Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools

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Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 108,884         Comments: 514

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

514 user comment(s) below:-

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 

Hi,
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.

Lars

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  

Barrie:
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.

Comments by Paul on 21st December 2012  

I was always stripped to the waist for swimming so there was no problem for me in having to do PE while stripped to the waist.

Comments by Dawson on 6th December 2012  

Adam said “most dads would expect their sons to go bare-chested as a matter of course.”
This was also my experience. During the early 1990's my former HS track Coach encouraged us to go shirtless during practice. We trained and even competed shirtless, weather permitting. He maintained that having a shirt sticking to your back was unhealthy and clogged pores. His own son was always shirtless, no matter how cold it was.
My Uncle kept my teenage cousins shirtless most of the time. He was ex military and insisted on buzz style haircuts and a daily exercise regime. I recall a camping trip when they arrived without any shirts. Despite the cold nights they would remain shirtless and when offered the loan of shirts they refused. They had muscular physiques and encouraged me to work-out more, however that didn't last.
My Coaches son also had a great physique. It makes sense that being shirtless would lead boys to care more for their bodies.

Comments by Connor on 26th November 2012  

Yes Dave, my school was in the south of England and the reason was pretty much what you've said - the idea that making boys strip to the waist encourages them to keep their bodies in good shape. The change came about when I was 14 and a new head of PE decided that fitness standards among the boys needed improving. He sent out a letter to our parents explaining the changes that were being made and that included the new kit - basically our old kit minus the vest! And Adam's right about the attitude of dads, mine said going bare-chested would do me good as that was how they did PE in his day. I think it was mums rather than dads who complained. But the policy came into effect and I think it was successful, personally I definitely made more effort and got fitter. Also it was a great confidence boost when I realised girls were eyeing me up in the gym!

Comments by Adam on 26th November 2012  

In my school boys always had to be stripped to the waist for PE.It would have been no use getting your parents to protest and most dads would expect their sons to go bare-chested as a matter of course.

Comments by Dave on 26th November 2012  

I think boys take care more of their bodies if they aren't allowed to wear shirts for PE.Shirts are very useless. They're unsafe for some exercises especially for gym exercises.

Connor was it in the UK? What was the reason given of the minimal PE kit?

Comments by Connor on 25th November 2012  

Most of us felt very uneasy when we first learned we'd be doing PE with our vests off in front of the girls. There were several protests and a few boys got their parents to contact the school and argue against it. But the school wouldn't budge and made it clear that vests were no longer part of the permitted indoor PE kit for boys. So while the majority of us hated having to go barechested, I think before long a kind of macho pride took over and we wanted to look good in front of the girls.

Comments by Paul on 17th November 2012  

Kikoi,Maybe some do but when I was at school if the teachers made you go shirtless then you had to go stripped to the waist whatever you felt about it

Comments by Kikoi on 13th November 2012  

Don't some boys get embarrassed if made to be shirtless in front of girls.

Comments by Neil on 23rd October 2012  

When I started at secondary school I soon discovered that our PE uniform was shorts and plimsolls only.
Boys from another primary school to mine were apparently used to this as they were stripped to the waist for PE at that school.
When we changed for our first lesson these boys stripped to the waist at once whereas we were a bit slow to bare our chestsbut we had to do it.
We soon got used to it in the gym but when we had to do cross-country runs in the surrounding streets while stripped to the waist it was a different matter.
Even then we got used to it and after the initial shock I for one eventually rather enjoyed the freedom of being stripped to the waist.

Comments by Simon on 14th October 2012  

It was a similar story at my school if you forgot your PE kit - underpants only or shorts if there was a spare pair available. Sometimes boys would accidentally bring their swimming kit for a PE lesson and end up doing the class in trunks instead. Obviously getting it mixed up the other way round wasn't a problem, then you just wore your PE shorts for swimming.
However, if you forgot your kit for an outdoor lesson, you weren't made to do it shirtless and barefoot - instead you had to join whichever class was doing PE in the gym at that time. That happened to me once when I was nearly 16 and had to do PE shirtless and barefoot with a class of much younger boys. I was at least able to borrow a pair of shorts but it was still a humiliating experience.
As at Stuart's school, we had PE detentions - usually a fairly intense workout in the gym and for that you had to wear shorts only.

Comments by Stuart on 13th October 2012  

No one seems to have mentioned what happened if you forgot PE or games kit.

At my grammar school (early 70’s) for indoor PE if you didn’t have kit you had to strip to just underpants, which for nearly everyone was white y-fronts, although one or two boys had progressed to coloured versions.

With cross country you were given a spare pair of shorts, and made to run the normal course, shirtless and bare foot. With other games like rugby, again you wore just borrowed shorts, and ran laps of the field. Both of these punishments took place irrespective of the weather.

Anyone who repeatedly forgot kit would have been back in the gym for a detention session, which involved a workout/run, again in just shorts.

How does this compare to other schools?

Comments by Mark on 12th October 2012  

Like Toby I used to wear a chain around my neck in my case with a cross.I never took it off and can remember doing cross-country runs stripped to the waist with the cross dangling over my bare chest.

Comments by Toby on 28th September 2012  

I got on the wrong side of one PE teacher immediately for failing to take off the medallion I used to wear on a chain around my neck. He was really strict about kit regulations and warned me I'd be in serious trouble if he saw it again in his class. We had two PE teachers, the other one was more easy going and I continued to wear the medallion for his lessons but unfortunately the strict teacher was covering for him one day and all hell broke loose.
I had to take off the medallion, which he confiscated, and then announced that if I couldn't follow the kit rules he'd make them easier for me. Which meant I had to take off my vest, socks and shoes there and then and do the class in just shorts, barefoot and barechested. From then on that was my kit for the gym and for cross country I was allowed running shoes but still no top. It was humiliating as every other boy got to wear full kit while I was made to do each PE lesson stripped to the waist for the rest of the year.
Not surprisingly I had to put up with some pretty sarcastic comments from the other boys and those, along with cross country on a chilly morning, made PE a miserable experience. Even the other teacher's lessons brought no relief as the stricter one was head of PE and ensured that my punishment was always enforced. Even in the summer term when we did athletics on the track, I was the only boy who had to run barechested.
Eventually I got the medallion back but I never dared to wear it for PE again.

Comments by Toby on 27th September 2012  

I got on the wrong side of one PE teacher immediately for failing to take off the medallion I used to wear on a chain around my neck. He was really strict about kit regulations and warned me I'd be in serious trouble if he saw it again in his class. We had two PE teachers, the other one was more easy going and I continued to wear the medallion for his lessons but unfortunately the strict teacher was covering for him one day and all hell broke loose.
I had to take off the medallion, which he confiscated, and then announced that if I couldn't follow the kit rules he'd make them easier for me. Which meant I had to take off my vest, socks and shoes there and then and do the class in just shorts, barefoot and barechested. From then on that was my kit for the gym and for cross country I was allowed running shoes but still no top. It was humiliating as every other boy got to wear full kit while I was made to do each PE lesson stripped to the waist for the rest of the year.
Not surprisingly I had to put up with some pretty sarcastic comments from the other boys and those, along with cross country on a chilly morning, made PE a miserable experience. Even the other teacher's lessons brought no relief as the stricter one was head of PE and ensured that my punishment was always enforced. Even in the summer term when we did athletics on the track, I was the only boy who had to run barechested.
Eventually I got the medallion back but I never dared to wear it for PE again.

Comments by Andrew on 27th September 2012  

Different teachers often had varying rules about what they let you wear for PE. I had one teacher who didn't mind what colour shirt or shorts you brought, and others who would give you detention just for wearing the wrong socks!

Comments by Paul on 26th September 2012  

Our official PE uniform was vest and shorts but one year we had a new teacher who made us all be stripped to the waist both in the gym and for cross-country.

Comments by Connor on 30th August 2012  

I agree that barechested PE makes boys more inclined to look after their bodies. I left school as recently as the 90s and our PE kit was white vest, shorts and trainers until I was 14. Then a new head of PE came in and felt that standards of health and fitness were poor, so he increased the number of PE sessions per week and also changed the kit - girls stayed the same, but we boys now had to go barechested. That included the one session each week that boys and girls did together! At first there were some complaints from boys and parents but in the end we had to get on with it. Knowing that my body was on display to everyone, including girls, gave me an incentive to work harder in PE and I even started doing extra stuff like weights too. By the next year I was much fitter and receiving some complimentary remarks about my physique from girls as well!

Comments by Paul on 24th August 2012  

I agree with those who point out that "health and safety" dictates a lot of what happens in PE lessons today.Prior to the 1970's lads stripped to the waist for games whatever the conditions as a matter of course whether they liked it or not.

Comments by James on 3rd August 2012  

Brian, We were stripped off both outdoors and inside. We had to change into vests but our teacher split us either into all skins or teams of skins and vests. I should have added each house was split into 3 classes for each year

Comments by James on 2nd August 2012  

Hi Dave, Our's was a co-ed school in NE England in the 80's but we were separated for PE and Games lessons. The inter house competitions were a big thing throughout the school. Fitness competitions were a school thing and each house would select 6 boys from each year group to compete. The fitness competition comprised of repetitions of press ups, pull ups, squats, sit ups and shuttle runs. The girls loved it because they got to cheer everyone in their year group on, with the added bonus of seeing us all barechested and visibly sweating. Each fitness competition lasted for an hour, and it was pretty close to non stop activity. The winners took each other on in the final and the other 2 houses went against each other to avoid the wooden spoon.

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.



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