Burnley Grammar School

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Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 991,582
Item #: 1607
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

Comment by: TimH on 10th October 2021 at 14:33

@Bran - Thanks for bringing these to our attention - they're an interesting sociological/ historical group ... but ... I think it wrong that they've been posted 'openly' on the www. In a 'Friends Reunited' type group on Pestbook, with closed access, OK but to public view - no. Did he contact the 'youngsters' before putting these up?
Even if all of this is innocuous they shouldn't be on a TP personal webpage.
(One further sentence deleted)

Comment by: Bran on 10th October 2021 at 09:54

I have an interest in history, especially the history of ordinary people so I sometimes search out old photo's on-line. I just found some of interest to this site. Here are the links:

The taker of these photos' tells us he entered teaching because "I was already running, boys clubs, youth clubs, football teams, so I decided that teaching would be the path for me." He entered teaching in 1983 so just before my first middle school PE experiences.

The photos show mostly smiling boys of I guess around 10 stripped down to just shorts posing while the teacher takes pictures of them. From my experience I would say that many of these boys are much less happy about the teacher's minimal kit preference than is shown. My guess is that this teacher gathered a sizable collection of photo's of young boys posing semi-naked during his years as a PE teacher, the reason he gives is that he enjoyed photography. Was this appropriate?
It is a mixed class and the girls of course are modestly attired so the bare chest policy is not safety related, my guess it was a mix of discipline and voyeurism which dictated the boys kit. Was this teachers policy of keeping his 10/11 year old boys bare chested for PE right into the 1990's still appropriate.

It might be just me but the reasons he gives for entering teaching, his choice to become a PE teacher and his free use of the camera to record his boys (and girls) makes me suspect his motives. What do you think?

Comment by: Ross on 10th October 2021 at 06:56

We were given the choice of shirts or shirtless. To distinguish different teams we wore different colour bands over our chests. Always barefoot though no footwear allowed as school rules

Comment by: John on 9th October 2021 at 19:09

Were you given a choice to be shirtless if you wanted to be or were you only shirtless if you played as a skin for shirts vs skins team games?.

Comment by: Ross on 9th October 2021 at 07:14

Nice and modern in 1959 but come 2002 my school was probably using the exact same style gymnasium with polished wooden floors and wall bars and equipment. We weren't allowed plimsolls or trainers though and was strictly bare feet in the gym. We wore white shorts and white tee or shirtless.

Comment by: Alan on 7th October 2021 at 16:26

Thanks Claire, You could just tell it was the ramblings of a fantasist, by the repetition of certain words and phrases. I didn't think of Googling her. What a pity on a fairly serious site people like that have to abuse it.

Comment by: Claire on 7th October 2021 at 11:28

Googling for "Linda Jansen" and "nude" shows that this author posted this same fantasy (with minor text variations) on Quora.com a dozen times or more in the month of December 2019 alone!

Comment by: Alan on 7th October 2021 at 03:49

LInda: You cite as proof a piece of film made in 1931. NOT 1974. I can believe it happened in the 1930s, but forty years later?..... I doubt it. Sorry.

William: What are we to make of a post which mentions the word "nude", or "naked" or "nudity" THIRTY SIX times?. I counted them, but I can't guarantee I counted them all. There was also a dime store sex novel term about the females "getting a little wet" when the boys undressed, and the girls saw the erections. I wonder how many of our readers really believe this story? - do you?.

According to this woman she and her friends went to the library "naked", she and her friends "drove nude" - you try putting your bare feet on the metal controls of a modern car and operating them, let alone one in circulation 47 years ago. I should have thought that the bible belt in America, still very vocal in the 1970s would have had something to say about that. A nice fantasy for those who like that sort of thing. I don't - I look for fact and honesty, I sometimes find instead exaggeration and, frankly disturbing fantasy passed off as fact.

Comment by: William on 7th October 2021 at 02:59

Alan, the communist thing was just a little joke, the priest was complaining about boys being unfit to fight communists in that movie scene I posted.

As for USA, see these:

Comment by: William2 on 6th October 2021 at 21:25

Alan, Look closely and you will see that you've got the wrong William.
I don't know if Linda is a fantasist. There is serious historical material to support much of what she says about boys' nudity in US schools and the change in attitude towards non-sexual nudity. An article in Life magazine from 1941 on Democracy in US schools has a photograph of boys showering naked. Apparently no-one complained.
As for insults, you need only look back at your comments over the past year to see what I mean. They stifle discussion which is a shame because you've made some thoughtful points.

Comment by: Linda Jansen on 6th October 2021 at 20:06

It is okay to doubt me Alan but this is one example of a school sports days I used to attend. You must remember there were different standards then to what we have now.


Comment by: Alan on 6th October 2021 at 13:25

William, Are you really so gullable you believe that nonsense in Linda's post?. She was obsessed with the word "nude" she used it three times in one two line paragraph alone. "Nude" and "naked", in the 1970s in America?. Unless she was attending one of those hippy commune schools, I frankly don't believe a word of it.

It is not an "insult" to suggest there are several posters here who have the strangest and most unsavoury fetishes. I thought I was quite gentle with poor Linda and her fantasies. You yourself in recent days have presented us with two videos showing naked lads. It seems a somewhat odd preoccupation for an adult male.

While talking about "insults", I didn't like your suggestion that I was a communist. God alone knows what strange fantasy of yours inspired that weird thought.

It is a shame that a site such as this should eb inspiring odd thoughts and wishful thinking. It should be based on fact, and I would put it you that Linda's post was pure fabrication.

Comment by: William2 on 6th October 2021 at 09:55

Linda, You should know that Alan insults everyone who contributes anything that is different from his own opinion, usually by insinuating sexual perversion of one sort or another.

Comment by: Alan on 6th October 2021 at 04:07

Linda. Here in Britain we have a long running game show on radio called "Just A Minute". Four contestants are given a subject and they have to talk for sixty seconds without hesitation, deviation (from the subject on the card) or repetition.

If we were playing the game on this thread I would have you for repetition of the word "nude". That there is deviation there is no doubt.

I honestly think a psychiatrist would have a field day if he/she were to read some of the messages on this thread. It hardly matters whether the stories are true or not, it is what the participants would have LIKED to have happened.

Comment by: Linda Jansen on 5th October 2021 at 19:11

I went to high school in New York state, class of 1974.

Not only did we watch, we swam naked with them and did sit ups, push ups, jogging etc with them. Not all schools segregated the males and females.

We also attended other events in which the boys were nude and for us girls it was optional for us to go nude. Several girls chose to go nude and it was perfectly fine.

It wasn't a requirement for us girls. It was optional. All but two girls stripped naked when they were told they had that option. Not only did we swim naked, but we did sit ups, push ups, and jogging naked. This was during the 70s and not only did the girls strip naked so did the guys. I think it was mandatory for the guys to swim naked. But it was a lot of fun watching the guys get stiff as we stripped!

We also had other nude events at school such as fundraisers, track meets, and nude protests. As I mentioned in other posts it wasn't uncommon to see guys and girls walk to their cars nude after gym class or after track meets.

Nude protests to end the Vietnam war were common also. Both guys and girls participated.

During the 60s and 70s nudity was embraced by just about everyone. In the 1980s all of that changed when new laws to prohibit nudity were enacted.

My older sister wore a tie dye skirt with nothing underneath to Woodstock. I protested nude with other men to end the war in Vietnam.

Other times we were naked in school included our class walking to the library nude.

My friends and I rode bicycles nude when I was a little girl.

It wasn't uncommon to see girls and guys walk to their cars nude and drive off nude after gym class, swimming events. and track meets.

We often rode the bus nude to swimming events and meets.

There was a fundraising event at school in which a booth was set up and two other girls and I decided to be nude for the fundraiser. We only wore beaded necklaces and a headband.

The guys did a fundraiser nude also.

A friend of mine from another school told me that she was in a nude beauty pageant at her school.

I drove my car nude to several events.

My parents went nude also, and told me and my sister that they also had nude events when they were in high school. My dad graduated in 1949, and my mom graduated in 1953 by the way. So even back then nudity was common and accepted.

Nudity seemed to be popular until the early 1980s and then anti nudity laws and ordinance bans prohibited freedom of expression involving nudity and that's why you don't see people involved in nude activities today.

If I did half the things I was able to do and did when I was a teenager now, I would be arrested and sent to jail for a few months.

I noticed a lot of other people my age and younger who are saying that never happened in high school. I'm not sure where some of you attended high school, but swimming nude was mandatory in most schools in the U.S. even after I graduated.

In many schools nude PE and nude swimming was mandatory for boys. In some schools like the high school I attended beginning in 1970, boys had to be nude for PE and swimming. For girls it was optional. We were given the option to go nude for PE, swimming and other sports. Again this was common and acceptable during that time.

The girls were called into our gym teachers office and he told us to sit down. Once seated he said “Ladies, the boys have to be nude for PE.” We all began to giggle. Then he said “ But you ladies have the option to participate nude if you desire to.” We snickered even more. Then he asked us if any of us had a problem with it. No one said anything. Then he motioned for us to get up and we walked to the gym. On one side of the gym was the boys and we were on the other side. The gym teacher told the boys to strip. They stripped first. Then he looked at us and said “if you ladies would like to strip, please do so now.” All but two girls got naked. I watched the boys get aroused very quickly. The other girls saw it too and we all began giggling. A female assistant teacher who was older said “Girls, no giggling. An erection is a natural function of the male body. It just means they have healthy bodies.”

Did it it turn me on when I did PE with the guys? Yes! But we were watched closely. We had to follow the rules even though some of us were a little wet. Eventually we got used to it, and it wasn’t as stimulating as it was at first.

Comment by: Alan on 5th October 2021 at 04:15

William - though it is none of your business, NO, I am NOT a communist - far from it. What on earth prompted that remark?

Politics aside, you seem to enjoy YTs of naked boys. I'd worry more about that than who I vote for, if I were you.

Comment by: William on 4th October 2021 at 06:57

Alan, are you a communist?


Comment by: Alan on 28th September 2021 at 12:09

William - what does that get filed under? - necrophilia or paedophilia?

Comment by: Fiona on 28th September 2021 at 10:19

William - the operative word is "was". It's dated 1919, over 100 years ago!

Comment by: William on 28th September 2021 at 03:34

This is Strömbadet in Stockholm.


Comment by: Bran on 24th September 2021 at 14:46

I guess it was more comfortable wearing just shorts when the weather was warm. It was certainly nice riding a bike shirtless. I wore shorts at home during the summer all the time until I was 13.

Comment by: James on 24th September 2021 at 10:47

Bran,did you find it more comfortable wearing just your shorts for playing in the garden than your jeans and sweater?UP to what age did you wear shorts at home?

Comment by: Bran on 23rd September 2021 at 11:46

Did anyone else ever have to do public displays of gymnastics while being shirtless?

Comment by: Bran on 23rd September 2021 at 11:44

They could easily have allowed the PE vests to be worn for athletics John as they were not being used for gymnastics at that time. The strict adherence to games kit for all games, PE kit just for indoors was ridiculous.

Comment by: John on 23rd September 2021 at 08:36

It’s clear that the summer athletics kit should just have been socks and trainers, there was no point in making you wear a ridiculously hot rugby top only to have to take it off.

Comment by: Alan on 23rd September 2021 at 07:33

Chris - why is that even important?. Brad has quite clearly stated in terms he felt cold and uncomfortable. A better question would be to question the motives of schoolteachers, who, as late as the late 1980s still felt it necessary to humiliate boys like Brad, to indulge their bare feet and bare chest fetishes. It is bad enough it happened 70 years ago - to know it was still going on this late (when certain websites were available to assist with all kinds of kinks, were freely available) is appalling. It really does make you wonder if any schools still have perverted PE teachers who still get their thrills in this manner. They seem to be a law unto themselves.

Comment by: Bran on 23rd September 2021 at 06:40

It was a mixed school but there were two gymnasium so we did not exercise indoors together. The only time the girls got to see us stripped was at the start of the lesson when both boys and girls had to line up in the same area before entering the gym. Then we were very close to them because it was a small area.
For games outside we did athletics together so when we stripped off because of the heat they would have been very close and would have been able to watch us for the whole 2 hours.

Comment by: Chris on 22nd September 2021 at 22:53

Bran, was this a boys only school or did girls attend your lessons too?

Comment by: Bran on 22nd September 2021 at 08:38

I went from a primary school to a Middle school at the tender age of 9 years and 1 month in 1985. The Middle school was on the same site as the high school and shared the sports facilities but was otherwise totally separate. I attended from 9 till 12 years old when I moved up to the High school. I was a shy 9 year old and very average when it came to physical ability but I was never an overweight child. I was also an only child, the little boy of the family, soft and spoilt. I remember nothing at all about primary school which is kind of odd as my recollection of PE and games at Middle school are still very vivid. I think I can put that down to the shock of the discipline, the hard physical demands and strict dress code the new school imposed on me.
We had a full afternoon games session, in that first year it was the Friday slot so the last thing to endure before the freedom of the weekend. First term it was rugby, second term it was cross country and summer term it was athletics and sometimes softball. For rugby we wore a royal blue rugby shirt with a broad horizontal gold band with black cotton shorts with no underwear, knee length blue socks and boots. It could be bitterly cold out on the windswept pitch so you had to keep moving that winter. Legs would be red and sore but at least the thick shirt kept the upper body warm. The very same kit (except boots swapped for trainers), served for summer athletics when the opposite would be true, the thick long-sleeved rugby top making you sweat unbearably in the heat as you ran around the "all weather" hot and dusty track. I remember those four summer terms as long and hot. I liked the sprints but the long 800/1500 and 4000m races were very hard at 9. Needless to say the totally impractical top had to come off despite my shyness and the long socks were left back in the changing room. I ran like all the other boys in just shorts and trainers most of the time. The teachers took this for granted, they may even have suggested the revised kit which would have been more of a command. Under no circumstance would the more practical indoor kit have been allowed, that was just for PE. Cross country also used the rugby kit. As the weather was colder in Easter term you ran in shirts although some did discarded them as the weather warmed a bit. Being shy and never happy with a bare top, I was one to always run with a top on even as the temperature rose and I worked up a good sweat. I hated cross country. The courses were very long for a 9 year old and exhausting. They were always run around the local streets so never true cross country more like mini-marathons. We must have been very fit by Easter but I suffered for it.
We had two hours of indoor PE split between two mornings each week. For this the kit was a royal blue cotton vest, short legged white cotton gym shorts, short white gym socks and white trainers. That's what the schools official kit list said. For the first term we did some serious fitness training, for second term basketball and for summer term gymnastics. The gym teachers spelled out the kit they wanted at the first lesson of each term as we changed. Fitness training was to be done stripped to the waist in just shorts and trainers, no socks, gymnastics was to be done in just shorts and bare feet. Only in basketball did the vest serve a purpose and then only half the time as all games were played shirts vs skins. Once chosen at the start of the lesson to be a skin you remained a skin though-out the lesson, my recollection is that I was a skin most of the time, I think now that was because one teacher recognised my shyness and picked on me for it being a natural bully. The knowledge that I would be almost always stripped to the waist for PE made me hate the lessons. PE was purgatory because of the humiliation and extremely hard work. At that school PE and games were used to produce fit kids without doubt. It was almost like army boot camp.
I didn't get much escape at home either those summers. My mother got tired of my shyness now I was a middle school boy, my wearing of jeans and even sometimes sweaters when the weather was warm. Whenever she decided it was sunny enough I was now ordered to play in the garden in shorts, barefoot and shirtless because it was good for me. Even when I went for a bike ride which at that age I loved to do I was made to leave my top at home. You might think that all the enforced minimal clothing at school and home would eventually eliminate the shyness but that never happened.
I remember a particularly embarrassing day from that first year at middle school. Did your schools have open days when parents were invited in to see us kids in class and see displays of our work. We did I think about once per term. That summer term my class was chosen to be the gymnastics display in the gymnasium. At 9/10 years old we were all very flexible and had some skills. It meant that for 3 hours and 20 minutes, the full morning, we were made to perform for every parent who wanted to see the gym. For this occasion you might think they would want us to show off the full indoor kit which was pretty smart looking but no, teacher ordered us into our very short white gym shorts with he usual bare tops and bare feet. Hundreds of parents must have seen me vaulting and stretching whilst almost naked and I was a very shy little lad. I bet the men who stayed longest watching us exercise were the ones with a sexual interest for a young boy. My mother found me in the gym and stayed to watch me for a very long time. I was so embarrassed. I bet it was watching my pasty-white bare body like that which decided her on the policy of shirt off all summer when the sun was shining. I bet I did get a good tan that summer and the following ones until she decided I was old enough to decide again for myself.
Another big embarrassment to mention would be when kit was left behind. I never forgot my PE kit but I was an absent minded chap at 9 years old and on a couple of early occasions I left my bag behind in the classroom when we went across to the gymnasium. I think it was when the lesson before gym was in a different classroom to our home room. The school was very strict about getting to class quickly so there would have been little time to retrieve lost bags and I probably left kit behind deliberately so as not to be late and get a detention. PE detentions were evil. Once in the changing room you were not allowed to go back and get it however hard you pleaded. Instead the teachers acted like it was forgotten and I had to use the schools stock of kit. This consisted of a box containing only old worn gym shorts. Seeing classmates have to use items from this box was always a source of great amusement to every kid. There would always be one or two boys who would be the source of this fun each class. On a couple of occasions it was me. The teacher would hand me a pair of shorts he thought were the correct size. They would deliberately be the smallest in the box. And that was it. You would be the only barefoot boy in fitness class and running barefoot hurt after awhile. The joys of PE in the 1980's.
The final humiliation to mention would be having to stand to attention for long periods while being given instruction or when the teacher just got distracted. We had to stand in a certain way with legs slightly spread, back straight, hands behind our backs, looking forward with bare chests on full display just like a load of slave boys at a market.
I am glad young boys today have an easier time in PE than I ever did.

Comment by: Skipper55 on 19th September 2021 at 07:55

I approached this topic in completely the wrong way that is clear so I think I will start again. I had no experience of Misterpolls before so did not know of their unsavoury reputation so I removed the poll as soon as I was better informed.
I live in Kraaifontien South Africa. Its a town very close to Cape Town right at the southern tip of Africa. It is a relatively poor town compared to some neighbours but is slowly rising in wealth now. I started a gym club for junior boys back in 1995 when i was 30 using the local church hall. We have always done things on the cheap. DIY apperatus, limited mats and intentionally cheap gym kit.
The right kit for a gymnast is a close fitting leotard or singlet cost about 500Rand and will typically last only a year as the boys are growing so fast at this age. A t-shirt is never close fitting and there is an unacceptable movement when a safe contact or grip needs to be made. The boys like to work in pairs or groups. They balance on each other,make human pymamids, take firm hold in order to do candles and handstands and the older boys are used as the horses for vaulting. For all such activity skin on skin contact is safest unless the expensive close fitting garments are used. I chose right from the start not to give the mothers that expense. It never seemed necessary and still doesn't to my mind but there is greater wealth around now so the economy is less valid. Even so I don't want to see some boys in expensive kit and some boys bare chested, they all dress the same at my club.
A bare top does have other advantages. The hall is not air conditioned so you can imagine how hot it can get inside with all the activity for most of the year. Young boys don't sweat much they just get tired quickly from the heat so in order to be able to do more exercise they need to be encouraged to keep cool. Bare skin is a clear winner in that regard.
Other reasons for minimal clothing are less definate and more about my own opinions. I do think there are pycological advantages to making them work in just shorts. It helps concentrate their minds to the activity with the result they are harder working and generally more disciplined, and tight control is another aspect of safety in the gym. It is the main reason for using standing to alert as a control too.
As for the boys going barefoot. It is quite normal in south Africa for boys to do sport and run barefoot. Strong feet are essential for good gymnastics so I encourage them to be barefoot at all times. The alternative are gym socks but I don't have enough matting so the boys are usually on the wooden floor which is too slippery for gym socks.
I said before that the kit for the games sessions was black shorts and white t-shirt but in reality the boys are encouraged to remove their tops right at the start of the session and nearly all do as instructed. At camp the temp is nearly always over 15C so all outdoor exercise and running is done in just shorts.
It is a club not school remember so all attendance is voluntary and if kit was an issue they would leave. In reality of course the mothers use the club as cheap babysitting so the boys won't initially have a say but for boys of this age being instructed to do something is normal and I see no problem with that at gym. They need to be told what is best for them and as boys they should obey instruction and always do.