Burnley Grammar School

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1959         Item #: 1607         Views: 687,886         Comments: 2,473

Burnley Grammar School

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There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

2473 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Ryan on 16th November 2018  

Hi guys, I was reading these posts and I noticed that I was not the only one who was “tortured” for punishment. Like Jason said, in page 2 of this forum, also in my school there was a sort of pole where we were tied if we did something wrong. It happened to me and it was not a nice experience because my school mate made fun of me. They punched me kicked me and also put on my chest water taken from sewage. Obviously I was bare chested too. I think it is unfair but it is an equal punishment because obviously if you “torture” one of you’re school mate then he can “torture” you so you cannot exaggerate. Have you ever tried an experience like this?

Comments by Rob on 16th November 2018  

Ross, no doubt you got used to your uncertain routine. We had two PE lessons per week in the gym, which might include a surprise cross country run through local woodland and countryside, but still wearing just our black shorts and plimsolls.In the summer we went outside for athletics or cross country. Plus, we had a double lesson, referred to as Games,for soccer in the winter, when we wore full soccer kit, or cricket in the summer. After all the above activities, apart from cricket, we always had to get our kit off and go in the open communal showers.Times have changed since then and it seems that generally this practice has been discontinued in schools.

Comments by Andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk on 15th November 2018  

James B,
Did the PE uniform list that went to your parents say that supporters were allowed from the 3rd year, or were you told this by your PE teacher (which is what happened with my Ex)?

He said that some boys could have done with one earlier, whereas others didn't really need one at the start of their 3rd year!

Comments by Alfie on 14th November 2018  

Yes John the nylon white shorts did become transparent when playing when pe was outside(football or cross country) At least it was an all boys school and no one seemed bothered, and the playing fields were secluded.

Comments by Ross on 14th November 2018  

Rob, we were allowed to wear trainers outside. Our PE lessons were 3 times a week and we’d generally do the same activity for a week but week to week we didn’t know what we were doing. One week could have been gymnastics and the next rugby or we could be doing a week of gymnastics and have a surprise cross country. So yeah we had to bring our trainers to every lesson and those that didn’t had to go outside and take part barefoot.

Comments by Phil on 14th November 2018  

@ James B, my experience exactly!

Comments by JamesB on 13th November 2018  

I attended a grammar school from the mid 60''s and our kit was as shown in the picture. The 'no underpants' rule applied and was monitored. From year 3 we were allowed a Litesome supporter which could be bought from PE Dept. Most boys bought one.

Comments by Rob on 13th November 2018  

Ross, so did wear plimsolls or trainers outside and did you know when you were going to need them or did you always have to bring them in case?

Comments by John on 13th November 2018  

Rob, our PE kit was white shorts and pumps and nothing allowed underneath the shorts. Black shorts would have been more sensible as the white nylon shorts of the 1970s could become transparent.

Comments by Ross on 12th November 2018  

Hi Rob, my uniform list actually required a change of underwear not that anyone checked or probably even dared to have checked. We weren’t however allowed plimsolls or trainers for indoor activities inside the gymnasium, it was strictly bare feet.

Comments by Rob on 12th November 2018  

Ross, It looks very much like the gymnasium at my school at that time.Our kit was just black shorts and plimsolls. We weren't allowed anything under our shorts, which was normal at the time, probably including the lads in the photo.

Comments by Ross on 11th November 2018  

Looking at the gymnasium it doesn’t look too dissimilar from the one I used in high school and I went in the early 2000s !!! This is from 1959.

The kits were different though as we wore a white polo shirt, navy shorts and bare feet.

Comments by Arby on 10th November 2018  

I agree with Chris G about wearing them under shorts, and even trousers, in the summer. They are a lot cooler to wear than briefs. I still go to a gym a couple of times a week even though I gave up playing actual sports long ago, and I still wear a jockstrap under my shorts there. I am possibly the only one who does - but who cares? I also agree with Chris that it is sad that shops such as Debenhams and sports shops no longer seem to stock them. I bought a couple recently via the internet. There are a few UK suppliers to buy them from without having to import them from the USA - even Amazon seems to have them.

Comments by Chris G on 9th November 2018  

Philip - For everyday underwear, Dad was very much a vest and briefs man, as were many men half a century ago, but with Singapore having a hot, humid climate, and taking the advice of both Mum and colleagues who had been there before him, he decided that he wouldn't need to take any vests but that he would need something less enveloping than his briefs but sufficiently supportive of his lower anatomy. Once back in the UK climate, he instinctively reverted to vast and briefs, leaving half a dozen nearly-new Litesome jockstraps up for grabs. Mum was all for throwing them away (there weren't any clothing/textile recycling oppportunities back then) but my brother and I had other ideas, and rapidly added them to our respective wardrobes. Alhtough we occasionally wore them in more formal situations, we generally wore them under shorts, both for sports and for general use in the summer, until they died of failed elatic, as most jockstraps do in the end. Even now, I prefer a jock to briefs in hot weather, although they are increasingly hard to find in the high-street shops. Until about five years ago, Debenham's had them in their Active Sport underwear range but, sadly, not any more.

Comments by Gavin A on 8th November 2018  

Arby and Chris G

Yes unfortunately the lifespan of a Litesome Jockstrap was rather short lived due to wear and tear, often found lying around damp on changing room floors etc. We could have of course just go down to the school outfitters and purchase a new one, but often, being boys, we couldn't be fagged. So often knots were tied in the straps to keep some kind of tension when the elastic went. Wasn't ideal but it worked to some extent. Yes, like you I have never stopped wearing a jock for sport. Like you l wear narrow bands. Youngsters are so spoilt for choice these days.

Comments by Philip on 8th November 2018  

To ChrisG.
Why did your dad just want jock straps to wear in Singapore and didn't want them any more when he returned?

Comments by Arby on 7th November 2018  

As with Chris G I too used to wear mine often. I found them to be comfortable. I still wear one under shorts in the summer. Very cool to wear. Although a bit difficult to buy in shops now they are not difficult to find on the internet. As you say Chris, the narrower waist bands are preferable.

Comments by Chris G on 6th November 2018  

Gavin, James - just the question I was going to ask. I think that I wore mine (and Dad's) for most of the first summer that I had them, and fairly regularly from then, until they wore out, which was generally when the leg elastic perished from too much washing. I still wear jocks in the summer when I can get them, although I prefer a narrow waist-band now.

Comments by Gavin A on 5th November 2018  

Why wouldn't you tell your parents about your wearing a jockstrap? Who washed your sports stuff?

Comments by Andrea on 5th November 2018  andreatwo 

I assume that it was the fact that you wore your jockstrap under your ordinary clothes that you didn't tell your parents? Presumably your mum knew you had one in the first place by the fact that it appeared in the washing basket?

Also, were either of your parents with you when you purchased it?

Comments by James on 4th November 2018  

In answer to ChrIS G, yes once our PE teacher had suggested that some of us would be ‘more comfortable’ if we wore jockstraps i got one. It was so comfortable and different that i would wear it for pe and games but also whenever i could, but i never told my parents.

Comments by Andrea on 4th November 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

In classrooms slippering was done over skirts, but in PE it was over gym knickers.
As it was an all girls school, we didn't have many male teachers. I can't recall any of them administering corporal punishment, but don't know whether that was because they weren't allowed to.

Comments by TimH on 2nd November 2018  

Likewise - Congratulations on reaching 2000 posts - and half a million views.
I'm not sure when I made my first post ... some years back, I know. This is always an interesting read ...

Comments by Danny on 1st November 2018  

1999 Posts!
So who is going to be the 2,000th poster?
Unless someone is waiting for his post to be approved I might be the one. :)

Andrea, how were you slippered or otherwise at secondary school, over skirt or some other way?
Were male teachers allowed to physically punish girls in your secondary school?

Comments by Andrea on 30th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Yes we girls became adept at putting on our PE shorts before removing our skirts!
Mixed changing did start to become an issue for a few girls who started to wear bras rather than vests in our final year at primary. They were allowed to change separately in the toilets. Was this the same in your primary school, or did all your classmates remain in vests until the end of primary?
By the time my son was at primary, boys and girls changed in separate classrooms for the final two years.

Yes we had corporal punishment at secondary school too. Fortunately I was quite well behaved, so it only happened to me on a couple of occasions.

Comments by Danny on 29th October 2018  

Andrea, it was the same at our primary school, we all changed in class, both boys and girls, into PE shorts and T shirt under the supervision of our class teacher.
It was no big deal for any of us since this was the routine throughout primary school.
It was actually easier on the girls since they put their shorts on under their skirt before taking it off while we boys had to take our pants off to wear our PE shorts.

Slipperings and sometimes the ruler were also more or less common in class, depending on which teacher you had that year. But during PE the teachers would usually just smack your legs or thighs or shorts bottom with their hand for misbehaviour.
The older teachers usually used corporal punishment the most while the younger new ones rarely used it. I think they were already being taught in their teaching course to avoid physical punishment.
Except for the first year or two in Secondary it was subsequently banned. Were you also physically punished in secondary school?

Comments by Andrea on 29th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 


When I was at secondary school in the early to mid 1970s, corporal punishment, was still reasonably commonplace. In PE it consisted of a plimsoll while wearing our PE kit (gym knickers and polo shirt).

At primary school we changed into pe kit (shorts or skirt and a T shirt) in class, but this meant stripping down to vest and pants before putting on our kit. Girls and boys did this in the same classroom; was this the case in your primary school?

Comments by Andrea on 29th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Gavin A & Chis G,

I think there must have been a similar spike in sales at the sports shop near the school my Ex attended when their PE teacher advised them to buy a supporter at the start of their 3rd year.

I had to buy my son a supporter and 'box' when he started to play junior cricket for a local club. I suppose the sports shop was used to it as they had boys size boxes close by the till.

I guess the equivalent 'right of passage' for girls - getting our first bras- was more spread out throughout the year, although underwear buying generally formed part of our back to school shopping trip towards the end of the summer holidays.

Comments by Danny on 29th October 2018  

What about punishments during PE?
Were you slippered on your PE shorts or having to take them down?
Or was some other physical punishment given?
When I was in Primary school physical punishments were given by teachers in class, but by the time I got to Secondary school it was outlawed.
I assume that most posters here are talking about their school in the 60s and 70s at most which was a different time when physical punishment was normal in most schools.
I also read that some primary schools did PE in just underpants for both boys and girls. Was this the case at your school?
At our school we all changed into PE shorts and shirts in class.
Also I was not aware before reading about it on the internet that some schools required boys to be nude during swim classes. How common was this practice?

Comments by Gavin A on 28th October 2018  

We had a school clothes shop or rather outfitters that largely catered for all our clothing needs. I think the shop were rather amused when year after year 'first year senior' boys would troop in asking to buy their first jockstrap! Of course some boys' fathers looked after them. As I did with my own boys, in due course.

Comments by Chris G on 28th October 2018  

Andrea - forgot to mention that when I changed schools for 6th form, I was a boarder. There were no facilities for buying uniform items or sports equipmenet in-house, ad we were rather too far away from the nerest town for shopping to be practical, so everything had to be bought at home. I remember my Mum got me my first one at home and posted it to me.

Comments by Andrea on 28th October 2018  andreatwo 

Gavin A,
As it was a boarding school did they sell supporters at the school, or did you have to wait until the next holidays to purchase one?

Comments by Frank C on 27th October 2018  

Gavin/Andrea yes I think peer pressure and coming of age had a great influence on boys second year onwards particularly amongst the Rugby team.

Comments by Gavin A on 26th October 2018  

Most started to wear a jockstrap at the age of around 13 to 14 in my school. I would add that I was a boarder. I guess it was either older brother or possibly fathers that were the main influence for some, but for the rest like me it was peer pressure and wanting to follow the older boys in order to be seen as one and not left behind. Might even be put down to a 'coming of age' ritual!

Comments by ChrIS G on 26th October 2018  

Did any of you wear your jockstrap as underwear outside of PE? Towards the end of my time at school, my Dad had to work in Singapore for a couple of months, and he stocked up with several Litesome jocks for daily wear. When he got back, he didn't want them any more, so I started wearing them as regular underwear. Mum thought it a bit strange, but they were really quite comfortable.

Comments by Bernard on 25th October 2018  

Adrian, Stuart - like you I never heard anything about supporters at school - I didn't play cricket but I do remember hearing about "boxes" from those that did. I see that some people who wore jockstraps were very keen on them but I don't think any-one at my school ever suffered as a result of wearing nothing under their shorts, or nothing apart from their shorts for that matter.

Comments by William on 25th October 2018  

At a boys' grammar school in the '60s boxes were available for cricket but I never saw or heard of athletic supports. Up until the fifth form we wore shorts but no pants for gym, athletics, cross-country, rugby and hockey. We thought nothing of it because we knew no different.

Comments by Arby on 25th October 2018  

Frank and others

We were encouraged to wear a jockstrap supporter by PE staff from the age of about 16. Certainly by the time we got into the 6th Form most of us wore them for PE and sport. It made us feel very "manly". They were good to wear. It is a pity that they are no longer popular with young lads although sports briefs seem to have replaced them.

Comments by Andrea on 25th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Gavin A,
If wearing a supporter wasn't mentioned by your PE teacher, then presumably the first boys in the class to wear them were influenced by older brothers or fathers?

Your comment about wanting one once your best friend had one reminds me of a few of my classmates wanting a bra when their friends had one!
How old were most of the boys when they started to wear supporters?

Comments by Jeff on 24th October 2018  

Frank/Adrian/Stuart, At our Sec.school in the 60s athletic supporters were never mentioned and don't know of anyone who wore them.
But we kept our underpants under our PE shorts so it would be different if they had to be taken off for PE as some mention here in their school.
We did not have cricket at our school either, only the occasional football game in the large school yard.

Comments by Jeff on 24th October 2018  

Paul, I assume that you were taken to the pool and supervised there by teachers. Were there ever female teachers or staff supervising the nude boys at the pool?

I recently read in a local paper of men complaining that they could not use the council pool changing and shower room during school lessons because there were female teachers supervising the boys in the male changing/shower room.
The school boys swam in suits but they were supervised by female teachers in the changing/shower room.
The teachers replied that they had strict instructions that they must not leave the boys out of their sight, including in the showers, for safety reasons.

Comments by Gavin A on 24th October 2018  

My experience too! Public school, late 60s early 70s. Boys in senior school not so much advised to wear a genital support but increasingly did so as they got older. I have to say that once my friend had one I wanted one as well. An almost 'becoming of age' ritual! Obviously we all wore a box for cricket but who wouldn't when batting!

Comments by Stuart on 23rd October 2018  

Adrian, I agree , never heard PE teachers make any mention of athletic supports growing up, but yes always wore a box when batting in cricket!

Comments by Frank on 23rd October 2018  


Strange! Just shows how schools can differ from each other despite our going to the same type of school and in the same time period.

Comments by Adrian on 23rd October 2018  

Frank - I don't remember anyone wearing a support; only so-called 'boxes' for cricket.

Comments by Paul on 19th October 2018  

Jeff, I don’t recall any lad feeling embarrassed from having to swim naked. We all had to do it and we just got on with it. In fact I feel that more boys were more ashamed about having to run around in bare feet!

This happened whoen I was about 12/13 and was at a pre set time which had already been arranged and we had exclusive use of the pool.

Comments by Frank on 17th October 2018  

Surely at the age of 16 you were allowed / if not encouraged to wear an athletic support! I went to public school in the 70s and we did.

Comments by Adrian on 17th October 2018  

I went to a public school in the 1970s. Our PE kit was white plimsols, white socks, white shorts, white T-shirts. No underwear for hygiene reasons. If you forgot any piece of kit, you had to do the lesson without it. I forgot my plimsols on one occasion when I was about 15 or 16 and therefore had to do the lesson barefoot (socks alone were not allowed because of the risk of slipping). I still remember how cold the gym floor was.

We also had shirts -v- skins in many lessons, including this one and I ended up a skin. At the end of the lesson we were sent for a run around the playing fields. It was actually very refreshing, but I recall the sixth form girls staring at me and felt self-conscious in front of them as the only one in our group wearing just one item of ccothing. Interestingly I still prefer to walk and run barefoot and shirtless to this day, and wonder if that experience had an influence on me.

Comments by Jeff on 16th October 2018  

Paul, sounds interesting and unusual being taken to the local council pool to swim naked.
Did any of the boys find it embarrassing and who was there to watch you?

I presume that these were arranged times when no one else from the public was using the pool. At what ages were you made to do this and was it compulsary?

Comments by Jason on 16th October 2018  

Hi, Roy. Yes, maybe. But it happened a lot of years ago. Anyway you accepted it at the beginning of the school, so it was normal for us this kind of punishment. It was quite normal that someone broke the rules in some way and was punished. You were a target for 15 minutes and the teacher wasn’t there during the punishment. So, after taking off your shirt and being tied, you were alone with other 20 boys who did whatever they wanted. It means everything ahah, but we accepted it, it was like a challenge, sometimes our chest became red for punches but we showed that we could resist to this