Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

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Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 265,318
Item #: 1602
Led by Stuart Bennett (Captain), right, the cross-country team returns from a practice run around the nearby country-side.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, November 1959

Comment by: Ben on 2nd April 2021 at 11:53

Thanks for the reply Rob, glad to know you weren't running in Arctic conditions wearing just shorts!
I suppose in any case, at least you were made aware of the rules about kit beforehand. At my school the PE kit was listed as vest and shorts, so it was something of a shock the first time I was told to take my vest off and join the skins team.
You make a fair point about the communal showers - a bit scary at first but it's the same for everyone. We had what were supposed to be mandatory showers after PE but they weren't strictly supervised, nobody tended to notice if you quickly ducked in and got your hair wet, then out again!

Comment by: Rob on 1st April 2021 at 14:14

Ben, here on the south coast the weather is a lot milder all year round anyway, and we did not seem to get sent out when it was really wet and cold like a lot of the subscribers to these websites. The PE kit was standard for all boys in the school, from first form, aged 11 through to sixth formers and everyone soon got used to it. The shock for me, though, came at the end of the second lesson when we all had to take a shower. We all went back to the changing room and were expected to take our shorts off and go in to the open communal showers where there were five large overhead showers . I stood looking at the boys who were already naked in the showers and for a few moments did not what to do. I realised that there was no way out and bravely took my shorts off and walked into the showers and joined the others. It was another case of everyone having the same kit, and I soon got used to it.

Comment by: Rob on 1st April 2021 at 11:12

Mark, it was certainly better in the gym and we could look forward to getting in the showers afterwards and washing the sweat off .

Comment by: MarkT on 1st April 2021 at 07:04

Rob, I think looking back running around the hot sports hall or gymnasium without a shirt or sweaty plimsolls was better and probably a little more hygienic also running laps in the summer outside shirtless and barefoot was quite glorious.

Comment by: Rob on 31st March 2021 at 16:54

Ben, I meant that I am sure that would have enjoyed being barechested outdoors as well!

Comment by: Ben on 31st March 2021 at 16:31

Despite your assurances Rob, I'm not convinced I'd have found running outdoors barechested quite so enjoyable as you did! Surely it must have got really cold and wet at times! Was it just your class who had to do that, or standard for all boys in the school?
One of the reasons I wouldn't have been too unhappy if they'd imposed a barechested rule in the gym was that it would have been fairer than vests and skins. As you said, a lot of boys felt shy about doing PE in skins and I think that was made harder by not having the same kit for everyone.

Comment by: Rob on 31st March 2021 at 14:47

Ben, thanks for your response. You're right, we just did as instructed and I never gave a thought about taking my socks off. At the start of that first lesson, when the PE teacher had told us how to get changed and had left us to do so, there was some discussion as to whether we were allowed to wear T shirts. Obviously some of the boys were were feeling shy about having to show their bare chests in front of others, but we told them that we wear only allowed to wear shorts. Pleased to hear that with hindsight you would have preferred to have had to have been barechested in the gym. I'm sure you have also enjoyed the freedom outdoors as well!

Comment by: Ben on 31st March 2021 at 12:27

Fair enough Rob, I was just curious as to why socks weren't considered necessary for PE! I can't really follow the logic, although I suppose the point you're making is that you didn't think about the logic, just did as instructed.
Not wearing a vest in the gym does make more sense though, it could get quite hot and sweaty so arguably was more comfortable for the boys who were in skins. Don't think I'd have objected if our PE teachers had made that mandatory in the gym, not sure about outdoors though!

Comment by: Rob on 31st March 2021 at 11:01

Mark, but didn't it make you feel good when you were running with sweat in the gym without a top sticking to you!

Comment by: MarkT on 31st March 2021 at 07:06

Similarly to Rob our kit list had vests and plimsolls on it but in reality these were never worn we always did PE shirtless and barefoot. This is what we were told to do and you just got on with it.

Comment by: Rob on 30th March 2021 at 11:19

Ben, no objection against anyone nowadays wanting to wear socks or a vest when they go for a run. Mark's comment simply reminded me of the start of our first PE lesson at my all boys school when our PE master told us all to strip off completely, including our socks and pants and to come back into the gym wearing just PE shorts. The official list given to our parents included plimsolls and a T Shirt but we never wore anything on top and other than shorts we only wore plimsolls, without socks, when we were sent out on a X country run. I was at school a fair while earlier than you and the regime was strict. If you were told to do something , you never argued but got on with it and did what you were told and got used to it.

Comment by: Ben on 29th March 2021 at 12:36

Rob, what's your objection to socks for cross country?! White socks were part of our usual PE kit (this was 1990s). I don't recall anyone getting into trouble for forgetting his socks but they were officially meant to be worn for all PE activities.
I don't suppose you'll approve (!) but we also wore vests for cross country. However, in the gym the usual set-up was vests and skins.

Comment by: Rob on 27th March 2021 at 14:47

Andy A, I never encountered shirts/vests and skins in the school gym; no doubt it would have different if we had played team games. It meant we did not have to bring a top to PE lessons, although we always had to bring a pair of plimsolls in case we were sent out on a run, otherwise we would have had to run barefoot. Of course , we did also have double games lessons every week when we wore rugby shirts with our PE shorts, but still with nothing underneath.

Comment by: Andy A on 26th March 2021 at 15:12

Rob, In the gym teams were either skins and vests or the whole class were told to strip off. Outside half the class were always made to strip off and half kept their rugby tops on. Cross country was always done with the whole class stripped to shorts and plimmies though.

Comment by: Rob on 25th March 2021 at 11:56

Tyrone, I know what you mean but we had nothing to leave to the imagination. We were always worked hard and made to sweat but we all said how great we felt by the end of each lesson when we got back to the changing room, shorts off, and into the open communal showers. We also had a running track around our playing field which we used in the summer for athletics. We were on the edge of town and I enjoyed the extra freedom of X country through a small wood and out onto the hillside.

Comment by: Tyrone on 25th March 2021 at 09:46

Yes Rob also for us pe very short white shorts plimsolls no sock and of course no underwear. which when climbing on bars ropes etc left little to the imagination. We had our own playing field with a running track so we did not go outside for cross country but ran laps of the track and depending on the weather we might be allowed to wear a top, but of course again no pants.

Comment by: Rob on 23rd March 2021 at 15:54

They're certainly wearing a ragbag of kits, and get those socks off! We may have worn plimsolls on X country runs but apart from that we wore nothing other than skimpy shorts for PE.

Comment by: MarkT on 23rd March 2021 at 06:38

Shirts off, plimsolls off lads! We always ran barefoot and stripped to the waist

Comment by: Martin on 21st March 2021 at 19:39

Get yer vests off lads, you're going on a run! We never wore vests for X country. Thirty odd lads running stripped to the could be more of an endurance test sometimes.

Comment by: Danny C on 15th December 2020 at 21:12

The Covid situation has actually been used for quite the opposite to what you wish for Mr Dando. A young male member of my family in secondary education goes to a school that until last March had a voluntary shower arrangement. After six months off, when they went back in September, usage of the showers after PE classes was suddenly at short notice made compulsory, citing the Covid virus as one reason for more attention to washing thoroughly to keep safe. My nephew is now made to take a towel to school once a week with his usual games kit. There doesn't seem to have been much of a pushback against getting the boys (and girls I presume) showering properly. It seems to have been generally accepted. Whether they intend to keep showers mandatory in the long term after the virus is beaten or reverse the decision back I've no idea. It would not surprise me if many of these Covid changes end up sticking permanently. Apparently it was either do this or completely stop PE lessons, which they were not prepared to do. On PE days they've also told them to be ready and wearing their full kit to school, instead normal uniform attire.

Comment by: TimH on 15th December 2020 at 15:42

Mr Dando
Fear not! I did not feel that 'shower tunnels' were anything to be endured or feared! I've come out out of worse things than those, and generally smiling!

Comment by: Mr Dando on 14th December 2020 at 19:36

It is time that the state education system formally abolished the shower corridor that me and TimH had to endure. Let us use the Covid pandemic to remove showers from schools and get rid of the compulsory towel requirement. Better still, abolish PE in schools which is an aftermath of the Boer War in 1902 and allow kids to exercise in the privacy of their own homes.

Here is a school that still makes it compulsory for pupils to have towels!

Indoor – plain white T-shirt, navy shorts, white socks, trainers
Outdoor – school rugby shirt and rugby socks, navy shorts, football boots

Indoor – plain white T-shirt, navy skort, white socks, trainers
Outdoor – plain white T-shirt, navy skort, school ‘rugby’ socks, trainers;School regulation P.E. hooded top is optional;

Year 10 & 11 – Plain navy tracksuit bottoms [no stripes] may be worn;Towel for showers;Shin/ankle guards are required for hockey, football and when playing hooker in rugby. Mouth guards are recommended for hockey and rugby. Footwear should be appropriate for the playing surface

Remember, remember, the Fourteenth of December
PE teacher plot
Child abuse autumn winter shower season
I see no reason why the humiliating shower corridor
Should ever be forgot!

Comment by: TimH on 2nd November 2020 at 10:00

To Matthew - 'Tunnel Showers'.
Simply a corridor or 'tunnel' - usually tiled, with shower sprinklers in the ceiling or mounted towards the top or the walls. Water was turned on by a 'master' tap, or someone was let of gym a minute or two early to turn on individual taps (cold water!). Everyone else went into the changing rooms, stripped and went through the 'tunnel'. The last ones through (hopefully hot water!) turned the water off.

A fairly mild day here today ... looking out earlier on I saw boys from the local Middle School still going to lessons in shorts (not forced) ... and quite a few of us older guys also in shorts.

Comment by: Matthew on 31st October 2020 at 12:05

To Ian - What are "tunnel" showers?

Comment by: Ian on 25th October 2020 at 13:14

We also had "tunnel" showers. The teacher did not like them and managed to get them altered to standard showers. The rebuild took nearly three months during which time gym went on as normal except we had to strip at the end of the period, form up in twos and then march stark naked past the builders to the swimming pool showers.
We did not like it, especially as a couple of them were hardly older than us, but were told the usual "we're all the same underneath". (I've always thought he should have added "but not all the same size")
Also, I tried the "damp the hair" routine to skive a shower, but out PE teacher had X-ray eyes (so many of them seemed to have this mystical power) and caught me just as I thought I had made my escape. Six of the belt later I had to take a proper shower. I never tried it again although some of my friends managed to get away with it (by the way, the builders had gone by this point)

Comment by: Tom B on 1st October 2020 at 10:22

Thank you for sharing your experience, it sounds like you had a pretty terrible time and it is obvious that your teachers behaved in a way which clearly intended to humiliate and degrade, and the forced wearing if girls uniform certainly raises suspicions that there may have been a sinister element too.

I have pushed back on earlier posts suggesting abuse was the norm and always sinister. I do believe what we consider outdated methods were often applied with good intentions and not for any illicit reason.

I agree with yours and other comments that barefoot outdoor PE is bizarre though I did gymnastics barefoot indoors and remember the dirty soles of my feet but it didn’t bother anybody. I do believe that a fairly basic uniform along with practices such as communal showering are generally positive.

When I think back to running cross country in the rain in a heavy reversible rugby shirt I would have liked to have gone without.

Comment by: John .E on 26th September 2020 at 17:00

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 14th August 2020 at 11:57

I was reading Trevor's input earlier and it got me thinking. Back when I was in senior school leaving in 1984 a lot of things went on that made me uncomfortable in the sense that I hated Games and PE, Now back in the day if you did Games you always had to shower, If you raced back to the locker rooms and attempted to wet your hair to avoid it then the gym teacher made you strip off and shower again if he suspected you hadn't. Now that in itself was embarrassing enough as he made you wait until everyone else had finished and gone. Then there was the shower tunnel as I used to call it where everyone went in and on odd occasion the gym teacher would pass the end looking through then walk off, Back then it was seen as creepy in our eyes but nothing was ever said over it.
The skins and shirts were also a major factor as it was done both in the gym and on the sports field, Now I was scrawney at the time and hated being a skin, It felt so humiliating displaying myself on the field where the science block looked over at you, But again you did as told and nobody dared to speak out of line in case of further repercussions and back then you were made to suffer.
Onto Barefoot, What Trevor said makes me think of foot fetishism or am I over reacting. Common events used to get me when entering the sports hall and put into line up when they picked teams , Naturally the skins and shirts was always part of the equasion but then we were to all remove our socks and plimsolls, We all had plimsolls for the sports hall as it was the PE kit back in the day, So why were we removing them to run around barefoot on the dirty sports hall floors, It was odd that they allowed us to dress in them in the changing rooms only to be told to remove them 5 minutes later. Staying with this subject I was a bit of a bugger back in the day and constantly bunking off or getting in trouble and on this occasion I was popping over the back fence after signing in when the games teacher caught us on the other side, Anyway we were frogmarched back inside and our punishments were set, Luckily we missed out on the cane this time but we weren't so lucky with the games teacher as it was his lesson we were bunking off. We had to go and get changed into our PE kits and he came in the changing rooms as we were ready, We were set to go running around the whole school along it boundaries but we weren't getting off so easily, We had to strip to skins and remove our shoes and socks for it, It was freezing and raining out as it was around mid October but we simply accepted without question, We were made to continue it through the 1st break time before being allowed to come in, By then I couldn't feel my feet and they were covered in mud and I was like a block of ice, We had to shower and then we were put on report.

Now I feel this has effected me in mental ways as I'm now 50 and I have a bit of a barefoot phobia, I sleep with socks on, I never take my shoes off in the house and feel anxious if I visit somewhere that I have to remove my shoes, I'm just glad now that this has all stopped but I do question wether it was right back in the day.

One more before I sign off, If you were a boy and forgot your kit you were sent to get a loan kit from the female games teacher and often di the lesson with the girls wearing a Maroon gym skirt or if you couldn't find her quick enough you did it in vest and pants which again was a bit much.

Comment by: Susan on 5th September 2020 at 16:48

Mr Dando I will join you on the march tonight. It is time to speak truth to power and ban infantile nudity/toplessness in schools. We must stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 5th September 2020 at 11:26

No shy child should be forced to go topless or be compelled to take a "compulsory school shower". There are many educational institutions that no longer mandate this barbarity and the obligation is on us as grown adults to outlaw it once and for all just as we did with corporal punishment.

This poor excuse for a school still has such a coercive directive!

St. Philip Howard St Ralph Sherwin
Catholic Voluntary Academy

P.E. Kit – Additional
A plain black track-suit where P.E. staff say it is appropriate for winter – no logos or designer outfits.
Ties, jumper with school crest and all items of P.E. kit can be purchased from school.
A current price list is included.
Physical Education is a National Curriculum subject and all students are required to participate in the course. All students are required to shower unless there is a confirmed medical reason for not doing so.

I say no student should be forced to shower in school -medical reason or not. The irony, a "Voluntary" Catholic academy with "Compulsory" degradation of its subjects.

It is time to stand with me tonight 2 metres apart and use the pandemic to abolish Compulsory Physical education under the pandemic!

We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first-hand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them. But you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it.

Ideas do not bleed. They do not feel pain. They do not love. And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man. A man that made me remember the fifth of November. A man that I will never forget. Now we must act together and give the educational "establishment" a 5th of September 2020 that will not be forgotten.

Behind this mask there is more than just flesh.... one that should not be denuded by the school shower!

Comment by: Tom B on 28th August 2020 at 07:37

Max, I agree. I too was a shy child who would have benefitted from a tough love, or even, dare I mention it, a more disciplined approach.

I do feel that if the PE syllabus became an individual fitness, strength and flexibility programme it would be more inclusive and less demotivating for less athletic children.

This would then help those who have traditionally been left behind in PE to have achievable goals as they would not just be the last to be picked for football or rugby only to stand away from the action. They may even excel and out-perform those who have natural ability on the pitch.