Burnley Grammar School

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1959         Item #: 1607         Views: 674,884         Comments: 2,436

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

2436 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Richards on 25th March 2014  

When I was 12 (in 1975), and having just finished my first year at the state grammar school in the town where we lived in Lincolnshire, my father took up a three year posting as an agricultural adviser in Malawi. It was decided that I would attend a local boarding prep school for one year (well, my parents decided - I had no say in the matter) with a view to moving to a nearby public school afterwards. As soon as I knew what was happening I went into a major sulk, as I enjoyed my grammar school and I knew that the prep school was much stricter about dress and appearance than the grammar school. My appeals to be allowed to stay at the grammar school, and live with grandparents nearby, fell on deaf ears. So it was that, at the start of September 1975 I was dropped off at my new school, looking rather different to how I had the previous year. I was now short trousered and short haired, a real embarassment for a nearly 13 year odl lad in the mid 70s.

Comments by James on 18th March 2014  

Hi folks,
Certainly an unusual thread and reminds me how different attitudes were in the 1970s and 1980s when I was growing up.
My recollections are vague, but I do remember doing PE in only vest and pants at primary school. I also remember "shirts" and "skins" football matches in the secondary school.
I can remember the odd sunday bike ride in the early 80s when I wore only swimming trunks, because it was so hot.
What inspired me to do that was seeing grown men openly doing things like washing cars, mowing lawns or painting the outside of the house in only pants or trunks. Once saw a group of young men playing football in the park: all were shirtless and one wore a speedo in place of shorts.
Hard to believe now.
I can even remember a coach trip from Torquay to Dartmoor where a man remained shirtless all day and wore only grey Farah slacks.

Comments by Alan on 13th March 2014  

Having read some of the comments, I well remember my time at school and in the gym in particular, like the boys in the picture I was bare chested and just wearing shorts and white plimsolls along with the other boys in my class.

Ten minutes of warm up exercises, running on the spot and press ups etc, then the vaulting horse and parallel bars, we even had a trampoline and rings to use. Two PE teachers in attendance to make sure there were no slackers, woe betide you if you did, it was three on the backside with a plimsoll and extra time in the gym after school.

Scrabbling to get the best of the hot water in the showers after a heavy gym session, it always seemed to run out a few minutes into your shower,then dress in double quick time, grey shorts, white shirts, school ties properly tied and not loose like today's schoolboys, no fancy trainers, black shined shoes were the order, as regards underwear it was as others have stated the ubiquitous white trunk underpants, not to be seen below the hem of the school shorts leg,my headmaster would turn in his grave to see that boys today show their underpants above the waistband of their trousers at times !! If new underpants were bought for me, my mum used to sew up the hem so they didn't show, we were allowed to wear a vest in winter, but other wise that was it.

Grey long socks with a blue stripe and woe betide that they fell down,that was a yellow mark, three marks and it was the plimsoll.
Like most I had garters that left a mark on your leg, do any guys remember the snake belt? well that was the one we had to have.

At 13 we could graduate to long trousers, but my family along with a lot in those days weren't flush with money so I still wore shorts as they still fit me, I didn't get a growth spurt until well into my 14th year.

I enjoyed PE and games, not being all that academic I was more of a "hands on" boy and preferred woodwork and metalwork, I still have a metal coat rack I made and a wooden table lamp I made on a lathe.

Great times, I wonder if today's schoolboys will have fond memories of their schooldays? One doubts it.

Comments by Pete on 12th March 2014  

It is interesting reading about old time PE & it brings back memories. Also I am intrigued how fashion goes round in circles. We see pictures of footballers many years ago wearing Long shorts. Then in the 196o's era it han changed to very short shorts thinking of those worn during 1966 World Cup & now we see the footballers of today wearing longer shorts. The same with the pants I always wanted to wear briefs not the trunks and in time these were the fashion. However, now the trend over the past few years has returned to wering Boxer style pants. Will the circle start again & we return to short shorts and Briefs/slips.

Comments by James on 11th March 2014  

How I loved gym sessions like this as a boy at school They were such great fun all the time being pushed to try harder and do just that bit more. We used to start them full of energy and almost crawl out of the gym at the end for the icy cold shower that was waiting and after that somehow we got our energy back to carry on with the day. Other gym activity included circuits, killer ball, pirates and crab running. Outside there was rugby, cross country and cricket in the summer. I wish I could do it all again!

Discipline was strict, it had to be in the gym and on the field. There was a sign by the exit to the rugby field which read card = cane, yellow = four, red = eight and it was enforced for any unsportsman like behaviour. Most lads never did it and few did it more than once. A large plimsol was also in use for more minor things like being caught wearing underpants or not getting properly under the (icy) showers.

Comments by Martin on 6th March 2014  

What memories this thread has brought back! Like many, I was compelled to wear short grey flannel trousers for the first two years at Grammar School, which I found both embarrassing and cold. This was 1960, and many of my former mates who went to Secondary Modern school wore long trousers straight away, which made the situation worse.

George C, how I recall those creamy white interlock trunk underpants. They were very comfortable, but were quite long, and had poor elastic, which meant that even though my shorts were not that short, they would often show below them, however low I let my shorts slip. The girls gave me hell!

It was a great relief to finally get into long trousers (age 13), although we were not allowed to wear a belt to keep them up. Most boys had to wear them loose (to allow room for growth I presume), which meant braces were absolutely essential. I still remember getting detentions for not having the correct colour (maroon to match the uniform), and always felt uneasy at showing them in public, although it was the norm. Ironically, fashion seems to have come full circle, with many pop stars wearing braces in public, and footballers showing long drawers below their shorts.

Comments by James on 5th March 2014  

Like John and myself,I'm sure many boys had to face up to the galling prospect of wearing inordinately,brief short trousers,well up to the age of adolescence and beyond.To add to the wearers'discomfort,the shorts were co-ordinated with long knee stockings,tightly gartered below the knee which always left deep indentations in my legs.I realised at the time,I would have to accept the dogma and stigma of being so inappropriately dressed in such a ridiculous and anachronistic way but I'm sure it was done mainly for aeshetic reasons.

Comments by John on 21st February 2014  johnno1546@live.co.uk 

When I started at secondary school in 1959 I was in short trousers, there was a uniform policy which stated that boys to age 13 wore shorts, I was in a children's home and they provided all my clothes, some were hand me downs, but my school uniform was new, PE was done just in shorts in the gym, plimsolls worn outside only and a vest, no underwear to be worn, swimming lessons done in the nude, it was an all boys secondary school and a lot bigger than the primary school I had been in up to 11.

If anyone wants more information or to discuss recollections of school email me at johnno1546@live.co.uk

Comments by George C on 15th February 2014  

I was at a school in the early 1960's which had a uniform policy, but it allowed either long or short trousers, so it was up to parents when you went into long trousers. At that time it was quite normal for boys to stay in short trousers until 13, or sometimes older. I myself did not get my first pair of long trousers until after my 14th birthday. We were not self-conscious about wearing short trousers because so many other boys did. And we were not cold in the winter. My school short trousers (grey, terrylene) came down to about one or two inches above my knee. Like all the other boys in short trousers, I wore long grey socks. I think they were woollen, they certainly must have had a high wool content. They kept the legs nice and warm, but had one drawback. They were held up by garters. My mother made mine from black elastic. Garters had to be just the right amount of tightness. If a garter was too slack, the sock would fall down. If it was too tight, it acted like a tourniquet. Also in the winter most of us wore a gaberdine raincoat which would come down below our knees.

In the summer we would wear casual shorts, though not, of course, to school. I can remember having some khaki and some of a blue cotton material. Only after going into long trousers and jeans did I appreciate the freedom which summer shorts gave. They were lighter and shorter than my school short trousers which was good for the summer, but it could give a problem with underwear. Some of us wore underpants similar to modern boxer shorts, but a little longer and baggier, and they were made of a softer and slightly heavier material than boxers. They were called interlock trunks and they were always white. They were very comfortable, but while they remained safely out of sight underneath my school trousers that was not always the case when I wore summer shorts. An ill-advised hitch of the shorts, or loose underpant elastic, would usually result in a band of white appearing below the hem of my shorts. During the summer months, on the estate where I lived I was an embarrassingly easy target for gaggles of girls who would chant
"London is in England, Paris is in France,
We can see George's underpants."

On the subject of blazers, although my school's uniform policy required a blazer with the school badge on it, there was an option to buy a plain blazer. Mum then sewed a badge, available from the school outfitters, onto the blazer. Most of us did this. You could spot the son of affluent parents. He would be the one wearing the "proper" school blazer.

Comments by Christopher Hall on 10th February 2014  

I also agree with the comments ambrose made below about inequality for teachers, he is absolutely right. I am sure that male teachers would NEVER be allowed to supervise changing rooms with girls in them, but (at least at primary school level) it would seem acceptable for female teachers to supervise the boys. It certainly USED to be like that, I doubt it is allowed these days! The only exception I have heard about is the Shears Green primary school mentioned lower down the thread, where it appears the (male) head teacher used to supervise the nude swimming lessons, where boys and girls of all ages used to swim together naked several times a week! It seems from the huge number of comments and memories on their facebook page that he also insisted on the children doing mixed PE and dancing lessons wearing nothing but gym shorts, both boys AND girls going completely topless even when they were 11 year old. I suspect that these days there would be law suits flying around very quickly!

Comments by James on 10th February 2014  

Unlike Michael,where short trousers were compulsory up to the third year at his school,it was at the whim of my parents that imposed a strict rule of enforced wearing of short pants.The difference being that at his school shorts were quite obiquitous,where at my school I was the only pupil in my class still wearing shorts.

Comments by Christopher Hall on 9th February 2014  

I know exactly what Michael means, the Grammar school blazers were always much more ornate (and therefore much more expensive) than the ones worn by boys at the Secondary Moderns, then there was the sports kit. So many fancy sports to buy kit for all having to be bought at the schools 'official' shop, even white gym shorts had to be the 'approved' brand! There has been some talk on here of some schools not allowing swimwear, I am sure mothers were really impressed at the amount of money that saved by not having to buy any swimming trunks? Oh, but wait, you would still need trunks in case you went to any swimming competitions and guess what, they would have to be from the approved suppliers and probably with the school badge embroided in!
At least the boys at Secondary Modern school could wear 'generic' blazers, sports and swimming kit, bought at a fraction of the price, I am sure they enjoyed their sports and activities just as much as we did!

Comments by Michael on 9th February 2014  

My parents were proud to have me attend the town's grammar school, and they would never have thought to object to, or even query, the rules regarding uniform. Because of this the (rather old-fashioned - even for those days) uniform list was followed in every detail, and one of the items stated that all boys should wear regulation grey short trousers for at least their first two years at the school.

This meant there was no argument or even debate on the subject, at least in my home. In any case my parents had far more important matters to consider, not least of which was affording all of the uniform on the list.

The blazer alone was a significant amount of money in the early 1960s, so any economies which could be made on other items, were very welcome indeed. In this light, short trousers made good financial sense as well as complying with the school's regulations.

On the other hand my younger brother 'failed' the 11+ and attended a secondary modern school, which had 'optional' uniform, allowing him to wear long trousers from age 11.

Accordingly I found myself in the strange situation of wearing shorts to school until I was nearly 14, at the same time as he was wearing long trousers. To my dismay, this sometimes led to people assuming I was his younger, not his older, brother.

Comments by James on 9th February 2014  

I do agree with Christopher Hall that we had "NO real input"on what we wore for games and physical activities.As you say the school dictated what we wore and it would have been futile to object as possible retributions would follow.
Before I attended my new secondary school the list for my uniform arrived and my Mum noticed,with glee that I could stay in short trousers for another four years.No amounnt of persuading or cajoling would make her change her mind.

Comments by Christopher Hall on 9th February 2014  

To quote James "the option for boys to wear short trousers was for the parents not for the pupil"!
You are not wrong there! When I was at school we had absolutely NO real input about what we wanted to wear, parents (well Mums) told you what you were going to wear to go to school, teachers told you what (if anything) you were going to wear for games, pe, showers, swimming etc. Even parents had no say once you were at school, everything was flagged up as 'school rules' so there was no discussion and no dissent allowed! How things have changed!

Comments by Christopher Hall on 8th February 2014  

Hi Roy,
Evidently you are a little older than me, but I think it depended on the school. As I said, at my boys only Grammar school, MOST boys started year 8 (what used to be called second year) in shorts, including me. However the number gradually dwindled during the year and I think the last die-hards were in longs by the start of year 9. At the Secondary Modern school however, all the boys wore long trousers, even the year 7 'first years'! And yes, we were a little bit jealous, especially when we got teased for wearing shorts by boys who were two years younger than us!

Comments by James on 8th February 2014  

It was no fun wearing shorts at secondary school espiacially as only four boys were still in shorts out of 250 boys and the teasing was almost continuous and unmerciful.
To clear up the misunderstanding,the option for boys to wear short trousers was for the parents not for the pupil,I hated wearing them and found them humiliating and bitterly cold in the winter.
As I had a 26 inch waist I could be kitted out in shorts which were more suitable for a more junior boy which had the desired effect.When standing straight my finger tips touched the hem of my shorts which left an inseam of one inch.When told to 'wrap up warm' a waist length anorak was worn which of course left my legs bare and open to the elements.

Comments by Roy on 8th February 2014  

I agree with Christopher Hall in that when I was at school in the early 1960's all boys in what is now Year 8 would be wearing long trousers.

Comments by Christopher Hall on 8th February 2014  

I didn't realise it was an option, I thought you meant they all had to wear shorts! I think it was brave to wear them to leaving age!
I went into 'longs' in my second year at Grammar school, it got really cold probably about February and as a thirteen year old I pestered my mum into letting me have long trousers although some brave souls hung on until the end of the second year. I do remember that the 'official' uniform shorts we wore at grammar school were quite a bit longer than the ones I had worn at Primary school, but they were still fairly short! There was some rule that the leg of your shorts had to be at least one hand width below the bottom of your blazer, but I don't remember any teachers actually checking it though! Also, long grey socks and black shoes with shorts, except in summer when we could wear short socks and 'proper' sandals, but we weren't allowed to wear sandals if we wore long trousers! So many pointless rules!

Comments by James on 8th February 2014  

In reply to Christopher Hall,the uniform requirement was shorts optional,with no upper age limit.One boy wore shorts right up to leaving age,one up to his second year,myself and another boy up to their third year.

Comments by Christopher Hall on 8th February 2014  

I really dont buy James idea of boys at secondary schools wearing shorts to leaving age, I was at Grammar school in the late 1970s and while the first-year boys (what would now be called year 7) all had to wear shorts, and many of the boys in the second year also wore them, however nobody was in shorts by the time we were 14. Frankly, I cant see boys at ANY school being prepared to wear shorts at that age as most people walked home from school in those days and kids from other schools would tease them to death for wearing shorts!
And the one inch leg length that James mentioned, junior school boys certainly wore very tiny shorts that barely covered their underwear, but I dont think 12 and 13 year old boys at any secondary school would have been prepared to wear them that small!

Comments by Jools on 7th February 2014  

Debbie, I am grinning at the idea of all those little boys running around the campsite every evening wearing nothing but pyjama jackets and with all their bottoms and willies visible, it would have been quite amusing to watch but of course in those days I suppose there was no girls in the cubs, except for leaders of course. I can't help wondering if your brother (or any of the boys) were embarrased by having to go with no pants on in front of the leaders, especially if one of them was his teacher.
An intersting thread, and all this has come up from someone saying that the boys and girls at a primary school in Kent all used to swim together completely naked in their school swimming lessons!
I see you have put your email address, can I mail you direct to chat?

Comments by Debbie on 7th February 2014  debbie.richards@hush.com 

No problem Jools
It was about 1984 as he was born in 1974.
Yes the Cub leaders were female, there was three of them as far as I can remember and the main one, the Akela was a teacher at his school. My mum and dad knew they went naked because when they were going to camp they all had to get a letter signed by mums or dads to allow them to go, it always had a kit list on it and I am sure the kit list said they should only take a pyjama top to wear in bed. I remember mum packing his kit for camp and asking him if he was going to bother with swimming trunks, he took them with him but I don't suppose he wore them!

Comments by James on 7th February 2014  

Hi Jools,

I'm from the Midlands,yes I did wear boxers but went on to wear Y fronts when I went on to Secondary Modern School where shorts were optional right up to leaving age.
My parents chose shorts as it was a family tradition.
The fashion,as you say was for shorts to be very brief as it seemed pointless to wear knee length shorts with stockings.

Comments by Jools on 7th February 2014  

Hi again Debbie, thanks for telling us all that information about what your brother wore at cubs, how long ago was that?
I am sure you said the cub leader was female, I am still wondering if your parents knew knew he was going naked at camp and what they thought about it.

Comments by Jools on 7th February 2014  

James. I am not sure where you are from, but surely in the 70's little boys all wore Y front undies rather than boxers? I don't think those would have shown below your shorts. I do agree though that in those days boys shorts did get very short indeed, and they all seemed to wear them at junior school and sometimes even after a they started secondary school. As a girl, I remember our skirts were getting longer in those days!

Comments by ambrose on 6th February 2014  

Dave, the point I was making was the inequality that existed so far as staff were concerned. The men were not allowed to supervise girls changing areas, but it was perfectly legal for the ladies to walk in on adolescent boys when they were undressed!

I, and several other non PE specialist male teachers refused to take mixed sports clubs during lunchtimes and after school since we couldn't control what went on in the girls changing rooms: and the girls were just as bad as the boys at bullying and horseplay if there was no one supervising them!

Comments by Debbie on 6th February 2014  debbie.richards@hush.com 

I asked my brother about this, (he's not really 'little' any more), he said that at cub meetings they sometimes took their tops off when they were playing games but they always kept their shorts on, but he said that when they were at camp they were always sent to wash and get ready for bed after flagdown and before they had their supper, he said there was a 'sort of' pack rule that they could only wear a pyjama top or a t-shirt, and Akela always encouraged them not to wear any pyjama pants when they were at camp, while vests, underpants and socks were also not allowed. He said that once they has got undressed and had supper they had an hour or two of playtime before going to bed, he said that the younger boys went to bed earlier but the older boys could play on the field for a lot longer before they had to get into bed.
Normally during the day they wore normal camp stuff like t-shirts and shorts but when they were playing in or near the river they could wear trunks if they wanted to, although they often went in with nothing on.

Comments by James on 6th February 2014  

Hi Jools

I used to wear short pants to school and cubs and later scouts usually without underwear mainly because shorts were much briefer in the seventies with an inseam of about an inch.Any underwear would have shown under my shorts.


Comments by Jools on 5th February 2014  

LOL Debbie!
I looked down and found your older message. I like the idea of the cubs only wearing pajama jackets in bed, that's so much more comfortable. You also said "I think there was some sort of old pack tradition that they didn't wear pants or underpants at camp." Did they have to go like that all the time at camp? I think its a great idea, did the leader ever get them to take their tops off and go completely naked? Little boys always look so cute when they are nude ;-)
I just wonder how the leader persuaded the boys to run around at camp without any pants on, and of course how they persuaded the boys parents to let them, certainly wouldnt be allowed now!

Comments by Dave on 5th February 2014  

Ambrose, I am surprised that female staff were allowed to supervise the boys toilets and changing facilities at the secondary school where you worked. Although this was common in many primary schools, including mine, it never happened at my secondary school that I can recall. But I suppose it could have happened in some other secondary schools.
As for PE it was also normal to change in front of the class teacher, be they male or female, in primary school. We changed for PE in just white T-shirt and shorts, both boys and girls. But there definitely were some other primary schools who did PE in just underpants, as some other posters recall.
It was different in secondary school of course, but there could have been exceptions, especially in private schools, that is non-state schools.
It was the same with nude swimming I suppose, where it was more likely for junior boys to have female teachers supervising and teaching, but less likely with older boys.

Comments by Debbie on 4th February 2014  

Hi Jools, I was just having a look back at this page and saw your question. I put another message longer ago which explains it, but my brother wore grey shorts at cub meetings like all the other boys but I think there was some sort of old pack tradition that they didn't wear pants or underpants at camp. I know they weren't allowed to wear them at bedtime and they were only allowed to wear a pyjama jacket, but I have no idea why that was. Didn't seem to bother him though.

Comments by Andrea on 4th February 2014  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

There was no nude swimming when I was at primary school in the 1960s. The boys wore swimming trunks and we wore one piece bathing costumes.

For pe. I generally a pe skirt or shorts and a T shirt. As there were no changing rooms we had to change in our classroom along with the boys, so by the final year I got quite adept at putting on my pe kit before removing my school skirt! I was still flat chested when I left primary school so changing into the T shirt wasn't an issue (I generally wore a vest anyway), but a few of more more 'developed' classmates were allowed to go to the toilets to change.

Secondary pe came as a bit of a shock at first, our pe kit was gym knickers and a T shirt and showers were compulsory!

Comments by ambrose on 3rd February 2014  

Iain's memories show one of the inequities of teaching during the 60's/70's/80's.

At the Midlands state secondary/comprehensive where I worked, female staff were allowed access to supervise the boys toilets and changing facilities, but male staff were prohibited from the girls facilities.

One notable occasion proved the point when a female PE teacher went into the boys shower room to quell an argument that had developed into a brawl. (The male member of staff had been called away to attend to an injured boy.) There was alarm and horror as the mostly naked 15 year old boys saw who had entered the room and several complained to the Headmaster of their embarrassment at the female intrusion. However, the Head was forced to support his female teacher since according to the regulations at the time she had not infringed any rules.

It was more usual for the ladies to knock and ask if anyone was changing if they had to enter the room to use the only telephone in the sports block!

Comments by Jools on 3rd February 2014  

Question for Debbie, you said your little brother didnt wear any pants at cubs? It seems a bit strange that, boys not wearing pants at cubs, were they allowed to wear their underpants? What was the reason for it?

Comments by Jools on 3rd February 2014  

I am amazed at all these stories of girls and boys doing naked mixed swimming lessons at school and of all doing pe wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. It was nothing like that at MY junior school but I wish it had been, Im a girl but I would have LOVED to go topless or nude at school, even with boys there!

Comments by Iain on 1st February 2014  

It was an indoor pool and is ((as far as I know) still there and still in use, other staff members did very occasionally come in, either to take the lesson or to speak to the p.e. teacher.
Galas and competitions were nude when they were 'school' only, if our parents were invited or we were swimming against other schools we usually wore trunks. I think even for junior boys, nude swimming galas and competitions in front of mixed spectators would be pretty unlikely!
When we were very young we had our p.e. and Games lessons taken by female teachers who obviously also supervised us in the changing rooms and when we went in the showers, but as far as I can recall we had male teachers only by the time we were about 10.
I don't know how common this was at other schools though, ours was a private school and I think few 'state' primary schools would have had much in the way of changing and showering facilities!

Comments by Dave on 1st February 2014  

Thanks Iain. Was it an indoor or outdoor pool, and did any other teachers or school staff watch watch the nude swimming lessons besides the swimming teacher?
I heard that in some schools they also had swimming galas and competitions in the nude, especially junior boys, in front of mixed spectators. Could this be true?

I am also curious to know if any schools had compulsory showers for boys after PE under the supervision of female teachers.

Comments by Iain on 1st February 2014  

In reply to Dave, we also had to swim nude at school, it was compulsory for all Junior boys and the lower school boys in the Grammar school, ie up to about 14. That was Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, it was an all boys school and I am sure we had a female swimming teacher in the junior school but we certainly had a male teacher by the time we were 11 and went into the lower school! I don't think we gave it much thought at the time. I started there in 1967 and I think the nude swimming went on until the early 80's.

Comments by Cynthia on 26th January 2014  

During primary school, I remember how during sports we would all take of our shoes and socks and we girls would participate in our skirts and vests, which we all wore under our blouses on the necessary days, while the boys removed their shirts and were made to take part with bare chests, wearing only their shorts. I don't know how they felt about it really. Some were fine, but some seemed more shy than usual.

Comments by oldscotsguy on 26th January 2014  

I attended an all boys secondary school and if we ever forgot our swimming Speedos then we had to do the class naked. I only forgot once but some boys were regularly naked.

Comments by Dave on 26th January 2014  

Debbie and Martin, thanks for the clarification.

Tim, did you have female teachers supervising, or present, during the boys nude swim classes?

Anyone else had nude swimming classes in British schools?

Comments by Debbie on 11th January 2014  

I am a little bit confused here by Mathews comments, it seems that it was Dave who was seeking information about the mixed nude swimming that Martin mentioned. I had a look at the facebook links that Martin gave and they certinly did seem tohave mixed nude swimming at his old junior school and there are lots of people who remember it. I think it maybe wasn't such a big deal back then, my little brother didn't think there was anything wrong with not wearing any pants when he was at cubs.

Comments by Tim on 10th January 2014  

These comments bring back many memories. At my all boys prep school in the 1970's, it was the norm that you did swimming in the nude, no question. This had been going on for years and went on until the 1980's. I only started at the school when i was 10 and it was a slight shock to do swimming in the nude but I soon got used to it. It also gave the pe teacher the perfect opportunity to inflict a sharp cane to the bare backside which always left a red mark.

Comments by Matthew on 7th January 2014  

Have you not read Dave's perfectly clear explanation below about exactly when swimming took place and whether it was obligatory to wear a costume? If you have I can only conclude that you have a gratuitous and unhealthy interest in this topic.

Comments by Martin on 7th January 2014  martin.hill32@hushmail.com 

Hi Dave, Let me clarify....
I went to Shears Green Primary in Kent, a mixed County Primary school in the South East UK.
They had nude swimming between about the late 1960's until (I think) about 1988. Nude swimming was ALWAYS voluntary and was in extra lunchtime and Saturday sessions but NOT in regular planned swimming lessons, (we HAD to wear swimwear for them!) Nude swimming was open to all, from 7 to 11 years old and when I was there it was girls on monday lunchtime, boys on friday lunchtime and mixed (boys and girls) on wednesday lunchtime. For the same-sex sessions I think we just had to turn up, I don't think we needed our parents permission, but we needed their permission for the 'mixed' nude swimming (not every week, we only needed to get the form signed once!) Saturday morning was 'clothing optional', ANYONE could go and it was up to us whether we wore our swimwear or swam nude.
This was the ONLY school I attended (or taught at) with nude swimming, as I have already stated mixed nude swimming must have been incredibly rare although apparently it wasn't unusual for boys to swim nude at prep and private schools.
I have included a couple of facebook, friends reunited links so you can look for yourself and read the comments from the very large number of kids who took part over the years!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2232710443/ http://www.friendsreunited.com/shears-green-county-junior-school/Discuss/9b5c582f-4f9b-40f0-9be8-8695265ccc0c

Comments by Dave on 5th January 2014  

Martin, are you saying that all the primary schools you went to and taught at as a teacher all had mixed nude swimming?
Do any of these schools have a Friends Reunited site? I bet they have a lot of old memories to talk about.
I know there were some schools which had obligatory nude swimming for boys, maybe for girls also, but never heard of mixed nude swimming at school.
Were the other schools the same as the one you mentioned, that is voluntary and optional swimsuit, or obligatory nudity?

Comments by Martin on 21st December 2013  martin.hill32@hushmail.com 

to Mathew: I agree with most of what you say, however I will have to disagree on a couple of points, I went to a number of different Primary and Secondary schools over the years and later taught in a couple of secondary schools. In all the primary schools and in one of the secondary schools swimming lessons were mixed, it really wasn't as rare as you seem to think! At primary school (Shears Green) we swam nude, (look it up!) the lessons were mixed but it was only in optional sessions at dinnertime and saturday morning, and you needed your parents permission, regular 'class' swimming lessons where done in swimwear. Nude swimming was not common in state schools, but it certainly was in the 'public' school sector, although usually in boys only schools, (both junior and senior) there is ample evidence of this, I suspect the likelyhood of nude swimming lessons above the age of 11 being supervised by female teachers is highly questionable!

To Dave: It was boys and girls nude swimming on wednesdays dinnertime and on saturday morning (and everyone swam nude) girls only on Monday dinnertime and boys only on friday dinnertime. It was an extra-curricula activity and was NOT compulsory, for the mixed sessions we needed our parents permission, but I don't think it was required for the same-sex sessions. This was at Primary school so all the kids were between 7 and 11½. This had started in the late 1960's and apparently went on until the mid 1980's, when I was there the mixed nude sessions were very popular and were well attended by both boys and girls. I suspect that mixed nude swimming like this was VERY rare, even at Primary school level, I only know of 3 other schools in the UK that allowed it!

Comments by Christopher on 21st December 2013  

That must have not been very nice for your brother, Theresa. How would he respond?

Comments by Dave on 20th December 2013  


Could you make things a bit more clear?
You said they were nude mixed swimming lessons at school. Was it both boys and girls in the nude, or boys only?

Was the nudity compulsary or optional?