers.

At senior school PE was single sex and for the first term of the first year we still did it like at prime school in just our underwear knickers. After that we has gym knickers as white vests.

Comments by Rose on 24th May 2015  

It was topless PE at my Primary school too for girls & boys.
Girls were allowed a vest in the final year if they had started to develope but hardly anyone bothered.
The boys gave you a harder time if you wore a vest than if you left them bare!

Comments by Pete on 23rd May 2015  

To John Lavender:-
When we started doing PE stripped to the waist we did normally wear different coloured shorts depending upon our houses etc.
It was difficult with touch games etc having to try to grip others' bare backs!

Comments by John Lavender on 22nd May 2015  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com 

Good Afternoon Pete

After your Class converted to doing PE Stripped to the WAist, how did you tell Teams apart when doing Gym-Games?

Did you wear different-coloured Shorts , for example , if you had different 'Houses' did the Different Houses have a different House Colour for the Shorts?

Did the fact that you were all Topless not cause some confusion in Game-situations, like Rucks or Group-Tackles?

Comments by Pete on 21st May 2015  

At my secondary school the official PE uniform was vest and shorts but a new boy joined us mid-term and at his previous school no vests had been worn.
He didn't have a vest and appeared in the gym stripped to the waist and gradually more and more of us removed our vests so that eventually the master in charge told the boys still wearing vests to remove them so that we were all stripped to the waist.

Comments by Charles on 19th May 2015  

When I moved up to my first secondary school, PE kit was shorts and vest, styles unspecified as long as the colour was white. Back in those days most kids wore vests as underwear all the year round, so making underwear vests double as PT kit made sound economic sense (this was the mid 1950s, with clothes rationing still a recent memory). After I had been at this school for a couple of years, the powers that be decided that it would be healthier for us to do PE topless. I don't remember anyone in my class objecting to this, although my mother, who regarded vests as year-round essentials for young and old alike, wasn't too keen on the thought of me going bare-chested for an hour or so several times a week, and even less keen once it dawned on her that I had worked out that not wearing a vest for PE was a good excuse for not wearing a vest to school on PE days and, by extension, for not wearing a vest at all, a project I had been working on for a couple of years.

Comments by Andrea on 17th May 2015  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Katie,

Was your PE topless until the end of Primary School?
That would have been OK for me, but would have been embarrassing for a few of my classmates who had developed enough to be wearing bras during our final year at Primary.

What was you Secondary School PE kit like?

Comments by Katie on 13th May 2015  

I did PE at primary school like other peole have posted. Indoors we did everything in our bare feet and boys wore just their underpants and girls wore just knickrs. We weren't allowed to wear vests even when we were older. I don't remember anyone doing PE naked apart from one time when we had all got wet through playing with water so our teacher made us undress completely before PE.

Comments by Billy on 25th April 2015  

I went to a mixed primary school. We did PE together, in knickers/underpants, all 'topless'. Some pranksters (not me, I was too shy) used to wait until the teacher's back was turned and then lower their pants - I don't remember anybody getting caught, but I reckon the teachers knew more than we realised! Did that happen anywhere else?
At grammar school (boys only) we did PE bare chested in white shorts and plimsolls, and in summer had swimming lessons in the school's own open-air pool. If you forgot your trunks, you had to swim naked - gym shorts weren't allowed. One lad 'forgot' his trunks so often we were sure he did it deliberately - perhaps he just enjoyed swimming in the nude!
Fortunately everything was out of sight of the girls' school next door! I've no idea what they wore for PE.

Comments by Julian on 22nd April 2015  

Like Roy I attended a mixed school with PE being done separately so again I didn't know what the girls wore but boys were always stripped to the waist.
This included the cross-country runs. Initially I was scared of the prospect of running through the streets while stripped to the waist but I soon got used to it and eventually I had a hairy chest as well and felt quite macho!!!



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