Burnley Grammar School

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1959         Item #: 1607         Views: 686,809         Comments: 2,472

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

2472 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Alan on 22nd August 2013  

My first experience of barechested PE actually came when I was 16, probably much older than most of the others who have posted their recollections here. Basically I moved to a different school for the sixth form and I was surprised to find that PE was still compulsory. It didn't occur to me that I might need specific PE kit either - at my old school nobody had bothered too much about what you wore. There was an official PE kit but any kind of top/shorts/trainers combination was usually acceptable.
At my first PE lesson I discovered this was no longer the case. All the other boys wore a vest in school colours, white shorts and socks and running shoes. Thankfully my shorts were white but my coloured t-shirt and socks immediately attracted the PE teacher's displeasure. He demanded to know where my vest was and seemed less than impressed by my plea that I hadn't realised I needed one. I wasn't even sure what he meant when he ordered me to 'do it in skins' - I'd never heard that term at my old school! Most of the other lads were laughing as the exasperated teacher barked at me to take my t-shirt off, as well as the offending socks. I felt very self conscious as I went out to the gym in just shorts (thank heavens I hadn't had to take those off too!) and trainers. It wasn't that I was embarrassed about my upper body, but it felt weird to be the only barechested boy among a group I hardly knew yet and I was very aware of standing out as the new boy.
Before the next PE lesson I got hold of a school vest and wore it as we went to the gym. However, before long I had to take it off again - we were split into teams for a game of basketball and this time I understood what the teacher meant when he announced that my team were skins. The good thing was that this time I wasn't the odd one out, all my team-mates had to go barechested as well. I got talking to one of them, who told me 'skins' games had been regular practice all the way through the school and he said that had encouraged him to make sure he kept in shape and looked after his body properly. To be honest, the results were pretty impressive! I could see the logic of that and I decided to try and do the same over the next two years. Looking back, I think it's a pity I didn't have to go barechested before then and a pity for today's young men that they're never required to at all.

Comments by Pete S on 17th August 2013  

Hello Donald,

I remember the first time I went barechested at school as it was a warm September's morning and that was OK. The school very kindly rostered 2 double games lessons and 2 double PE lessons each week. We weren't so fortunate at the end of week when we were taken outside and stripped down in the pouring rain, something we'd get used to - but that was a suprise at the time.

Comments by Loz on 16th August 2013  

@ Laura, it was certainly the case at the Woodlands school in Coventry, a fact reported by local journalist Chris Arnot in his various remeniscences of his schooldays there. It was (and still is) an all boys school.

In our junior school we had an outside pool, not much more than a tank really. I can recall in all weathers going out across the tarmac playground in bare feet and swimming trunks. There was due to some architects oversight only one changing room in the school, that was reserved for the girls, the boys changed into their trunks in the corridor, modestly protected only by a hasty arrangement of stacked chairs. After the swim, boys and girls showered together (in our costumes) in the sole changing room.

Comments by Chris r on 13th August 2013  

When I was at school, gym class was always done barechested and barefoot. The teachers made us dress like this so that we knew our place, and it certainly made us feel uncomfortable, especially when we did class with the girls. I remember trying to cover my navel and nipples in my first class, and the other boys were embarrasses as well, though the girls loved it.

Comments by Donald on 12th August 2013  

To Pete S

How did you feel when u found out you had to do P.E barechested for the first time?

Comments by Pete S on 11th August 2013  

Our lessons were done with either all barechested or half the class left in vests depending on our teacher's whim.

At the start of every PE lesson our teacher made us lads line up just in vests and shorts and then picked who he wanted to strip and then your vest came off. It was exactly the same outdoors too it didn't matter what the sport was. There was a "core" group of 4 lads in every class (I was one in my class) who he always kept stripped regardless until we left at 18.

The way the school was built half the classrooms overlooked the yard and fields so you were assured of an "audience" when stripping to the waist.

Comments by Tom on 9th August 2013  

In reply to Stuart, I had a PE teacher who made me and another boy do an entire term in shorts only. Our old teacher hadn't minded us wearing T-shirts instead of regulation PE vests, or the wrong colour shorts or socks - but this one certainly did, as we soon discovered at the first lesson. He announced that, as we clearly found it difficult to remember the correct kit, he'd make it easier by restricting our kit to white shorts and nothing else, bare chests and bare feet.
The two of us also had to do a punishment in just shorts which involved running several laps of the gym and then going straight to the swimming pool, where we had to swim lengths, then climb out and do press ups on the poolside, dive back in for more lengths and repeat the press ups. It was exhausting and also embarrassing as our shorts were fairly see through when wet.
The kit restriction also partly applied to outdoor PE - we were permitted to wear trainers or football boots in addition to shorts, but we still had to do each lesson bare chested. Which wasn't a lot of fun when it was cold or raining! I was relieved when the term ended and I was very careful to bring the right kit after that.

Comments by john getty on 9th August 2013  pdsjohn@aol.com 

Ron Parry shown in the photos was a cruel bully of a man who relished in beating young kids (11 upwards) on the bare buttocks with the rubber sole that he had cut off a large gym shoe.
He was particularly nasty to overweight kids and delighted in making them do things that were clearly beyond their capabilities like watching them struggle to try and climb a rope while he belittled them in front of everyone else. He also liked to make a class of the younger ones parade through the showers naked while he stood and watched.
As a fat kid he often picked on me but I got the satisfaction of upstaging him once. We were obliged to watch play table tennis when the school got a new table. As he beat one kid after another and crowed about how good he was and how poor they were I made a comment that I thought he was pretty rubbish, only beating kids who had never played before. I meanwhile although out of shape had a table at home and played at every opportunity ( and I was good).
He challenged "the fat boy" to a game. I started slow and he got five or six love ahead. Baying at me that I should have kept my "gob shut" he posed at every point won.
I then got annoyed at him and went on to paste him by 21 to ten. Everyone there cheered and he glowered at us all. He insisted on a rematch saying my win was a fluke. I won the second and third games so he made it best of ten.
I then began to let him win (narrowly) because I knew that if I didnt he would have been even meaner towards me in the future. He won the set by one point (as I had had enough- I knew he couldnt beat me and that was enough for me) and he boasted it to all concerned. I often wondered after if he really knew which of us was best?

Comments by Laura on 7th August 2013  lcclinton4@yahoo.co.uk 

I don't have any direct experience of schools that required their pupils to swim naked as a matter of routine, but my senior school did require this of lower school girls (11-14) who forgot their swimming costumes. If we forgot our regular kit for PE lessons, we used to have to take part in our underpants, but obviously this wasn't suitable for swimming. I was actually one of the first girls in my class to forget my costume, and that day I had no idea what would happen. I approached my gym mistress with some trepidation, but I was so shocked when she simply told me to strip naked and fiel out to the pool with the rest of my class. A classmate was stood behind me and she told a similar tale of woe, with the same result. We undressed next to one another and tried to hang back but it was still obvious to the whole class that while they had their costumes on, we were totally bare.

Comments by Cornwall on 6th August 2013  

I have read on several occasions about boys of all ages having to swim naked & I wonder why schools had this rule. Can any comment whether there is any benefit in discarding swimwear?

Comments by Loz on 6th August 2013  

At first certain things make sense and then on reflection they do not.

Pe kit did not exist in my junior school, boys would strip to the waist, swap their shoes for a pair of pumps and do PE in their everyday shorts, all boys wore shorts then.
My secondary school specified a top for outdoor work only, however despite of that a T shirt was routinely worn in the gym except for shirts vs skins. (makes sense for shirts vs skins if you have a top to take off)

There was a no underpants rule and although I don’t remember any checks it was pretty much adhered to. We showered together nude. It was the norm any boy covering up was considered to be a bit of a wuss.

Now if it makes sense that kid’s should make a complete change out of their day clothes for hygienic reasons, then why was that not the case in junior school?

Similarly when you consider that most boys would spend their breaktimes running around and playing footy or whatever, they would presumably return to the classroom as sweaty as if they had been doing PE?

From a personal perspective I cannot see any reason why boys should not do PE shirtless and in a minimum of clothing. One might argue that especially in these days some boys may be self conscious about showing too much blubber, but then if one is to promote self confidence and a better body image whatever shape one is in, to cover up seems counter intuitive.

I was at school during the 60’s and the 70’s and there was at least one school with it’s own pool where the boys swam naked, hard as that is to believe nowadays.

Comments by Steve James on 5th August 2013  

In response to Stuarts comments:
I attended boarding school in the Midlands during the late 60's.
I recall only too well, the sadistic treatment of boys by one or two of the prefects.
If you antagonised them or gave them any lip, you would either be placed on 'Prefect's Detention' or your name could mysteriously end up on the Head's caning list!
Prefects Detention was held every Thursday before prep. Once, during my fourth year, for what I thought was a minor indiscretion, I was put on this 'weekly detention' for three consecutive weeks one spring term during the bleakest winter in Warwickshire!
The treatment handed out on these detentions varied according to which prefects were on the rota.
You had to report in just your PT shorts, no vest and in bare feet, whatever the conditions outside. Then Running Laps of the sports field was a very common theme. Push-ups in the cold mud was another.
These two prefects had a particularly nasty reputation and for good reason. On two detentions I and one other boy were not only made to run laps but also included swimming two lengths of the adjacent school outdoor training pool between each lap.
Normally swimming two lengths of 25 yards was not unduly arduous for healthy fourth formers but you can imagine how extremely cold the pool was at that time of year, typically 42 to 48 F.
Those prefects would delight in 'reading the thermometer' and taunting us boys with how low it read. The pool was officially closed in the winter term but that didn't deter them!
To make matters worse they would point out that as our school swimming lessons were always done naked and insisted that we removed our PT shorts prior to entering the water! On jumping in, the shock made us gasp for breath! Completing each swim in such cold, felt never-ending. Other boys only doing the laps were then coerced into running off with our shorts so we were left to run back across the sports field naked, wet and frozen!
The session always ended getting cleaned up with a shower but the hot water supply would mysteriously always get shut down beforehand!
I could hardly wait to become a Prefect myself!

Comments by Stuart on 4th August 2013  stu151@hotmail.com 

Following on from my previous post about 60’s boarding schools.

We all wore white briefs/y-fronts, boxer shorts as teenage boys wear now, didn’t exist. I guess the majority now sleep in boxers, with a few sleeping naked, for anyone at my boarding school to sleep in just briefs (let alone naked) would have been unthinkable, and also would have been seen as really strange behaviour by the other boys.

Prefects had a lot of power, and some abused it. They could punish a boy by giving you a detention, or by making you do a punishment run. Although they weren’t allowed to cane boys, they could report behaviour to a teacher, and this usually resulted in a caning, so in effect a prefect could get you caned if they wanted to.

Detentions given by prefects were gym based, involving an intense workout, and a punishment run just involved a run after lesson, in both cases you wore just minimal kit.

If a teacher or prefect told you to do something, you did it without question. It would have been pointless to start a debate, as you would just end up with further punishment, as well as having to do whatever you had been told to do in the first place.

We started each day with a run, normally in shorts and plimsolls. If it was really cold some prefects allowed you to wear a top, but most made you strip to the waist all the time. In particular there was one prefect we all hated, he would come into the dorm wake us up and say, as it’s really cold outside you can wear as shirt if you want, everyone would get ready, and stand waiting in shorts, vest/rugby shirt and plimsolls. Then he would always pick a couple of boys at random, and say “Smith, Jones shorts only” - you didn’t have any choice, you simply stripped to the waist, took off your shoes, and ran in just shorts. It wasn’t the run itself, it was the fact that he set you up to think, for once, you would be reasonably warm, then made you run not only minus a top but also with no shoes, so that you were frozen, as well getting scratches/mud all over your feet

Did anyone else have a teacher or prefect who restricted kit more than the others, or who punished boys much more than the others in their school.


Comments by alan camboy on 2nd August 2013  

I was at schools in east anglia in the 60's.

At junior school we wore underpants only for gym - nice and simple with no problems with forgotten kit.

At secondary school it was white shorts only no footwear underpants or vests for gym. Outside we were allowed appropriate tops and footwear but the no underwear rule still applied. I remember two boys found wearing underpants in football being made to take off their shorts and pants on the playing fields. They were told to leave their shorts on the touchline and walk back to the changing rooms to deposit their pants with their other clothes then return put on their shorts and carry on. The humiliation they endured meant they never wore underpants again nor did the rest of us.

Comments by Laura on 1st August 2013  lcclinton4@yahoo.co.uk 

Lots of really interesting comments on here. I note that nearly all are from men, and thought it might be interesting to offer a female perspective.

I was at primary school from 1985-1993, and my school required all pupils, boys and girls, to undress and do PE in just our underpants/knickers. This continued right until we left at age 11. My senior school was private and girls-only. For indoor lessons we wore gym knickers and a white cotton vest. Underwear knickers had to be removed and this was checked from time to time. All indoor lessons were done in bare feet. We wore the same kit for athletics in summer and for cross country in winter. Other outdoor sports had full kit as appropriate. If we forgot our indoor kit, in the first few years we had to take the lesson in just our knickers; after that we were allowed vests or bras too. The same principle applied outdoors too, but obviously it was unsafe to play hockey barefoot, so we would generally be sent to slog round the quagmire of a cross country route around the school playing field and grounds.

Comments by DAVID on 1st August 2013  djohnmesher@yahoo.co.uk 

In reply to comments made by Cornwall it was an all boys p.e class. On one occasion we all thought that we would be doing something else and did not bring our gym shorts but our PE teacher said doesn't matter. You can all do it in your pants. On occasions I and a few other classmates would purposely forget our shorts so we could attend the lesson in our white Y fronts. It was no problem and just accepted

Comments by Tony on 1st August 2013  

As Stuart pointed out, Boarding School rules were often far from logical. At mine boys would be reprimanded for failing to wear a vest under their uniform shirt, during winter term. On a winter morning we would begin the day warm in our vest, shirt, pullover and blazer. (We also had anoraks for outdoors) Then we'd swap the protection of the heated classroom and five layers of clothing for the unheated changing rooms. There we'd strip naked and put on only a thin pair shorts and proceed onto the frozen, wind swept playing fields. Vests were now prohibited! After an hour of freezing hell we'd often be subjected to a cold shower. Boys got the slipper for wearing underwear under their thin shorts and were reprimanded for failing to wear a vest under their uniform. Happy Days (I think not) Cold Days, but I never got colds or flu in my teens. I believe this was due to the minimal protection from the elements. So maybe the Games Master done us a favor!

Comments by Cornwall on 30th July 2013  

Stuart re your comments 28/7. It is strange to think you were comppelled to run in just shorts, but at bedtime forced to cover up in the dorm. Illogical especially as most lads seem to sleep in boxers these days.

David re your comments, was the PE lesson boys only & what was the reaction of boys who had to participate in pants, presumably briefs those days as boxers not generally in fashion.

Comments by Simon on 29th July 2013  

I was at a state day school in the sixties and the rule for PE and cross-country was stripped to the waist and barefoot.
For games we were allowed to wear a shirt for rugby but for soccer and also hockey we had to go bare-chested.

Comments by DAVID on 29th July 2013  djohnmesher@yahoo.co.uk 

I went to Grammar School in the 1960s and you always did PE stripped to the waist. If you forgot your kit you were made to do it in your underpants and bare feet. Felt good though

Comments by Stuart on 28th July 2013  

I went to a boarding school in the 1960’s and we always did indoor PE with just shorts, bare feet, no underpants, vests or t-shirts.

Cross country kit comprised shorts and plimsolls, so again bare backs/chests. Anyone wearing any other kit, no matter how cold or wet it was, would have been made to take it off, and would have been punished. A boy who wore a rugby shirt one very cold day was immediately made to strip, and was also caned.

We slept in dorms, everyone had to wear pyjamas, both tops and bottoms. Prefects came into the dorms at 0600, we were woken up, and sent on a 1 mile run, which took place every morning without fail. Even if it was snowing outside we knew we all had to take off our pyjamas and run outside in nothing more than a thin pair of shorts. The prefects had all experienced the same rules when they were younger, and enforced the rules 110%, so even wearing rugby shorts would have been punished, and some prefects made you run barefoot as well.

One warm summer, a couple of boys slept in just their pyjamas bottoms, thus shirtless. One of the prefects noticed this, reported them, and they were caned as a result.

Thus some boys had been caned for not wearing shirt (in bed), and also been caned for wearing a shirt (on a run) – happy days !

Comments by Tommy on 13th July 2013  

Roy stated it was "virtually obligatory" for lads to be shirtless in the 50s and 60's for games/PE. It certainly was for me.
We had a uniform list, remember those? No vest or T shirt was mentioned. I was taught at a Christian Brothers Secondary School in Northern Ireland. Vests were not even permitted under uniform shirts. Shirtless was compulsory year round. One set of bibs (two squares of fabric connected with string) was distributed during matches. Daily morning cold showers only stopped around 1960.

Comments by Roy on 10th July 2013  

When I was at school in the 1950's and 1960's it was virtually obligatory for boys to do PE etc while stripped to the waist.
I fact I was stripped to the waist for PE from day 1 until I left school when nearly nineteen.
It certainly toughened us up and after I got used to it I quite enjoyed going bare-chest even in the cold winters we seemed to have in the fifties and sixties.

Comments by Ted on 8th July 2013  

Interesting, nostalgic memories. I went to primary/secondary schools in 50s/60s. Fortunately/unfortunately no bare chests, just white vest and shorts, no forced nude showers or spankings in gym, or long country runs. But every teacher had a thick spanking ruler on their desk which was used liberally in class.
What I am curious about here is the mention of obligatory nude swimming for boys in some schools. Some even mentioned female coaches or teachers with the nude swimming boys. I am curious to know how prevalent this was, and which schools had obligatory nude swimming in their pools. Can anyone elaborate please?

Comments by Henry on 7th July 2013  

When I was in school, we had to do gym class indoors with the girls until the beginning of sixth form. The girls wore leotards and leggings, but we boys were only allowed to wear shorts, with bare feet and chests, and no underwear. Our leg, armpit and chest hair was on full show. Though some liked to show off occasionally, we all felt quite exposed, but the girls enjoyed it. Occasionally they would try to tickle our sides, armpits or stomachs, just to make us feel more vulnerable.

Comments by James on 28th June 2013  

Sorry! I meant to say teasing.

Comments by James on 28th June 2013  

In reply to Deb R,we had a compulsary school uniform,although short trousers were optional.My parents insisted I wore the full uniform to school including short trousers which meant I was the only boy in my class wearing short trousers.I was subjected to much ridicule and reasing,mainly from the girls and called names like"nappy pants".

Comments by Tim H on 18th June 2013  

@ Deb R - Thanks for your fascinating (& not unexpected?) comments!

Comments by Deb R on 16th June 2013  

A girls view here... A boys kit should either be a vest or preferably bare chest. Why? Well firstly a vest is easy and quick to put on and take off to make up two teams. There's nothing wrong with making boys show their chests to perform exercise. Well it's far more manly and I think gives boys a sense of worth and a pride in their bodies. The doors to the gym had re-inforced glass and I remember always making a point of passing the gym as often as possible (including taking messages to other teachers) to see boys stripped down and, more often than not, sweating - regardless of their age. I must have spent hours watching them barechested on the field/yard or in the gym! It's a shame boys are no longer treated like young men and what can be more manly than being stripped to the waist for PE/Games lessons?

Comments by Jon on 15th June 2013  

I remember when my class did rock climbing on a field trip, none of us brought our PE clothes. As a result, the teacher made all the boys strip off their school shirts and do it in just our shorts while the girls in our class go to sit out and watch. Certainly must have been quite a show for them getting to see all of us barechested and pouring sweat as we strained up that wall.

Comments by Rob on 15th June 2013  

We, too, had punishments in PE similar to what John describes below – the teacher would stop the lesson and say something like “Oh dear! Davis…” [we were always called by our surnames] “…was messing about and has spoiled it for everyone now. I’ve just got to pop out to the store cupboard – I do hope he doesn’t get beaten up while I’m out of the room!” Which, of course, was the green light for the rest of us to do exactly that! I know it sounds vicious but it really wasn’t – it was a different world back then and nobody ever got seriously hurt – it was understood that we were only expected to let fly with a few punches, and only to the upper body – never below the belt and never to the head or face. The teacher would return in less than a minute, inevitably to find Davis, or whoever it was, in a crumpled heap on the floor, but within seconds he’d be up and playing a full part again. It was a real deterrent because it was instant and most of us preferred it to a detention after school. I wonder what it was about PE that made that seem so acceptable and ‘normal’, when it would be unthinkable in any other lesson…

I absolutely adored PE – after hours or days of sitting behind a desk in boring lessons wearing a shirt and tie and blazer, finally you got the chance to fling off your clothes and run around exerting some energy – such a feeling of exhilaration and freedom. And, although I wasn’t that good at it, I loved the ‘fight’ type situations, of which we seemed to have quite a few in PE – punishment of miscreants as described above, fights during Killerball, the wrestling tournaments we sometimes had at the end of term, or even just trying to give each other ‘nipple cripples’ when the teacher was at the other end of the gym. Again, I know that will all sound terrible to people who never experienced it but we were just boys being boys. We weren’t all like that, of course, and the boys who clearly didn’t enjoy such physical attention were left alone – I’d like to think because we knew that that would be bullying, which we would never engage in, and there truly was an element of that, but, to be honest, it was probably mainly because it was only ever fun getting into a scrap with a boy who you knew would fight back – not someone who would immediately drop to the floor and start crying.

And I don't know if it was just me, but ‘fights’ in PE somehow always gave me an extra special thrill, for two reasons I think: (a) because you could go all out and didn’t have to hold back – there was no danger of your opponent falling and hitting his head on the corner of a desk or the concrete playground, and we knew we weren’t going to get into trouble for it, and (b) the major reason of the two – there seemed to be something extremely basic, simple, pure and uncomplicated about fighting just wearing a little pair of shorts, with no clothes to worry about getting torn or dirty (or blood-stained!) – and no clothes to cushion the blows - you felt so much more exposed and vulnerable to the blows landing on bare flesh and, at the same time, it was so much more satisfying hearing the smack of your fist landing on the other boy’s bare stomach, or the thud of your elbow on his chest or felt your arm around his bare neck as you squeezed him as tight as you could in a headlock! And you could see all the red marks you made on his body. Describing it like this makes it almost sound like a fetish, but, again, I would say we were just boys being boys – something they’re not allowed to be today, and often find outlets for their energy and natural aggression and competitiveness which are less healthy both for themselves and for society.

Comments by Graeme on 7th June 2013  

I can't understand why boys have inhibitions about doing PE stripped to the waist.
I always was stripped to the waist and couln't wait to go bare-chested where ever possible.

Comments by James on 2nd June 2013  

We used to get strapped on the bare back in PE which was very painful and left marks. We had a very strict PE teacher who used many forms of punishment including caning the bare backside. Boys were often sent to him by female teachers to be caned which he carried out by in his office next to the gym. We always had to wear our pe shorts and no tops but as the female teachers were often present, we kept our shorts on. Still hurt but taught us a lesson.

Comments by Paul on 2nd June 2013  

At first I thought Gymnastics were brutal. These sessions were around two hours and were intense. I didn't like it at first, and one time sprained my neck whilst doing head stand. Luckily, like most we were quite fit and thin, so this training wasn't too bad. After a while we got used to it and being topless helped keeping cool, even though being really skinny, still made us sweat so much that our mats were covered in it. Most of us were really skinny, and which was normal, due to very little food and intensive activities. Our shorts were blue, not white, and hardly stayed on around my tiny waist, being elasticated, not string. I don't think pupils could take that punishment today!

Comments by Archie on 30th May 2013  

I remember now - they called it a "double whammy"!

Comments by Archie on 29th May 2013  

Still an interesting discussion going on here. As we did PE shirtless our PE masters occasionally punished us by clapping their hands together with us standing in between - so one hand hit our chest and the other our back. Done properly it gave a bit of a sting! They had a name for it, but can't recall what it was. That was obviously only done for minor annoyances rather than for real misbehaviour.

If we were being actually punished we would have to put our hands up and/or bend over for a dose of the belt (tawse).

Comments by Justin on 23rd May 2013  

While I agree with Roy about the kind of punishments that have been described, I can't see why they are different from other practices that were clearly quite common years ago. In other words, why would it be acceptable to cane a boy on his bare backside but not to hit his bare back or front torso? Surely both are painful and humiliating forms of corporal punishment that nobody should have to endure, certainly not children or teenagers. I'm glad to say when I did PE in the 80s none of those punishments were deemed acceptable - we got extra press ups, laps of the pitch or something like that.

Comments by John Lavender on 22nd May 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com 

@ John : Our PE Teacher didn't employ that Punishment method, but for a Minor offence it was 20 press-ups or squat-thrusts.
Greater mismeandours earned a 'scragging' by the rest of the lads - around 20 - in the class. lasted about 5 minutes , enough to make you think twice before repeating the Transgression. We were in plain-white Tees for PE although we did do 'Skins vs. Vests' for Killerball games. As I pointed out previously quite a while ago, some of us wanted to be barechested all the time and took any opportunity to do the lesson stripped to the waist.

We had 'Running the Gauntlet' as well as a slow-change Punishment. Some of us slow-changed deliberately so we could do it! Occasionally the Runner would stop dead and land a Punch on one of the other lads doing the Back-slapping. A brawl would sometimes break out and that was always good fun! You could always get the score evened up if you were on the Opposing Team in the Killerball game at the end of the lesson. The PE Master telling one team to get into Skins was always the sign that we were going to play it.Used to look forward to that!

Comments by Roy on 22nd May 2013  

If teachers today used any of the methods described by Adam and others it would quite rightly be described as child abuse and dealt with accordingly.

Comments by John on 20th May 2013  

I thought only our PE teacher was the only one to use such painful punishment methods. I can confirm it hurt like hell, when he whipped your back with his cord, and yes, it happened that the cord swung around your body to hit your chest or tummy. As we were always barechested for PE, indoors and outdoors and he also had a unique way of making sure we changed in the least amount of time. The two last boys out of the changing room had to run the gauntlet at the entrance of the gym hall, where the other boys would wait in two lines and hit the boys' bare backs as they passed by. I can assure you, boys at my school got changed within a few seconds!

Comments by Chris on 19th May 2013  

John's comment sent a shiver down my spine. My PE teacher also used the cord of his whistle in that way and, boy, did it sting! One of my worst memories is a PE detention when I was made to take off my vest and do various exercises, but if I failed to complete them correctly or within a tume limit, the whistle cord would come out. He must have had plenty of practice because he managed to aim the cord so that it wrapped around and landed on my chest or tummy! Not a nice man.
Even without that painful 'bonus', it was quite common to be bare-chested for PE punishments, sometimes outdoors as well as in the gym.

Comments by John on 18th May 2013  

Really? Caned on their backs? What kind of offence merited that punishment? Seems extremly harsh too me. At my school in the 70ies we got caned on our backsides but our PE teacher sometimes whipped boys on their backs with the cord of his whistle. Very painful indeed, but we never got the cane on our backs!!

Comments by Adam on 18th May 2013  

I was a day boy at a state secondary school in the sixties and on our first day there it was made clear that you did PE etc stripped to the waist both in the gym and outdoors whatever the weather.
It was no use complaining.Those who did had to do punishment press-ups outdoors for up to an hour still bare-chested.
For the very few who still objected it was not unknown to receive corporal punishment-usually the cane on the bare backside but sometimes a boy would be caned on his bare back.

Comments by Jamie on 17th May 2013  

Yes, the picture brings back memories. I was a boarder at a prep school. We always did pe in just white cotton shorts and plimsolls. If it was sunny, we would go outside and do our lesson on the grass or in the playground. If we went to the tennis courts, we had to walk along the road all stripped to the waist. No one ever gave it a second thought.
For swimming, we had to do the lesson naked. Again, all normal and everyone got on with it. It was a lot easier as you just had to remember your towell.
As a boarded, even at weekends when we went swimming, most boys were naked although we could wear trunks. The ones who wore trunks were generally the weedy one. How things have changed.

Comments by david pattison on 16th May 2013  david.d.pattison@gmail.com 

I went to BGS from 1959 to 1964.
My memories of Mr Parry are of him taking Detention Class in the afternoon.....and doing Gym work as part of detention :-)

Comments by Rob on 13th May 2013  

When I went to secondary school we were supposed to wear a vest for PE but there was one lad (who had come from a different junior school) who never wore a vest for PE.In fact he never wore one at all.
Gradually more and more of us followed his example and very soon we were all stripped to the waist.

Comments by Neil on 7th May 2013  

We used to do PE stripped to the waist whatver the conditions and I think that the girls used to look forward to seeing hunky young lads stripped to the waist!!!!
Also when we did cross-country many of the locals also used to look forward to seeing us all bare-chested and sweaty!!

Comments by Mark on 7th May 2013  

I too well remember doing PE outside stripped to the waist and barefoot with snow on the ground.
It certainly toughened us up and we certainly used to go about bare-chested whenever we could.

Comments by Toby on 3rd May 2013  

My PE teacher was a keen disciplinarian. Our uniform (or lack of) consisted of brief shorts (no underwear), vest and plimsolls or footie boots. Vests often discarded as a punitive measure or to distinguish teams (shirts vs. skins).

Very similar to my school, also during the 1970s but in southern England. We often did shirts vs skins, but I also remember having to remove my vest as a punishment. On one occasion I got into trouble for cutting corners on laps of the playing field and was made to do them again, this time in just shorts and bare chest. For PE detentions we were always in 'skins', which could be in the gym or outdoors. I never really thought about it at the time but I suppose the idea was to make you feel small and less sure of yourself.

Comments by John Lavender on 25th April 2013  finswimmerjohn52@gmail.com  http://s1053.photobucket.com/user/hagi52156/media/PE.jpg.html

There is also a UK photo on this URL, Lads Shirtless.