Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 173,673         Comments: 865

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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

865 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Andrea on 12th October 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

No he wasn't, they wore polo shirts for indoor PE. Outdoors they had the choice of their polo shirts or a long-sleeved top.

Comments by Petra on 11th October 2019  

It's a sad reflection on today's world when boys are not encouraged to become men. Being made to strip off to the waist throughout school demonstrated levels of physical development. I didn't know any girl who objecting to seeing boys regularly stripped off with sweat running down their bodies as was often the case. I know definitely didn't!! I worry the way boys are taught has been very much watered down and when something that encourages boys to concentrate on their physical appearance is stopped that's when problems begin. It's ironic when women's sportswear has become less, for boys/men it's the opposite.. crazy! Andrea, was your son expected to strip to the waist for PE?

Comments by Andrea on 1st October 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

When my son was at secondary school, his PE kit was similar to that described by Mr Dando, with all the items having the school logo on. The girls was the same except the school did not supply ankle socks and they had the choice of jogging bottoms rather than shorts if they preferred.
Although the school did have showers, they were rarely used, so I made sure he had deodorant spray in his kitbag!

Comments by Sandra on 29th September 2019  

Seems quite an excessive PE kit and they even regulate what socks are worn that's just ridiculous.

When I was in school most PE was done in gym knickers, vest and bare feet and we survived it was perfectly fine.

Comments by Andrea on 29th September 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

To be honest I didn't take much notice of the boys stripping off to vest and pants before putting on their PE kit.
For the most part the boys ignored us too, until a few of my classmates started to develop during our last year at Primary.

Comments by Paul on 29th September 2019  

Well, I suppose the school can make more money by charging 14 quid for a boy's polo shirt!
But seriously Robbie, you're quite right. There's no reason why they couldn't just do as my school did and make it clear that the PE kit is different for boys and girls. Are boys really so fragile that they couldn't cope with doing PE in shorts only?
We did PE bare chested (in the gym, at least) and to me it actually felt more masculine, to be stripped to the waist and wearing a different kit from the girls. And as we grew older and wanted to impress the girls with our bodies, it was a good incentive to work harder in PE and stay in shape.
I realise that's an unpopular approach nowadays... but this was only 25-30 years ago. How has the thinking changed so much?

Comments by Robbie W on 28th September 2019  

A polo shirt.. What's wrong with either a thin vest or better still show their bare chest. No wonder boys lose their identity in today's feminist world. How effective is PE/Games if boys are not even made to sweat up? It was the minimum expected from us.

Comments by Mr Dando on 28th September 2019  

PE Kit
All pupils are expected to have the school P.E. Kit. This must be bought from school.
All Hallows polo shirt* : Gold with : Royal blue lettering
All Hallows shorts*
All Hallows blue football socks (boys)*
All Hallows blue P.E. ankle socks (girls)*
A note must be brought in to excuse any pupil from P.E. or shower

For the school year the costs for PE Kit are: PE Shirt (Boys and Girls) £14, Shorts £5 and Socks £4.

PE Kit for Year 7 starters is currently supplied by the school and is ordered at the July intake evening.

Comments by Tim on 21st September 2019  

Graham, when I started secondary school it was common for boys to wear different coloured vests under their school shirts.

For our first PE lesson we got changed and a good few boys put their t-shirt on over their vests.

We were taken out onto the school field and lined up and one boy was singled out and made to take off his shirt and drop it on the ground which he did, upon seeing his vest the teacher shouted out "and get your vest off too!" that came off seconds later.

The rest of the class were told to do the same thing and within seconds a pile of discarded clothes lay on the ground.

We had a lecture about toughening up and were told in no uncertain terms no vests for gym work, x country runs, fitness work and tests which frequently done more outdoors
than the gym! Even football was played as shirts vs skins.

Andrea, how did you felt about seeing the boys strip off for PE/Games.

Comments by Graham on 21st September 2019  

Andrea : My sister and I were both at single-sex Primary schools, so the issue of mixed changing didn't arise. This was in the early to mid '70s, too, but I don't renember any of my contemporaries wearing vests, even in winter. PE in the gym was always topless, and we had an open-plan changing-room, so anyone in a vest would have been quite conspicuous.

Comments by Andrea on 19th September 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

This was in the early 1970s and vests tended to be worn for longer than is commonplace nowadays. I certainly tended to wear them in the colder months, but not always in summer. In my case the transition to a bra came at the start of my second year at Secondary.

The other thing that has changed since my schooldays is that there are more 'inbetween' options available for girls, such as half-vests, pull-on crop-tops and bralettes, whereas our first bras were scaled down version of those our mums wore.
Incidentally, did you and your sister go to single sex Primary schools, and if not up to what age did both sexes have to change together for PE?

Comments by Graham on 18th September 2019  

Andrea - back in my school cricketing days, jockstraps were required kit for anyone in a school team, but boxes were only worn by batsmen and wicketkeeper. By the time I was 14 or so, virtually all of my class wwere wearing jockstraps for PE and all ordinary games-afternoon sports, including cricket, and we quite often wore them in lieu of underpants in hot weather. I don't think helmets for cricket had been thought up back then!

Your other comment about your friend needing bras as she had outgrown her vests made me wonder whether a direct transition from one to the other was typical of that era. My memory is that my sister stopped wearing vests before she started primary school, as did I, but didn't start wearing bras until the year she went to secondary school.

Comments by Mr Flaherty on 14th September 2019  

The Grocers, before it was turned into a comprehensive – and, ultimately, an academy with the sort of problems that never assailed the old school until it was rescued by one of the great educationalists of the day - was officially known as the Hackney Downs School.

The boys, incidentally, had to swim naked. They were banned from wearing trunks because the school thought that could adversely affect the processed water in the pool. There were rumours of boys being interfered with by masters but nothing more than rumours. It was a different age.

Comments by Andrea on 13th September 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Just a few points following your recent post.
When my son was at secondary school, they weren't required to wear a helmet or box when playing cricket in normal PE lessons, but it was compulsory when he started playing for the junior section of a local club.

I assume that the reason for switching from wearing swimming trunks to a jockstrap for PE was to be like the older boys?
I suppose it was sensible for the school to sell uniform and sports equipment on site, so that boys wouldn't have to wait until the holidays to buy things. Someone I knew went to boarding school and she told me that following a growth spurt, when she she got home one holiday, she had to ask her mum to take her to buy bras to replace the vests she had been wearing until then.

Comments by Roy on 13th September 2019  

To Fred
Interesting story and very similar to mine. We all wore Litesome jockstraps as we got older, certainly we all wore them in the 6th Form. Like you I still wear a jockstrap for activities/gym etc and, as you say, why shouldn't I?

Comments by Fred on 12th September 2019  

It is a while since I visited this site and thought I might share a few memories.
I started at a small boarding prep school in East Scotland in 1962 aged eight. We played football and rugby in the winter, hockey in the spring and cricket and athletics in the summer. No underwear was worn and I can`t remember if this was a rule or just what we did. When I think about it no protection was used for hockey and cricket, except pads and gloves, unthinkable nowadays, I don`t suppose that you are now allowed sight of a cricket field without the full array of helmets, boxes etc and quite right too! Communal showers were of course nude and we thought nothing of it, being all boys. We were taken by bus once week to the local swimming pool and we wore speedo type trunks.
I moved on aged 13 to another boys boarding school also in Scotland, more sports were on offer and we had a recently built swimming pool and gym attached, again speedo style trunks were the norm, showering after was done nude, again we thought nothing of it. I don`t think there was any rule about underwear and certainly no "inspections" and we could please ourselves, some wore nothing and other wore swimming trunks.
The changing rooms were all open and it soon became obvious the the older boys were wearing jockstraps and we soon followed suit and by the end of our first year we nearly all had acquired one. Litesome was the brand, either cotton or some of the keener lads had the nylon version which I found rather uncomfortable, they were available in the small sports shop on the school site. I don`t know if any brand other than Litesome were on the market. We wore jocks for all sport and gym and I still wear them today for any physical activity, why wouldn`t I?

Comments by Matthew on 11th September 2019  

To Michael

What nonsense!

Comments by Paul on 31st August 2019  

here's a sad trend in this country with a steady increase in how much modesty and body shame is imposed on children as they grow up. One way this is being perpetuated is by the schools not only not requiring showers after PE, but many have actually prohibited showering! It would be far more mentally healthy for children to grow up being used to nudity and showers. By starting showers in grade 1 before modesty has really had a chance to set in firmly, they will quickly get used to nudity, both being seen nude and seeing others nude. They will not grow up with the mentality of body flaws and myths of "perfection", and will be far more accepting of each other regardless of physical traits. I also believe it would be healthy for the mental development of the children if it is coed in the showers and locker rooms. When they grow up from grade 1 getting used to seeing it, the body of the opposite sex will not be a mystery or source of embarrassment. This will result in kids who are not afraid to talk about personal matters with their parents, and also will greatly reduce teenage pregnancy because there won't be near as much curiosity about the opposite sex and sexuality.

I was raised to be modest/embarrassed/ashamed of my nude body, and without showers being required in school it was perpetuated into my teens to a very extreme level of body shame that was very difficult to overcome. I would have been far more mentally healthy if I'd been used to nudity from a young age.

Comments by Michael on 31st August 2019  

I am a 14 year-old boy and I attend middle school in a rural area. Our school is small and there is only one changing room and shower for PE which means that the boys and girls have to share the same facility. It was embarrassing at first to have girls see me naked but I got used to it after awhile and it doesn't bother me so much now. The boys and girls are ages 12 to 15 and we all change into our gym uniform in the same changing room. I take off my school shirt and pants and the girls can all see me in my tighty-whitey fly-front briefs. I see them in their bra and panties. We all have PE together and then we come back to the changing room and I strip naked to shower and the girls all see me naked. The shower room is right off the changing room and the boys and girls shower together. Yes, the boys all get boners but it is a natural thing for a boy and no big deal. We stand in the shower and talk to the girls who are showering with us and it is fun. I usually shower with a girl named, Kim, and we get under the same shower head together and sometimes she washes me and I wash her

Comments by Philip Salford on 30th August 2019  


I swam nude at the YMCA all through my childhood. I also swam nude for three years of junior high and for my first 3 of 4 years of high school. Definitely not an urban legend. When I was a senior, we were finally allowed to wear competition style suits, that left little to the imagination, anyway.

Comments by Graham on 27th August 2019  


Your concluding sentence - "The girls shouldn’t be allowed to romp around and play naked in front of the boys."

So why should boys be allowed, or compelled, to do likewise in front of the girls?

Comments by Mahatma on 27th August 2019  

I remember those days. My folks moved from a small rural town to one a bit larger. My new school had an indoor pool adjacent to the gymnasium. It hadn’t been an issue for me prior to the move, but yes, part of our physical education involved swimming. Boys used the same lockers and showers for the pool as they did for the gym. We were only allowed a towel when entering the pool from the lockers and the towel was not to be worn, it was to be placed on one of the benches. The boys were to be entirely naked anytime they were in the pool area. The girls had P. E. classes separate from us boys, and could access the pool from their lockers and showers, but they had to wear an unsightly swimsuit issued to them by the school. No nudity was allow among the girls, a simple wardrobe malfunction would cause a girl to be dismissed and possibly expelled. (No such rules applied to the boys even during the classes on the basketball court. Boys could be seen from time to time yanking an unsuspecting boy’s gym shorts down as a prank with no dismissal or expulsion involved.)
The locker rooms were not the only means of accessing the pool area, anyone could go from the gym into the pool as they were opened into each other. Just because the girls and the boys had separate classes, it didn’t mean that girls weren’t around during the boys sessions or vice versa. We couldn’t go into the wrong locker rooms of course, but once outside the locker rooms, the girls could easily enter the pool area during the boys time or the boys enter during the girls time, just like when the P. E. classes were in the gym with volleyball or basketball, only difference being the boys were naked when the P. E. classes were in the pool area.
We didn’t look at it as being an embarrassing situation for the boys to have to be naked in front of the girls, teachers, parents, etc. We looked at it as being unfair to the girls not being allowed to get naked as well. For the most part, being naked wasn’t a sexual thing, it was the routine. We were, of course, in our adolescent years and standing there naked talking to a girl who you knew was “checking out your stuff” would cause undesirable results. I suspect some of the girls intentionally caused us poor boys to become erect. Partially for their own enjoyment and partially because if a coach caught us with an erection, we had to run laps as a punishment for it.
Back to the original question, yes, we were required to swim nude. Having endured that time in the past, I believe it should be re-instated. The only difference would be I would issue the girls a more practical apparel, and allow them to remove it when in the water, if they wanted to, but put back on as soon as they were out of the water. The girls shouldn’t be allowed to romp around and play naked in front of the boys.

Comments by Jeff on 26th August 2019  

At my school jockstraps were worn but a friend at another school did wear swimming trunks for support but he did later change to a jockstrap.

Comments by Michael on 22nd August 2019  michaelabbey@rocketmail.com 

It has been a very long time since I looked at this site and I was pleased to see that several posters have mentioned wearing swimming trunks for support.
At my school - in the late 60's - it was common place, especially for us who were in sports teams. Usually the practice began for those who played rugby. Following on from this the habit spread rapidly to PE lessons, cross country and so forth.
Previously I noticed that this practice was hardly ever acknowledged and yet I know that this was widespread through many schools. For myself I know how much more comfortable it was to wear trunks with the extra feeling of safety for rugby.
If anyone else would like to reply on this subject or contact me I would be very interested to hear from them.

Comments by June on 20th August 2019  

Hello Andrea
l am afraid children do tend to follow the trend of the day and it might be said that my boys wore jockstraps because their classmates did.

The purchase of my sons jockstraps was easy ... they got for themselves from the school outfitters.

My sons advise me that their own boys have a fantastic choice of jockstraps today. Although not easily found in sport shops they are bought on Amazon or such like. Perhaps the trend may change again in favour of the jockstrap yet. :=)

Comments by Andrea on 20th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

My Ex attended a boys grammar school (not a public school) where he was encouraged to wear a jockstrap from the third year onwards and continued to wear one for sport as an adult.
We had split up by the time our son started at secondary school and my son preferred to wear briefs, I think mainly because that was what his classmates wore.

As I mentioned, he had to wear a jockstrap and cup for junior cricket, so as a single mum, it was me who went with him to buy them (along with bat, helmet etc.).
Were you ever involved in the purchase of your sons jockstraps, or was that a job for their dad?

I guess it is strange how they have gone out of fashion. I imagine that most sports shops now sell many more sports bras (which weren't around when I was a teenager)than jockstraps.

Comments by June on 18th August 2019  

I guess my older brother, who is two years was the first boy l know to wear one. He and my future husband both attended public (independent private) schools. My husband then encouraged our three boys to wear them for sport. I understand the tradition goes on as my grandchildren wear them as well. Strange how the garment has been shunned by the masses. Perhaps it will regain in popularity someday!

Comments by Andrea on 18th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

When did you first come across a jockstrap?
As I didn't have any brothers and my dad didn't play any sports, I hadn't seen one until my Ex husband's appeared in the washing basket not long after we were married.

Comments by Graham on 17th August 2019  

June, I was at a small privately-run boys boarding school There were about 120 of us altogether, so we all knew each other pretty well. It had a bit of a macho ethos, hence the topless PE and daily showers etc., but I enjoyed my time there. Sadly, it closed a few years after I left.

Comments by June on 15th August 2019  

Hi Graham

Yes the sport teachers preferred older boys to wear a jockstrap rather than underwear if they were wanted genital support for sport ... what type of school did you attend?

Comments by Peter D on 14th August 2019  

James, Like you our all boys school was no underwear for pe compulsory. Our kit was white shorts and I agree they did become somewhat transparent. Furthermore, during my time white nylon shorts were becoming available and several of us wore them. But if they got wet they were really see through. I managed to persuade my parents that cotton was better.

Comments by James on 12th August 2019  

I was in the same category as yourself, where wearing shorts without underwear was obligatory.This was quite common place at the school that I attended and pupils were not allowed to wear underwear from year 7 upwards to prefects in year 12.
Wearing white shorts, as you stated was the worst as they became slightly transparent when wet.
My parents approved of this practice and I often wore shorts at home without underwear.

Comments by Graham on 12th August 2019  

Andy, as I said earlier, what we wore under our PE shorts was up to us, and although there was a certain amount of peer pressure to go commando, a more significant factor was the sheer discomfort of wearing 1970s style boys underwear for exercise. Back then, cotton Y-fronts were fairly normal, and by and large, these didn't benefit from regular voyages through a school laundry system.

Comments by Andy on 11th August 2019  

Having read through some past and more recent posts a common theme is not wearing any underwear. The majority state it being due to school rules, however others seem suggest they did it by choice, while others say they could wear them if they had a spare pair but still chose not to wear any.

Being in the category that had no choice and objected to having to wear my white shorts without underwear I wonder why some chose not to. Was the decision not to wear pants the boys own, driven by parents or due to peer pressure?

Comments by Roy on 11th August 2019  

I agree with Dave and others that it did seem strange wearing a jockstrap at first but as growing lads we eventually loved them. At school, although not compulsory most of us wore them for gym and games. I also agree that most of us wore them under shorts in the summer. I have a couple that I bought recently just for that purpose during the summer months (even at my age !)

Comments by Andrea on 11th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi June,
Although my son wore a jockstrap and cup for cricket, he preferred briefs for PE lessons.

Comments by Andrea on 11th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Hi Dave,
I recall our PE teacher speaking to a few of my classmates about needing some support when they hadn't started to wear bras as early as they perhaps should have!

With regard to swimsuits, during the last summer holidays before I started to wear a bra, I quite often wore a swimsuit top under my T shirt to flatten things down a bit.

Comments by Graham on 11th August 2019  

Andrea, Dave and June: from about the age of 13 we were advised to wear some form of support, jockstraps or swimming trunks rather than loose underwear, with the former being our PE master's recommendation.

Comments by June on 10th August 2019  

Hello Andrea

My boys all wore jockstraps and although not a formal school regulation for boys aged 13+ it was regarded as common sensical and naturally had the approval of those teachers involved in all sporting activities ... l hope that helps :=)

Comments by Dave on 10th August 2019  

Hi Andrea, my PE teacher did not recommend wearing a jockstrap but was quite happy that a few of us wore them, he did however say that we should wear underwear for support, briefs / swim trunks etc.

Comments by Andrea on 9th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Dave and Graham,
I had similar feelings about starting to wear a bra. I found them uncomfortable at first, but after a while I would have been more uncomfortable without one, especially in PE.

Were jockstraps recommended by your PE teachers?

Comments by Dave on 8th August 2019  

Hi Graham, your right wearing a jockstrap at first is a strange feeling but you soon get used to it and I like you also wore mine under shorts during the summer holidays.

Comments by Graham on 7th August 2019  

Andrea - I went commando for the first couple of years, as did most of my classmates, and I got my first jockstraps when I was about 14. Wearing one felt a bit strange at first, but I soon got used to to the sensation, and sometimes wore them as ordinary underwear in summer, especially under shorts.

Comments by Andrea on 6th August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did you continue to go commando for PE at Boarding School, or were you encouraged to wear a jockstrap once you were older or more well developed?

At Primary School we wore shorts and a T shirt over our ordinary underwear for indoor PE (which was done in the hall as we didn't have a gym). Once we wear at Secondary School, indoor PE kit was a polo shirt and gym knickers, but outdoors we were allowed to wear a long-sleeved hockey shirt and a PE skirt or culottes over our gym knickers in winter.

We were expected to shower after both indoor and outdoor PE.

Comments by Graham on 2nd August 2019  

Andrea - my primary school was boys only. We had reversible two-colour rugby shirts for outdoor activities, cross-country, team games etc., but PE indoors was always topless. Going commando was encouraged, but not actually insisted on, but if you kept your underpants on for the lesson, you had to have a clean pair to put on afterwards. Most of us chose to go without. In the absence of showers, we were expected to bring a towel to rub ourselves down with on PE days, and anyone performing the towel-dance while changing was regarded as a bit of a wimp - as was anyone discovered wearing a vest under his shirt.

Comments by Andrea on 2nd August 2019  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Did you go to an all boys primary school or have PE separate from the girls?

My primary school, in the late 1960s, didn't have proper changing rooms, so girls and boys had to change together in our classroom. Of course we didn't have to strip right of, just down to underwear, before putting on our PE kit.

Once I was at Secondary school (all girls) we had proper changing rooms and showers were compulsory.

Comments by Graham on 1st August 2019  

Although we didn't have any showers in the changing room at primary school, we weren't afraid of being seen naked while changing before and after PE classes. This was just as well from my point of view, because when I went on to a boarding school, communal nude showering was the norm at bedtime and after PE or games. Also the norm, albeit unofficially, as I've posted elsewhere, was sleeping nude, as I discovered with a certain amount of pleasure on my first night when my eight room-mates showered, dried themselves off and jumped into bed in their freshly laundered birthday suitd

Comments by Rob on 26th June 2019  

John, I am in agreement with you and others about compulsory showers.After our first PE lesson aged 11 I would have done anything to avoid going nude in the showers with a lot of of other boys but I had no choice but quickly realised there was actually nothing wrong with being naked in the showers. There was no way that I felt I was being abused and after being made to sweat in the gym, where I enjoyed having to wear just gym shorts and plimsolls, I looked forward to the showers and being able to freshen up before going on to our next lesson rather than get dressed again and sit around smelling of stale sweat.

Comments by John on 22nd June 2019  

Well said, I completely agree with you. Like you I was made to shower naked with a group of lads after playing sports and given a choice aged 11 would have opted to avoid them. There was actually nothing wrong with showering nude with other lads and it helped me to get over my totally irrational fear of being naked with other lads. In no way was I abused, in life fears are best confronted and not avoided.

Comments by William on 20th June 2019  

Bernard and Roy, I agree with you. To describe compulsory showers as abuse trivialises child abuse, and having to do something you would rather avoid has advantages. Aged 11 I would rather not have had nude showers with a lot of other boys. Luckily we had no choice. I quickly got used to it, became less shy about my skinny body and didn't mind stripping for gym, swimming or showering. By having to do things I thought would be difficult I found I could cope with more than I thought - a good lesson for life.