Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1959         Item #: 1602         Views: 153,732         Comments: 724

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

Led by Stuart Bennett (Captain), right, the cross-country team returns from a practice run around the nearby country-side.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, November 1959

724 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Derek on 28th November 2017  

What kind of showers did you guys have at school?
I assume that today's schools have more private showers, unlike the ones we had in our days with open showers.

Our PE teacher also supervised us during showers and I don't think any teacher in his right mind would make any inappropriate move without risking losing his job or even prosecuted. So this talk about pervert PE teachers is just hysteria in my opinion.
In all my time at school I never saw or heard of any inappropriate behaviour by teachers, the only exception was maybe that some teachers used excessive corporal punishment which was what most of us boys were concerned about and which the school authorities did not seem to care much about.

Comments by Roy on 14th November 2017  

I agree that it is unhygienic not to shower after PE especially if the sessions are followed as they often are by classroom lessons.

Comments by Kevin on 6th September 2017  

Dan - I find your comments about showers quite disturbing. It is really only common sense to shower after p.e. I remember most of us were a bit nervous to start with but soon it became a normal and quite enjoyable process.

Why did you find it a miserable experience - did you feel inadequate in some way or did your father project his fear on to you in the same way that it seems you might be doing with your son?

As for child protection issues - do you think the p.e. teachers are perverts waiting to pounce in front of the whole class when they are naked in the showers?

Comments by Rob on 2nd September 2017  

William & Dominic, I agree entirely with your comments, and Dafne, your right,it is gross not to shower after sweating in gym class. Until recent years it was normal for boys to wear just a pair of shorts with nothing underneath, no shirt, and perhaps plimsolls without socks.We were certainly made to sweat but glad that we were not wearing anything else and felt really great about ourselves and looked forward to getting in the showers afterwards.No wrapping ourselves in towels though, just shorts off and walked naked to and from the open showers. We were apprehensive at first but quickly gained in confidence & thought nothing of it. Dan, I appreciate how you feel; I have two sons and they had to shower naked after PE but you need to stop worrying and let your son lead his own life without him feeling anxious about his body because he knows that you are concerned about him in this way. We weren't concerned when our sons went to secondary school and they in turn had no problem about it.

Comments by Dan Jones on 1st September 2017  

Showers are definitely mandatory in my sons new school.

Please read the school rules below.

P.E. is compulsory throughout the school and children must bring the correct school P.E. kit and a towel for showers.
Hair Gel or other deodorants, cosmetics etc. are not allowed. Aerosol cans may not be brought to school.

This is at trinity nottingham

Comments by William on 1st September 2017  

Dan, Dominic is absolutely right. You don't say why you think showers are humiliating. Bodies are natural; we all have one; we all know what they're like. At school we were alarmed at first but in no time forgot we were nude and that gave us confidence.

If your boy doesn't shower with the rest might he not become anxious or repressed about his body? It is sad to see young men in changing rooms so inhibited that they shower with trunks on when the groin is the last place you want sweat or chlorine. Dafne's right.

Comments by dafne on 30th August 2017  

We still have showers at my school! I don't know if it's "mandatory" or anything but we all shower after gym class.. seems gross not to. Even the guys all shower as far as I know. I guess it is a thing we all get used to- have always showered after sweating at every school i've gone to. the showers at my school are pretty nice though. Always have warm water and even though its not fully closed off, there are some partitions for some privacy.. We just wrap our bodies in towels in between the shower room and locker room. Not sure how it is on the boys side, I assume pretty much the same

Comments by Dominc on 28th August 2017  

Dan - that is quite encouraging - a school that still has showers after p.e. Your son will only find that humiliating if he has been told it will be. If you are supportive and positive and point out that all the boys will be in the same position he might find it less of a problem. Most boys were a little apprehensive at first but after a few times thought nothing of it. If you arrange for your son not to take showers when the other boys do won't that cause him humiliation?

"Child protection" should really concentrate on actual dangers and should not be used as an excuse to get out of something you are not too keen on.

Comments by Dan Jones on 28th August 2017  

son moving up to middle school next year and having read the school brochure, saw it said about having showers after PE.
I can't believe (from my own experience) that they still subject chidlren to the misery of standing naked in a school shower with no curtains.

Can the school make the chidlren have showers after PE? I would have thought not due to child protection issues but not sure. Anyone know and anyone told the school that their child won't be having humiliating, naked showers after PE sad.

Comments by Stuart on 12th August 2017 

I'm late into this discussion but thought I'd add my experience. I went to an all boys prep school in Surrey from aged 9. Pe kit was shorts and white t shirt and black pump style plimsolls. Often we played games in and outside and one half would be topless as the skins team even when cold.

Our swim lessons were naked. At 13 you went up to the big school and were allowed trunks, if you forgot them it was naked and a spanking on the side of the pool from Sir with plimsoll. Designed I suppose to make sure you didn't forget again. Happened quite regularly though. For me twice, first time I was so worried as our lesson was late afternoon no time to go home but also no one to borrow a pair. Quite humiliating.

Comments by Hayley on 1st August 2017  

At the start of yr7 I think we were all an shocked about what we had to wear for PE that we all just got on with it. Later it became clear that for some girls, going topless was quite tough. I didn't really need a bra at that age but it still felt quite exposing to have to run around the gym with my chest bare, especially if a boy came in to get something from the store cupboard, or if we had a male teacher covering the lesson.

Comments by Alfie on 29th July 2017  

I think it was logical to wear the minimum clothing for PE to let the body breathe.
Unfortunately we have gone to the other extreme today of boys and girls doing PE in a full tracksuit in many schools. They don't even have showers after PE.
I think the "politically correct" society of today with its pedophile scare and multiculturalism have taken things too far.
I have recently been reading about public swimming pools in Sweden who are making separate swimming times for males and females to accomodate their large Muslim population culture. I wonder if this is also happening in some places in Britain.

Comments by Andrea on 27th July 2017 

Hi Hayley,

I'm glad we didn't have the same rules in our secondary school! Although I didn't start to wear a bra until the start of my second year, towards the end of the first year I was self conscious enough not to want my dad to see me without at least a vest on, let alone a male teacher!

Comments by Rob on 23rd July 2017  

Tim, We may have worn briefs in the late fifties and early sixties, but as you mentioned last month on the Burnley Grammar School site, when we changed for P.E.we had to wear gym shorts with nothing underneath,no shirt and plimsolls, so we were without any support from our underpants which weren't allowed in the interests of hygiene. After working up a sweat in the gym it was a pleasure to take our shorts off and all get under the showers together.

Comments by Tim on 21st July 2017  

It seems incredible now that not so long ago year 7 (both male & female) had to do PE in just underwear especially as most boys would wear boxers and not the briefs like we used to wear
and which gave much more support.

Comments by Hayley on 15th July 2017  

Year 7 was ages 11-12. I guess that was quite old to have to do our lessons in just our knickers, but that was how it was and we didn't really question it.

It was a mixed school but PE lessons were done single sex. The boys has a similar rule and in year 7 had to do it in their underpants. Although our regular PE teacher was female, a few times we had a male teacher cover the lesson. That didn't alter what we wore (or what we didn't wear!).

Comments by JamesB on 14th July 2017  

Hi Hayley,
We had up to year 5 in primary and then Form 1 to Form 6 in secondary back in the 60s, so I assume that year 7 would have been age 12 or 13 which I think was a bit too old to do PE in just underwear. Even more so since you are talking about the 90s.

Was this a girls school, and if not what were boys made to wear for PE?
Did you ever have male teachers when you did PE in just knickers?

Comments by Andrea on 14th July 2017 

Hi Hayley,
I would imagine that for some, running around topless towards the end of year 7 must have been uncomfortable and embarrassing? Was it an all girls school, or mixed?

Our indoor PE kit was the same for all years at Secondary school - navy blue gym knickers and a white aertex shirt.

Our PE teacher had a rather different attitude to bras than yours; far from forbidding them to be worn, she would sometimes 'suggest' that it was time that certain girls started to wear one!

Comments by JamesB on 14th July 2017  


I agree with you that it would have depended on different factors whether swimming without trunks would have been enjoyable, or no big deal, or whether it would have been humiliating as in your case.

At what ages and under what circumstances were you made to take swim lessons nude at your school?
Was it private or public school and was it mixed or boys only?

Can you mention the factors which made your swimming lessons so embarrassing or degrading at your school?

Comments by Hayley on 12th July 2017  

Wow, so many posts! I've not read them all but I thought I'd add my own. My secondary school was pretty old fashioned when it came to PE and what we had to wear for it. I was there in the 1990s. We did lots of gymnastics rather than things like dance and circuits that are popular now.

Our PE kit changes as we went through the school. In the top two years we had gym knickers and aertex tops. In yr8 we had to do it in gym knickers and a white vest. But on yr7 we weren't allowed PE kit and had to do it in our underwear. What was worse though was that when the teachers said u derqear, they meant just our knickers. We weren't allowed for wear bras or anything else on top!

Comments by RobinC on 11th July 2017  

I've read Marshall's post and I also did swimming lessons without trunks but my experience of it was a lot different. None of us thought it was normal and we weren't comfortable with it overall. I think it's fair to say that Marshall's experience doesn't represent everyone who did swimming lessons at school without trunks. I think it depends on different factors.

Comments by Oliver on 10th July 2017  

Marshall's post made me think of my friend in junior school who rarely wore a shirt at home. His parents, as I recall, felt it was much healthier for their sons to go shirtless as much as possible, and when I went round to their house the boys were usually in just shorts.
When we moved up to senior school we suddenly learned that the boys' PE kit did not include a top of any description! This was quite a shock for most of us boys, who just weren't used to displaying our chests in public (other than while swimming). Not so for my friend, who was perfectly comfortable in shorts only, and couldn't understand why the rest of us were making a fuss!

Comments by Marshall on 6th July 2017  

Gerald you're right about most of us being shirtless at home. That's why we found doing PE shirtless perfectly normal. These days a lot of boys wear full pyjamas even in the summer. Clearly that will cause them to be more replied by shirtless pe

Comments by Alf on 26th June 2017  

My last sentence should have read "but certainly not those ridiculous almost ankle length board shorts or whatever they call them that youths wear today."

So replace knee length with ankle length to avoid misunderstanding.

Comments by Neil on 26th June 2017  

I totally agree with you!

Comments by Alf on 26th June 2017  

It seems funny how fashion changes and regresses.
Up to the 80s or 90s most youths wore speedos while older gents wore trunks or shorts.
It was actually strange or laughable to see boys and youths wearing long shorts and few did.
Now it is the opposite.
I guess that the older gents are used to wearing speedos from their youth.
Today I actually take the middle road and wear shorts above the knee, but certainly not those ridiculous almost knee length board shorts or whatever they call them that youths wear today.

Comments by Bradley on 24th June 2017  

The difference is that the bikini is fashionable whereas the speedo is simply just not. Board shorts are fashionable, bikinis are fashionable but honestly it's pretty clear that speedos just are a bit too much. It's not something we want to see on the beach. I've only worn them when necessary in swimming competitions.

Comments by Tim on 22nd June 2017  

I agree with Marshall. Ladies of all shapes and sizes seem to be wearing smaller & smaller bikinis on the beach and often they are not flattering and leave quite a lot of flesh exposed.. However, if men dare to wear brief trunks eg Speedos
( and again I agree that sometimes they also are not flattering) people think it is wrong. Where is the equality in that?

Comments by Gerald on 20th June 2017  

Marshall's post really sums it up. I've seen posts before on here about shirtless pe being unfair. At the end of the day, like Marshall said about swimming, we always considered being shirtless to be the standard kit for PE. As well as this, most of us were shirtless at home anyway so it wasn't seen as something unusual to not be wearing a shirt.

Comments by Marshall on 20th June 2017  

I find it quite interesting how over the years men in this country have become more prudish and started to cover up more, from nude swimming to speedos to large board shorts. Meanwhile, women have gone the other way- from almost fully covering swimsuits to bikinis.

Comments by Bradley on 19th June 2017  

Speedos are supposed to be for swimming in my view, not for just walking around in the beach. Board shorts would be better for the beach. The main advantage of swim briefs is how streamlined they are. It always makes me cringe a bit seeing middle aged men wearing them on the beach. It's not something anyone wants to see to be honest.

Comments by Bradley on 18th June 2017  

Marshall, I suppose I have been looking at it from the wrong perspective. Although wearing briefs does make one more streamlined and improves swimming performance compared to doing swimming in the nude.

Comments by Tim on 18th June 2017  

Nowadays it seems brief type swimming trunks (Speedos) are reserved for serious swimmers. At least I can feel comfortable wearing them abroad where they are more commonly seen.

Comments by Neil on 17th June 2017  

Back Marshall all the way .. in my day quite normal ... never batted an eyelid!

Comments by Marshall on 17th June 2017  

I know for the younger generation it would seem horrendous to swim without trunks, for us it was what we always thought was the norm. Just like we did football in football kit, we just accepted swimming as something that is done without anything on. We weren't embarrassed, even for the galas since it's not like there were any outside spectators and the teachers that were there couldn't care less about what we were wearing. We were worried about whether we would win or lose, not about being nude.

I'm sure Bradley you accepted that briefs are the commonly accepted swimming kit, just like we accepted nothing as being the right kit.

Comments by Bradley on 16th June 2017  

Marshall, this is quite shocking to say the least! I remember when I was in school I was selected for a swim competition where my team and I were given these tight swim briefs to wear. Even that was a bit too uncomfortable to be in, can't imagine how bad it must have been to be wearing nothing at all

Comments by Marshall on 16th June 2017  

I'm not quite sure since it was a long time ago but as far as I know the only spectators were the swimming teacher and the team captains, who were also teachers. So there weren't any outside spectators not involved in organising the gala.

Comments by Tim on 13th June 2017  


Did bother you having to swim in a gala presumably in front of a lot of in the nude?

Comments by Alf on 12th June 2017  

Thanks for your answer, Marshall.

Were there any spectators during your swimming galas?

If so would there also be females included, like female teachers or staff, or relatives?

Comments by Marshall on 11th June 2017  

Alf, I will answer all your questions in order below:
The teacher was our PE teacher who also taught swimming.

The classes were 15 to 20 people in size, same as a normal lesson. We had one lesson a week.

It was compulsory for all students. The teacher wore swimming shorts and a jacket.

I only joined the school in Year 11 when I was 16 years old. Before that, I lived in a different town and went to a different school, where we did not have swimming lessons. As far as I know all years did their lessons without swimwear.

It was a boys' school.

For swimming galas we still had to be nude, although only the best swimmers actually got selected (me included!). As far as I know, our school never took part in any inter-school swimming competitions.

Comments by Turner on 10th June 2017  

The showering procedure described by Rob on 9 June is the situation at my local leisure centre although it is noticeable that hardly anyone under about 30 uses the showers. That tends to be the generation who wear long trousers and sweatshirts or fleece jackets in the gym.

At the refurbished swimming pool that I use, the showers are mixed sex, meaning you can't remove your trunks. Instead of a communal single sex changing room you have to use an individual cabin so tiny that it's difficult to dry yourself. In my experience of German leisure centres the showers are mixed sex and everyone showers naked together, The Germans accept this as normal.

Comments by Bradley on 10th June 2017  

Rob, I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable being nude in front of strangers in a sauna. When it's in front of guys I know it's not a problem at all but it would be awkward in front of strangers. I guess if I grew up in Finland I would be more comfortable with that culture but, being British, public nudity isn't my thing!

Comments by Bradley on 10th June 2017  

William. I meant that a teacher forcing a child to take their trunks off when swimming is indeed child abuse. Teacher can say "you need to shower after swimming and showering should be done without trunks" but if a student does not want to shower naked the teacher cannot make him take his trunks or take them off himself. He'd have to either give the kid a detention, inform a parent or allow him to shower with trunks (most likely the third option to avoid any controversy).

In my school what happened was the teacher told us at our first ever lessons that "showering is done without trunks" and we all got on with it. Teachers never supervised us showering and no one had a problem with it. But forcing a child to even take their shirt off these days would be controversial.

Comments by William on 10th June 2017  

Bradley, Yesterday you said nude showering isn't child abuse but on 1st June "Teachers cannot force children to take off their trunks while showering as this would indeed be considered child abuse".
Either way, I'm glad your university sports teams are as relaxed about nudity as we became at school - thanks to compulsory nude showers.

Comments by Rob on 10th June 2017  

Bradley, agree absolutely with your first paragraph; you just have to go along with whatever you are expected to do.
Similarly,now in university,you are able to feel like one of the boys,a man even,without any inhibitions about being naked in the changing rooms with your mates. Nothing wrong with that;just enjoy yourself! How confident would you feel now about going nude in a mixed sauna?

Comments by Bradley on 9th June 2017  

Rob, I do feel that my generation is too inhibited compared to people in other countries. But I'm sure you can agree that when everyone is covering themselves, you don't want to be the only one who's not. It just wasn't considered approaches to ever be naked in front of others.

Interestingly, it's not the same at university (men's, don't think the same applies for women's teams but not sure) sports teams. Straight after practice at the changing rooms we take everything off, walk to the showers and back and even talk about the match and everything for a few minutes and none of us even think about the fact that we are wearing absolutely nothing. But sports teams only consist of certain types of guys and the vast majority of my generation certainly aren't like this!

Comments by Alf on 9th June 2017  

We didn't have the luxury of a swimpool at the schools I went to, so I am curious about how these swim classes went on.

When you say "teacher" during these lessons do you mean an ordinary teacher who just supervised the swim class or a swim coach who actually taught swimming lessons?

How big were the classes for swimming and how often were they during the week?

Was the nudity during these classes compulsory for everyone or just at the teacher's whim?

Was the nudity required at every age or just in juniors?

Was it a mixed school, and if so did the girls wear swimsuits for their classes?

Did you have swimming competitions at the school, or inter school competitions, and were suits worn for these occasions when there would obviously be spectators, or did you still have to be nude?

Comments by Rob on 9th June 2017  

Fred, you'er right about mixed saunas abroad ,I've experienced them in Germany and Austria and a couple of months ago posted my comments here. Bradley,you said that it was important to overcome our inhibitions and referred to attitudes in other countries. I am therefore surprised that you took so much effort to protect your modesty when showering at school. After our P.E.lessons we would return to the changing rooms and take our shorts off and leave them on the benches with our other clothes and walk naked to the showers,where as I've already mentioned, we all had to stand together under about five large shower heads. We very quickly lost any lingering inhibitions.

Comments by Marshall on 9th June 2017  

William you're right about the inhibited nature of people these days. Everything is child abuse even when a child isn't being harmed.

It's all about intent. If a teacher wants to humiliate, wants to take advantage of a child that is abuse. But my teacher certainly did not intend to do these things when we swam nude.

Comments by Bradley on 9th June 2017  

William I didn't say that nude showering is child abuse. I was talking about nude swimming. Its important that showers are done without trunks as a matter of hygiene but swimming without trunks seems unnecessary humiliating, especially in front of others and a teacher. My experience of showers was that we'd wrap a towel around our waists, face the wall, turn the tap on and then wrap our towels back on and walk out. It's worth noting we had curtains as well.

Nowadays it's just not appropriate to do swimming lessons wearing nothing. There's no need for it.