Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 75,460         Comments: 387

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

387 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Brian on 31st July 2012  

Unlike James our PE was always done stripped to the waist both inside and outdoors whatever the weather.I'm sure that the girls used to enjoy seeing the sixth form youths stripped to the waist many showing off their hairy chests.

Comments by Dave on 29th July 2012  

James, were your lessons co-ed sometimes having the girls with you? What does a fitness competition mean? Is it a public competition among schools?
Which decade was it? Was it in England?

Comments by James on 28th July 2012  

Our PE lessons were either done with all the boys stripped to the waist or with half left in vests. The girls all looked forward to seeing your vest coming off outside especially in autumn/winter when it was nice and cold.

When it came to picking the teams for inter house competitions obviously there was a lot of good natured banter about who to pick and who would they'd like to see from other houses. For inter house competitions like basketball, it was skins and vests and if you wore a vest for the first half, you'd be barechested for the second half. Fitness competitions were done with all the boys barechested and distinguished by different coloured shorts, while cross country competitions were skins and vests which made a change from everyone being made to run barechested....if your team was lucky enough to be picked to wear a vest!!

Comments by Tim on 26th July 2012  

I agree with Stephen that being stripped to the waist made us all concerned with keeping our bodies in shape especially when we did cross-country in the local area and the locals(especially girls) would be watchning our bodies carefully!!!

Comments by Stephen on 23rd July 2012  

Of course being stripped to the waist made you look after your bodies and indeed become quite proud of them!!!

Comments by Peter on 19th July 2012  

Nigel is right.Lads in junior school aged from seven to eleven had to do PE while stripped to the waist even outdoors in the cold.

Comments by Nigel on 16th July 2012  

In the fifties and sixties lads had no choice about what to wear for PE.If the rules said you did it stripped to the waist(and they usually did)then you stripped to the waist and got on with it.

Comments by Mark on 30th June 2012  

Like Geoff and the others we did PE stripped to the waist and accepted it as normal.It certainly toughened us up.It would do the hoodies we see around good to do tough physical exercise while stripped to the waist.

Comments by Geoff on 25th June 2012  

As has been said youths have it easy these days.When I was at school we did PE stripped to the waist both indoors and outside whatever the weather.This also included cross-country along the adjacent streets.The locals could be heard commenting about our bodies.However this meant that going about bare-chested made us used to seeing our torsos and made some of us proud of them!!

Comments by Colin on 23rd June 2012  

The youths of today need toughening up.Doing PE etc outdoors while stripped to the waist would be the right way to do this.

Comments by Alastair on 23rd June 2012  

Mike A is right.In the fifties and sixties we all did PE etc stripped to the waist and lads should be stripped to the waist today for games etc

Comments by David on 22nd June 2012  

Like Paul I remember one boy who never wore a vest for PE and eventually more and more lads followed suit so that the entire class went stripped to the waist.

Comments by Mike A on 22nd June 2012  

I've read many accounts with the same theme i.e. Vests or T-shirts being on the official uniform but being prohibited by the sadist ex-military PE teacher. Our official regular PT (as it was called back then) kit was white shorts and black plimsolls, no shirt, underwear or socks listed. No matter how bitterly cold it was, we still had only brief shorts to wear. We had weekly cross-country and just like The Yorkist on 16th April 2012, we also ran bare chest through the town to comments from the locals about our physiques. Unlike today their were no obese teenagers. We trained hard and cared for our bodies. I think the fact that our torsos were on display made us care.
I agree with Nigel, on 18th April 2012, that boys should be stripped to the waist. As with many fads and fashions we are following the example set in the USA where Physical Education is being set aside as school budgets are squeezed, and where it is still mandatory many schools no longer require a shower afterwards. Communal shower blocks have been completely decommissioned and used for storage. Many boys in the US are so ashamed and prudish that they will not shower together, hence sweating is avoided and instead of getting young hearts pumping they are tasked with expressive dance lessons!
In the U.K. we are following suit, as will an obesity and diabetes epidemic!

Comments by Jeremy on 18th June 2012  

Chris is right and we all did PE stripped to the waist(and barefoot)thinking nothing of it.

Comments by Chris on 8th June 2012  

21st Century youths have it easy these days!!!When I was at school we did games etc strip;ped to the waist anf just on with it.Anyone who complained would most likely be made to do press-up outside and stripped to the waist for up to an hour.

Comments by Colin on 29th May 2012  

I think the reason why schools want boys to wear T shirts is the influence of the PC/Health and safety zealots. I am sure that most boys would have no difficuly in being stripped to the waist and even those who initially didn't like it would come round to doing bare-chest PE in the end.

Comments by Roy on 24th May 2012  

I think that Paul and Dave are correct.When I was at school I had no problem about being stripped to the waist for games etc.I don't think other lads worried either and many of us went barefoot as well.

Comments by Paul on 22nd May 2012  

I think Dave is correct as I remember one particular lad who would always be stripped to the waist even when others wore vests.I don't think he even had a vest.

Comments by Dave on 21st May 2012  

I think most boys dont'mind being stripped to the waist even for P.E. They don't wear shirts for swimming lessons. What's the difference? So I can't see why most schools require shirts for P.E. nowadays even as vests are vanishing from P.E. kit lists being replaced by T-shirts.

Comments by Mike on 20th May 2012  

There seems to be some inconsistency.Boys object to being stripped to the waist for PE but many lads seem to have no objection to walking around bare-chested at other times.

Comments by Alasdair on 15th May 2012  

There was more discipline in schools in the fifties and sixties and if you had to do PE stripped to thne waist you just got on with it.

Comments by Gary. on 10th May 2012  

School rules said that you did PE stripped to the waist(and sometimes barefoot as well).If anyone complained more than likely he would receive up to six strokes of the cane while stripped to the waist

Comments by Richard on 6th May 2012  

Why are lads so reticent about being stripped to the waist for P E these days? As others have said in the sixties if you were a boy you stripped to the waist and thought nothing of it.

Comments by DANNY on 4th May 2012  

I too was always stripped to the waist for games and really enjoyed showing off my well-built body to all and sundry.

Comments by Adam on 3rd May 2012  

In the sixties it was normal for boys to be stripped to the waist for P E etc.I was from age five until eighteen and enjoyed the freedom of being bare-chested even in rain fog and snow.

Comments by Mark S on 2nd May 2012  

Like Dan I did cross-country while stripped to the waist and barefoot.This was in a built up area with all the locals staring at our bare chests.By the time I wa in the sixth form I was quite muscular with strong biceps and well developed pectorals.I also has a ginger hairy chest!!!!!!!

Comments by Mark on 26th April 2012  

Agree with Neil and Nigel.I was always stripped to the waist for P E.

Comments by Nigel on 18th April 2012  

Neil is so right.Boys and youths should be stripped to the waist as often as possible - for PE,games, and playing in the street and parks.Being stripped to the waist gives you freedom and a sense of exhilaration and allows you to get a sun tan in the summer!!!!!

Comments by Neil on 18th April 2012  

I started doing PE etc stripped to the waist as soon as I started school right up to when I left.It was perfectly natural and it led me to being stripped to the waist as often as I could later when I was at work.

Comments by Matty on 17th April 2012  

I well remember doing PE stripped to the waist in freezing fog and snow.It was tough but I got on with it.

Comments by Dan on 17th April 2012  

Roy and the Yorkist:-In the fifties and sixties I always did PE stripped to the waist as did all the lads in my class.It never did me any harm and was regarded as perfectly normal.It encouraged me to strip to the waist as often as possible and to this day I go about stripped to the waist as often as I can no matter what the weather

Comments by Mark J on 17th April 2012  

I too was always stripped to the waist for P E in the fifties and sixties and it did me no harm. In fact the experience encouraged me to go shirtless whenever possible and I now regularly walk around stripped to the waist.

Comments by Roy on 17th April 2012  

I'm glad the Yorkist agrees with me.I personally had no problems with being stripped to the waist at all times for P E.

Comments by The Yorkist on 16th April 2012  

Yes I agree.As a boy from the age of 5 until 18 I was always stripped to the waist for PE and from 11 I was barefoot as well and from about 13 it was also compulsory for boys to be stripped to the waist and barefoot for cross-country.For cross-country we would go through built-up areas and quite often we could hear some locals commenting favourably on our bare chests and well-built muscular bodies.

Comments by Roy on 14th April 2012  

It was good to see boys doing gym etc stripped to the waist.That is as it should be even outdoors in rain fog and snow.



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