Fulwood Counry Secondary School

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Fulwood Counry Secondary School
Fulwood Counry Secondary School
Year: 1958
Views: 68,520
Item #: 1608
Instruction from the expert, Miss Hilary Peet, physical education mistress, who plays netball for Lancashire and who is also a member of the County swimming team.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, November 1958

Comment by: Danny on 2nd November 2019 at 11:40

I thought that only boys schools had or mandated nude swimming.
Were there any girls schools that had the same nude rule for swimming?

We did not have a pool at the schools I went to but I had friends who went to private(fee paying) and boarding school where they had to be nude for swimming lessons, some under the supervision of female teachers.
I don't think there are any schools today which mandate nude swimming lessons, or making them swim in underwear as some describe here.
The funny thing is that parents never objected to their boys being made to swim nude at school and was considered as normal.

Comment by: Danny on 2nd November 2019 at 11:22

Looking at the main picture with the girls in an assortment of different PE shorts it seems that back in the 50s they did not have the brand type shorts that kids wear today.
I went to a boys only secondary school in late 60s and we wore white vests and white shorts for PE which were simple cotton held with an elastic band.
I don't know or remember what the girls secondary wore for PE but probably similar as us boys.
In primary we wore the same white vest and white shorts both for girls and boys.
And yes, we all changed together in class.

Some describe that they did PE in primary in just underpants, both girls and boys together. Any here did the same? Did you feel any embarrassment?

Comment by: Alison on 25th October 2019 at 21:46

In primary school, if we forgot our kit we had to do the lesson in underwear and bare feet. This happened to me on a couple of occasions and it was pretty embarrassing as it was a co-ed class and there was no changing room, so we had to undress in the classroom before walking to the gym in view of the rest of the school in just vest and pants. My senior school was girls only. The rules here were strict too and you could rarely get out of PE by forgetting your kit. However, it was not so embarrassing having to do PE in your knickers here, as the regular kit consisted of T-shirt, gym knickers and bare feet, so you did not feel too under-dressed and the rest of the class were only girls. I once forgot my kit for outdoor athletics, however, and had to take part in my underpants, a borrowed T-shirt and bare feet (the running track was grass). Unfortunately, the playing fields were on the opposite side of a public road and so I had to walk there in public in little more than my knickers! Several people outside school saw me and I spent the afternoon sporting a very red face!

Comment by: Fiona on 22nd October 2019 at 00:21

Mr Dando - surely it's only common sense to shower after potentially muddy games such as rugby and football. And it doesn't say BOYS MUST shower, but STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED to shower. Also, it is probably the Academy management rather than the British State that is making the recommendation.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 18th October 2019 at 23:15

The time has come to ban compulsory showers for boys in UK schools where there is no such requirement for girls. An example is shown below.


oys' PE Kit
Ashmole Rugby Shirt [Navy with sky blue side panels]
Ashmole Royal Blue Polo Shirt
Ashmole Navy Games Shorts
Navy Football Socks
Ashmole PE Navy Zipped Fleece Top [Year 10/11 only]
Training shoes [MUST NOT have black soles]
Football boots
Shin pads


Plain navy blue tracksuit bottoms (optional)

Girls' PE Kit
Ashmole Sky Blue Polo Shirt
Ashmole Navy Sweatshirt
Ashmole Navy Games Shorts or Skorts
Navy Football socks
Ashmole PE Navy Zipped Fleece Top [Year 10/11 only]
Training shoes [MUST NOT have black soles]
Shin pads (for Hockey as well as Football)
Plain navy blue tracksuit bottoms (optional)

It is time to end the degrading treatment of males by the British state. Do you agree, Christine.

Comment by: Christine on 13th October 2019 at 20:17

We had problems regarding showering. For a start the girls' changing rooms were designed for a class of girls not the 2 we would get - so they were cramped. The showers were archaic as in shower heads protruding from the wall in a reasonably wide "corridor".
We took the view that we gave the girls the hygiene information, encouraged them to bring at least a flannel and towel so they could wash. I did not feel it was my role whatever to watch the girls going into the shower. Add to that that lesson times were adjusted (not in favour of a practical subject) and showering was really impractical.

As HT SMT would not take the step of banning mobile phones in schools I would also consider it a problem with kids using them in the changing rooms.

We did have an unofficial "brief" in that we would be vigilant re possible non-accidental injury signs on kids, also signs of possible eating disorder so yes it could be said we "watched" kids but in all my years teaching PE I never received an accusation re any possible 'looking at watching kids changing

Comment by: Amanda on 13th October 2019 at 17:28

Seems as though the girl wearing black pumps forgot her white PE pumps so had to wear her indoor school pumps. If this was me in my old school I'd have been told to go and participate in bare feet.

Comment by: Sandra on 29th September 2019 at 16:42

Looks so reminiscent of my old PE kit except that we went barefoot for all PE inside or outside.

As for the recent comments on swimming we wore a navy regulation swimming costume and if you forgot it then it was expected you'd swim in knickers or nude. I chose nude as did the other girls.

Comment by: Andrea on 19th September 2019 at 16:09

I think the original post said that they had to swim in underwear IF they forgot their swimsuits, so they would unlikely to have brought spare underwear in those circumstances.

Comment by: Katherine on 19th September 2019 at 10:58

Donna, bringing spare underwear wasn’t really the answer. We only had to swim on our knickers if we forgot our costumes.

Comment by: Diona on 18th September 2019 at 21:22

Katherine, Pierette - surely the answer to the "no knickers for the rest of the day" problem is obvious: take spare knickers/vest/bra (delete as appropriate) to put on after swimming. Or am I missing something obvious?

Comment by: Donna Pitt on 12th September 2019 at 21:59

Dartington Hall school was one of a handful of experimental, co-educational schools founded before the Second World War. Boys who might climb up a drainpipe at the school itself in order to catch a glimpse of a girl having a bath, would show not the slightest interest in the same girl’s nude body (often goose-pimply from the cold) as she made her way into the chilly water.
I can’t now recall what I felt about swimming naked in the first year or two of senior school, when I was 13 and 14; I probably went along with it quite happily. But I do know that, as I grew older, I found it increasingly embarrassing. I didn’t dare admit this to anyone — and hardly to myself — or a very long time. Nude bathing was such an integral part of the school’s enlightened ethos that to question it would have been regarded as deeply regressive and bourgeois — the equivalent of objecting to, say, gender equality today. But truth will out, and we older girls finally, and guiltily, started confessing to each other that we felt extremely self-conscious about being seen without our clothes on. We had no wish to expose our wobbly bits to all and sundry. If only we could wear bathing-suits, we all agreed, we would go swimming much more often. I suspect that most of the boys felt much the same way, though I never talked about this uncomfortable subject to any male.
There was, however, one boy who swam against the tide, so to speak, and always wore swimming trunks. Naturally, we all thought there was something fundamentally wrong either with his body, or with his mind, or both. Looking back on it now, it strikes me that he showed exceptional moral courage, or sang froid — certainly more than we older girls did. None of us had the nerve to bring up the topic at Moot meetings, let alone to propose a motion, which we had drafted, to make bathing-suits acceptable. So we continued to bathe naked, but more and more self-consciously, and less and less frequently. (After Curry’s departure as headmaster in 1957, bathing-suits became optional.)

Comment by: Andrea on 3rd September 2019 at 23:41

Katherine & Pierrette,
I assume that your swimming lessons were girls only and the Instructors were female?

Comment by: Katherine on 30th August 2019 at 16:26

Hi Pierette, thanks for adding your experience of swimming. It sounds similar to my own; we were never told "you'll swim naked" but were told that we would swim in our underwear at most. In the first couple of years we were told "you'll still swim, and you can keep your pants on if you want" and I think quite a few girls did so, before we all realised it meant spending the rest of the day with nothing under our skirts! At that point, we weren't allowed to wear our vests or bras in the pool. Once we were in third year, the options became pants and vest/bra, or swimming naked, and by this point I think we all chose to go through the indignity of swimming naked rather than having nothing under our white blouses or our skirts!

This also reminds me of a time in primary school, when me and a friend had forgotton our swimming kits, so had been made to go in the pool in our pants. They'd been left to dry and we'd put our uniform back on. That afternoon, we had PE in the hall - for which we all normally undressed down to our pants! Not one to let a simple matter like that stop her pupils from using the PE apparatus, our teacher simply ordered us to undress as usual, and then do the lesson wearing absolutely nothing!

Comment by: Pierrette on 30th August 2019 at 06:40

Some people say they took part in swimming lessons in the nude because they forgot their swimsuit. It is easy to doubt that they are being truthful. However, when I was at school the rules were very simple. If you were well enough to attend school, and didn't have a letter from home or your doctor, then you were well enough to take part in swimming. Not having swimwear did NOT get you out of the lesson.

The school was not allowed (as far as I know) to make people go naked so the policy was: "no swimsuit, do the lesson in your underwear". But if you did that, you had no underwear for the rest of the day's lessons and not having a bra under a white blouse all day was more embarrassing than just doing the swimming lesson naked, or at least, topless (just in your knickers).

So if the rules said you had to do swimming in your underwear, but you as an individual opted to do it naked instead, that was ok as far as the school was concerned, and that is the choice that many did make at my school.

Comment by: Ade C on 26th July 2019 at 19:48

Hi. My secondary modern was a smart blue and yellow reversible rugby jersey blue shorts and yellow socks, but used for every out door sport. Indoor white shoes and tee, bare feet unless it was basketball, then plimsolls allowed.

Comment by: Katie G on 11th July 2019 at 18:21

My namesake Katie mentioned in March about wearing gym knickers in 2017, and it was commented that this was a surprise. I left school a little earlier, in 2011, but in year 8 and above we wore gym knickers for indoor PE, which was nearly always gymnastics and dance. In year 7 we had to do PE in just our normal underwear pants!

Comment by: James on 5th June 2019 at 06:19

Rob,it was embarrassing being referred to as'the boy who still wears shorts'and even more derogatory comments were made.
As I grew older I did have discussions with my mother about wearing short trousers,but she didn't like her authority undermined and I didn't want to risk any reprisals from further discussions.At fourteen and older I didn't possess any long trousers,so to argue with my mother about wearing short trousers would have been futile.
As I grew older I found that shorts could be worn for leisure without the terrible stigma about wearing them.

Comment by: Rob on 4th June 2019 at 12:43

James, I can understand how embarrassing it must have been for you being known by everyone in the school as 'the boy who still wears shorts'. Did you try talking to your parents about it, however unsuccessfully? My mum used to tell me to wear shorts at home in the summer because she said it was healthier and didn't want me going in the garden and wearing the knees out of long trousers. She was probably right and it didn't put me off wearing shorts. Did your parents attitude deter you wearing them now for leisure?

Comment by: James on 3rd June 2019 at 05:53

Rob,It was my parents decision to keep me in short trousers until I left school,although I would have preferred to wear long trousers, particularly for school where most boys wore long trousers.I was the only boy in my class wearing short trousers,so I felt embarrassed to be wearing shorts.
I wanted to feel grown up an mature and wearing short trousers inhibit this process.

Comment by: Rob on 1st June 2019 at 19:12

James, So you wore short trousers until you were sixteen. Whose decision was that, the school's, your parents, or your choice? I can only remember one boy who wore them until he left and that was because he preferred them. Although I started wearing long trousers in the winter after I was fourteen my parents (mainly my mum), told me the following summer when I was at home to put my khaki shorts on and when I was in the garden,to take my shirt off to get the sun and fresh air to my body.I enjoyed this; after all I was used to wearing nothing more than gym shorts and plimsolls for PE and I have continued to wear shorts as much as possible in the summertime ever since. What about you, James?

Comment by: James on 31st May 2019 at 14:44

Rob,I also attended a secondary school from 1965 to 1970 and wore short trousers right through till I left.

Comment by: Gender discrimination on 7th April 2019 at 19:24


Items to be purchased from school only

Sky blue polo shirt (collared) Navy blue polo shirt (collared)
School sweatshirt Navy blue reversible sports shirt (long-sleeved)
Sky blue knee-length sports socks Navy blue football socks
Navy blue tracksuit bottoms (Boys do not wear tracksuit bottoms)

Comment by: Helen on 14th March 2019 at 22:19

Goodness, Katie, I am surprised by your comment. I thought that the days of gym knickers were consigned to history! Where was your school?

Comment by: Katie on 1st March 2019 at 14:49

It's nice to see nothing much has changed since 1958! In my last year of school which was 2017 we were still playing netball on the outside courts wearing a PE kit if gym knickers and tee shirts.

Comment by: Anne on 31st January 2019 at 12:55

Stewart, seems you and I went to similar schools we were strictly in bare feet for all PE lessons in or out rain or shine. I even remember cross country in the snow barefoot.

Comment by: Stewart on 21st January 2019 at 15:59

Just following on from a few of these comments. I attended an English Grammar School in the late 1960s and early 70s, and there was a strict no footwear rule for most PE, both indoors and out, including cross country.

Comment by: Paul Lewis on 25th November 2018 at 16:57

I can name at least three of the girls in the picture but not sure if it would be acceptable to do that. I was in the same form as these girls. I seem to remember it was 2B. We did indeed go on cross country runs in winter wearing just shorts and plimsoles (No £200 trainers in those days.) In the gym it was shorts and bare feet. Punishments were delivered with a cane or a plimsole across the backside. However, we were mostly happy kids and there was great camaraderie. There are a few photographs on the internet of the school in the late 50s, not long after it had opened. Mr Dent was the Headmaster and swanned around in a black gown which always seemed to be in tatters through getting snagged on door handles. Happy Days.

Comment by: Anne on 5th November 2018 at 17:07

We just got used to being compelled to participate in sports with nothing on our feet and honestly after the initial shock of mud between your toes you got used to it. Plus much easier to clean afterwards and running barefoot meant we weren’t carrying heavy waterlogged plimsolls on our feet.

Comment by: Andrea on 28th October 2018 at 11:37

We always wore footwear (plimsolls or hockey boots) for outside PE or games, but often went barefoot in the gym.