Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 101,792         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 Spence on 14th October 2013  

Jim RH
Did your nipples get hard and therefore more noticable on cold days, making you even more self-conscious? Also, were you prone to goose pimples in front of your more generously clothed female classmates? What exactly did the girls were? Were they allowed extra clothing, cardigans for example, on cold days?

Comments by Jim RH on 25th September 2013  

I don't really know why nipples in particular made me feel exposed, but I don't think any of the boys felt particularly comfortable, though the nipple thing was probably just me. The girls would tease us by whistling when we walked in the gym shirtless, or when it was cold when we took our shirts off after the warm up. Also, when walking past, they would deliberately brush their arms or hands across our bare chests.

Comments by Luke on 25th September 2013  

Jim HR

Why? were your nipples different from the other boys? Do the other boys feel the same way? Also how do girls tease you?

Comments by Jim RH on 24th September 2013  

I also used to have to be shirtless in PE. I used to hate showing my nipples and navel - I don't know why, it just made me feel exposed. It was especially bad when we had to do PE with the girls, as they would tease us and make us feel more embarrassed

Comments by Tim H on 18th September 2013  

@ Oliver - Hi - We did it because we had no choice and we just accepted it in the early 1960s. Resistance was useless ... There's a good discussion at http://www.historyworld.co.uk/photo.php?id=1607 too.

Comments by Russell on 18th September 2013  

Like Joshua I also had to get used to doing PE bare-chested after I changed school for the sixth form. I had a friend who had been at that school all the way through and from him I knew that the boys' PE kit didn't include a top. He often complained about how cold it could be in the gym, getting goosebumps on your goosebumps and that kind of thing.
Anyway, I had no idea that PE was still compulsory in the sixth form until I saw it on the timetable! With a wry smile, my friend confirmed that there was no change to the kit we had to bring just because we were in the sixth form - white shorts, gym socks and trainers. And that was all!
I felt almost naked the first time I got changed for PE - apart from swimming, I'd never had to do a sporting activity bare-chested before. I was a fairly slim boy and I couldn't help feeling self conscious as I looked round and saw some of the other lads with hairy chests and muscles aplenty. And as I stepped tentatively into the gym I realised my mate hadn't exaggerated - it wasn't half chilly!
Despite that it wasn't long before it ceased to feel weird, in fact it was often more comfortable when I got sweaty and didn't have a damp shirt clinging to my back. With hindsight, I wish I'd experienced bare-chested PE much earlier and I think boys today should do the same.

Comments by Dave on 17th September 2013  

Hi Oliver! Where are you from?

Comments by Joshua on 16th September 2013  

As far as I know there is no difference between a vest and a singlet.

Comments by Heinrich on 15th September 2013  

What is the difference between a vest and a singlet?

Comments by Oliver on 14th September 2013  

I am a 15 year old boy! I hope you guys don't mind me making comments!! I have to do PE shirtless indoors!
I notice many of you guys did it shirtless indoors and outdoors! We can wear a shirt outside! however a shirt is useless in cross country it sticks to you!! so many boys don't bother in cross country, I notice the white shorts in the picture! We can wear any colour. I prefer black it is
a classic look. I notice ALL the boys look toned in the pic! I have that sort of build, however many boys today are floppy and have obesity issues!! for these guys it is embarrassing but by being shirtless it gives them the incentive to do something about it if they want.
On rare occasions we sometimes have to do indoor PE with girls! The boys seem to be well behaved stripped to waist it seems to make us more calmer. the girls are able to gain confidence too!! there is no problems! I know at other schools this is not the case where boys where tops.
Many of you guys on here feel it was better that boys were
shirtless in the past!! I tell you what you guys you are right!!
it is kool!! I think I am lucky because many guys at school
at the moment do experience it! I think I am one of the lucky ones these days!! It is not widespread like it was all those years ago but there is some schools that require boys to be shirtless even now!! It is great!! thanks for reading guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments by Joshua on 13th September 2013  

After I had taken O Levels I had to move to a Sixth Form College to take A Levels.
When I read the uniform list I was surprised to see we still had to do PE and also that there was no mention on the list of a vest/singlet.
So when we had our first PE lesson I kept my vest on but noticed that all the other lads were stripped to the waist.
When we got into the gym the master noted me and shouted: You,take that b..... vest off and strip to the b..... waist like the rest.
After that I made sure I was always bare-chested like the other boys.

Comments by Neil on 24th July 2013  

I also was kept shirtless by my Dad for nearly all the time.
As soon as I got home I had to strip to the waist and remained bare-chested for the rest of the day.
I also had to have a No.1 haircut.
I was OK with being stripped to the waist but didn,t much care for the No.1.

Comments by Pete on 17th July 2013  

Comment to Matt

I bet the teacher kept his b...y vest on though - and more besides!

Comments by Nathan on 14th July 2013  

At my school we also wore vests for PE until a new teacher arrived and made us all strip to the waist. I remember one boy in my class seemed to know what was going on because he turned up to the first lesson bare-chested in just shorts and trainers. A few of us asked him why and he explained that his friend went to this teacher's old school and had warned him what to expect. We laughed, thinking he was winding us up or maybe his mate was winding him up. But it turned out to be neither, sure enough the new man arrived and demanded to know why only one boy was wearing the correct kit. The rest of us were ordered to take our vests off - and they stayed off for the rest of the year. After a while we got used to it and even when we had a different PE teacher the following year some boys opted to stay bare-chested.

Comments by Matt on 13th July 2013  

I well remember the first time I had to do PE stripped to the waist.
Our uniform specified a vest and that is what we used to wear.
However we had a new teacher who came in January 1963 in the midst of the worst winter of the 20th Century.
When we arrived in the gym the first thing he said was:"Get those b....y vests off.From now on you do PE bare-chested.Now get outside for cross-country."
We had to get used to it but when Summer came we all actually enjoyed do PE stripped to the waist.


Comments by Rob on 9th July 2013  

Like Chris our PE uniform included a vest but in our case a boy joined us from another school where he had done PE stripped to the waist.
On his first day he stripped to the waist as he would normally do.
When he saw him the teacher made all the other lads take their vests off and go bare-chest.
After that we always did our PE bare-chested.

Comments by Chris on 8th July 2013  

Our PE uniform also listed a vest/singlet but we had a new teacher who made it quite clear that we did our PE bare-chested.
We even had to be stripped to the waist for cross-country runs

Comments by Mark on 4th July 2013  

Like Matthew we had to do PE stripped to the waist even though the uniform list specified a vest.
Again we soon got used to it and quite enjoyed the freedom that being bare-chested gave you.

Comments by David on 5th June 2013  

Like Colin I couln't wait to take off my shirt and go stripped to the waist for PE.
In fact many of us went bare-chested as often as we could.

Comments by Colin on 4th June 2013  

I agree with Garry and I couldn't wait to go stripped to the waist as often as I could.

Comments by Andy on 24th May 2013  

All our indoor P.E had to been done in barefeet

Comments by Mark on 23rd May 2013  

I agree with Garry and I certainly couldn't wait to get my top off and go stripped to the waist as often as I could.

Comments by Garry on 22nd May 2013  

I don't know why boys complain about going barefoot and bare chested. It is fun and so enjoyable getting the shoes off and pull the socks off too. Let the toes do all the talking on the gym floor. All my mates love it. They wouldn't dream of wearing a shirt or socks and trainers. How so boring.

Comments by Mark on 13th May 2013  

I went to junior school at the age of seven we all had to do PE stripped to the waist and I vividly remember being outside in very cold winters bare-chested and wearing only very brief shorts.

Comments by Matthew on 12th May 2013  

Officially vests were included in the PE kit for boys but my teacher made us all strip to the waist without exception. I didn't like it but there was no point in arguing, everyone had to do it. After a while we all just got used to it and most boys enjoyed the chance to show off their developing bodies.

Comments by Roy on 8th May 2013  

Of course in the sixties you had no choice for when you were told to do PE stripped to the waist then you did PE stripped to the waist.

Comments by NIGEL on 7th May 2013  

Like Dan I had to do PE topless outside whatever the weather but I soon got used to it and again I enjoyed being stripped to the waist although compared to some of thbe hunky lads I was quite slim

Comments by Dan on 7th May 2013  

When I went to secondary school we had to do PE topless.
I wasn't very happy at having to strip to the waist in a changing room full of other lads but I soon got used to it and eventuaaly enjoyed it and even went about bare-chested whenever I could.

Comments by Mark on 7th May 2013  

I was kept shirtless by my dad for most of the time.
As soon as I got home from school I had to strip to the waist and I remained bare-chested for the rest of the day.
Of course I was bare-chested all through the weekend.

Comments by Adam on 27th April 2013  

I had to move to a different school to do my A Levels.
We had PE and when I went into the changing rooms I soon noticed that all the boys were stripped to the waist and with well developed upper bodies many also with hairy chests.
I soon got used to being bare-chested in the gym and also for cross-country runs.
Again we were in a built up area and the locals were watching us and passing comments about us which we could hear.
It soon got me used to being stripped to the waist whenever possible.

Comments by Seb on 18th April 2013  

When I was 14 my dad got a job in a different town and we had to move, which meant I transferred to a different school. Before I started there the school sent out a letter outlining the uniform I would be required to wear and also the kit I would need for PE lessons in the gym.
At first I thought there must be a mistake in the letter: the PE kit listed white shorts, white socks and plimsolls or training shoes - but no mention of a shirt of any kind. My mother rang up the school to check and was assured there was no mistake, the items listed were my full PE kit, no more or less.
I was horrified - at my old school shirts had always been worn for PE and it had never occurred to me that it might be any different. I was small for my age and also on the skinny side, so the prospect of doing every PE lesson with my chest bare, in front of people I didn't know, wasn't an appealing one.
I was dreading PE and, when the time came, I reluctantly trooped into the changing room and started putting on my shorts and plimsolls first. Most of the other boys changed a different way, taking their shirts off immediately. That didn't help ease my fears as some of them revealed upper bodies that made them look closer to 18! Eventually, of course, I had to take my shirt off and line up with the rest of them, feeling very self conscious and imagining everyone else was looking at me.
To my surprise, no one batted an eyelid or made any comment about my skinny body, they all just got on with the lesson -which proved to be quite intense. We had to work hard and I was soon covered in sweat, as were most of the other boys. They'd all been used to doing PE with bare chests for a few years and, as I got to know some of them, I realised they viewed it as no big deal. Before long, it wasn't such a big deal to me either. In the long run, PE helped make me feel more confident about my body and it's a shame boys today aren't helped to do the same.

Comments by Nigel on 5th April 2013  

I also well remember always doing PE stripped to the waist not only indoors but also outside whatever the conditions.
We all also seemed to be well developed and muscular young lads.

Comments by Pete on 4th April 2013  

As is said being stripped to the waist is the only real way to do gym etc.
These lads are all well- muscled and all look very fit.

Comments by Tom on 24th March 2013  

In the sixties there were many times when boys used to take off their vests and do PE stripped to the waist whatever the conditions.

Comments by John Lavender on 22nd March 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yQth3QEXtA

Here at this URL is a Video from across the Pond ; American boys doing Gym outdoors. This is another RT from the Burnley Grammar School Photo Thread, enjoy.
Any comments, either post on that page :


or email me direct.

Comments by Mark on 19th March 2013  

As has been said it was normal practice for young youths to be stripped to the waist and nothing was thought of it.
It certainly toughened them up and instilled a sense of discipline which is lacking today

Comments by John Lavender on 18th March 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com  http://yorkshirefilmarchive.com/film/childrens-day-leeds

Have a look at this Film; from around time 05'15" the film cuts to the Boys doing a Gym Display. They are all extremely Fit and well-drilled and correographed and of course, are stripped to the waist..
(RT from a post on Burnley Grammar School Picture page on this website):


Comments by Nigel on 15th March 2013  

I also agree that being stripped to the waist enabled you to sweat freely and for that reason I always went bare-chested in the gym and outdoors.

Comments by James T on 16th February 2013  

I agree. Our teachers always maintained that by being bare top for PE and Games we could and did sweat freely during lessons. We were split into 2 teams, vests and skins. By the end of an indoor session it was common to see vests sticking to boys backs at the end of an indoor session.

Comments by Pete on 13th February 2013  

I agree with Philip that doing PE stripped to the waist was normal in the sixties.
I think most lads quite enjoyed being bare-chested even outdoors when it was quite cold.

Comments by Philip on 13th February 2013  

Like so many others PE barefoot and shirtless was the norm for me at school in the 60s including cross-country, even in the winter. It was just normal, nobody complained - on the contrary, I think most of us enjoyed it and we were made to work quite hard so it didn't matter if it was cold. Schools are not doing boys any favours these days by letting them (or making them) wear shirts, shoes etc and I'm sure it isn't healthy or practical.

Comments by John Lavender on 8th February 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com 

Looking at this Photo is very enlightening; these lads are superbly Fit; there does not appear to be an ounce of surplus fat on any of them, and also superbly Drilled i.e. Coreographed . It is also understood that these lads would have been just lads from working and middle-class families and were obviously having their wellbeing taken very seriously by their Instructor and taking it very seriously themselves.. Great Photo.

Comments by Adam on 23rd January 2013  

At my school in the 1960's the official uniform for PE and cross-country was shorts only.
As we started cross-country in September by the time the weather got really cold we were used to being stripped to the waist and barefoot.
Again in the Summer Term we did athletics bare chested and barefoot.By that time there were of course a lt of hairy chests on display among the sixth form lads.

Comments by Kevin on 17th January 2013  

Hi Lars,
You should have come to my school in the UK then! Every boy had to do PE in white shorts and bare chest and that was the same until I left school at 18.

Comments by Lars on 15th January 2013  zarrer@hotmail.de 

I am Lars, 19 from Germany. Yes I like this nice picture. All these good looking boys, stripped to the waist, just in gym shorts....
since I am bisexual, I like the straight athlitic bodys.
People told, that the did cross county running during PE even in winter with snow and just in shorts!
I like that, and run also wtripped to the waist in winter across our near forrest.


Comments by John Lavender on 15th January 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com 

Good Photo. The only way to do Gym really.
We did Gym in White tees and white shorts but several of the Boys used to strip off their Tops at any opportunity and do the Class Stripped to the Waist. (Independent Grammar School, N-E England, early to mid 1960s).

Comments by Chris on 9th January 2013  

It was the same with me - the girls could see us in the gym and outside too. All down that corridor was re-inforced glass doors as the gym was also used for assembly and other things, there was also a stage and adjacent a large storeroom too. Strangely our teacher insisted on vests being worn going into the gym and then made each lad strip down, leaving a line of vests along the front of the stage. In the second year, the girls came up with a plan to get a better view so when they were outside they'd "forget" something they needed for their PE lesson so 2-3 girls would be picked to come into the gym to get it. They timed it so they'd come in just as we started to strip down. However for outdoor sessions we were all stripped to the waist before going out onto the yard or field.

Comments by Barrie on 2nd January 2013  

Dave:- This was in the 1960's.
Some lads didn't like having to go bare-chested while others didn't mind.Of course we didn't have any choice as we had to go stripped to the waist in any event.
We didn't have mixed PE but the girls could see us in the gym.
Also we often took our shirts off outside at breaks when the weather was warm enough.

Comments by Dave on 2nd January 2013  

When was it? What was the reaction of boys having to go shirtless for PE. Was it the same outside or only in the gym?

Did you have to go barechested in mixed PE lessons? You've written that girls admired your physics.

Comments by Barrie on 31st December 2012  

Like Dawson my Dad kept me and my three brothers shirtless for nearly all the time.
As soon as we got home from school we had to strip to the waist and were kept bare-chested for the rest of the day.
We were all well built muscular lads with hairy chests and No.1 haircuts.
It goes without saying that we all did PE stripped to the waist(and bare-foot) and because of our muscular phyiques we were admired by the girls and other lads who were less muscular were jealous of us.