Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1935         Item #: 1741         Views: 173,678         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 Graham on 21st February 2019  

June, I think 11 or 12 must be the sort of age when boys, and probably girls too, realise that pyjamas aren't essential for a good night's sleep, and being away from direct parental influence offers a good opportunity to experiment. I was 11 when I went to boarding school, fully equipped with the requisite three sets of PJS. Although I was quite used to sleeping topless in warm weather by that age, I wasn't really prepared for the sight of my seven room-mates stripping stark naked at bedtime, with not a stitch of nightwear to be seen. Not wishing to make an exhibition of myself on my first night, I opted to follow their example first, and ask questions afterwards. It turned out that there was a sort of unofficial school ethos of masculine hardiness, that extended to never wearing vests (back in the days when most kids did), topless PE, and sleeping nude. I was slightly apprehensive as to what my parents were going to say when I went home at half-term with unworn PJs and a new sleep style, but they didn't seem at all bothered, other to comment that they needn't have bothered getting me new PJs.

Comments by Andrew on 20th February 2019  

Robin, did you do mixed PE lessons so Jasmine would see? Also, did you do any indoor PE without a top?

Our PE wasnt mixed but the kits we wore were known to the opposite gender. I dont have a story like yours but I do vaguely remember our girls being curious if any of us did any PE barechest out of choice as if they were keeping mental note!

Comments by Robin on 20th February 2019  

Hi Rob, this was in the early 90s. I was 14 going on 15 at the time. And yes, PE for me soon became a highlight of the week rather than something I hated. It was exciting to pack my bag in the morning and deliberately "forget" my top, in the knowledge that I would later have no choice but to strip down to my shorts in front of my classmates. It also provided good motivation to work harder and improve my fitness, knowing my bare torso would be on full display to the girls.

Now that I reminisce about those times, it certainly helped to have a relatively easy-going PE teacher like ours who would work us hard but not be overly strict in other ways, such as regarding our attire for example. We had a young-ish female teacher (uncommon but not unusual for the time) named Ms. Abbey who also taught us math. She was fit as well. Most of us liked her quite well. I suppose many of us boys had a crush on her! Thinking back, she certainly played a large part in helping me overcome my inhibitions. She would often encourage us boys to go topless, especially when doing a gymnastics lesson. I remember being keen to impress her, though in retrospect I doubt my teenage physique would have. But if she saw you working hard, she was generous with her praise. Once, she was making her rounds about the gym, noticing me with my shirt off, made some approving comment about how my muscles were becoming more defined and saying she was glad to see my increased effort lately. I remember blushing furiously from head to toe! It just about made my day.

Does anyone else have a favourite teacher or similar experiences?

Comments by B🎁 on 20th February 2019  

The picture above is an accurate representation of our P.E. lesson with one exception.In the sixties and seventies the white shorts weren't as long as the lads above.

Comments by James on 20th February 2019  


I too wore short trousers at 14 although they were not compulsory for school,but due to my parents'preference I wore shorts all the time.
Did you feel comfortable wearing shorts at that age or would you have preferred long trousers?

Comments by Rob on 19th February 2019  

Robin,what a lovely post. How long ago and how old were you? I note you were still wearing shorts,although I still wore them until I was aged 14. I went to an all boys school in the late fifties when we had no choice but to strip off completely for every PE lesson and wear just shorts and plimsolls in the gym and outside including cross country runs,with naked communal showers.I would have liked to have gone to a mixed school and been able to do what you did.I bet you felt good having jasmine see you with your top off and then looking at her later in class. Glad you continued to go topless for PE; there is no reason why boys need to wear a shirt when exercising, they should always be stripped to the waist and the practice should never have been discontinued .

Comments by Rob on 19th February 2019  

Ross, Do you expect us to believe that a 12yr.old boy, even if he had finished his homework, had nothing else to do but get ready for bed at 7pm. Fair enough, there's nothing wrong with boys sleeping nude, but, to be told by his father to get naked and spend the evenings naked in front of his younger sisters, I don't believe you. What about when you started going through puberty?

Comments by Ross on 18th February 2019  

June, I have read your comments with great delight and it makes me feel better knowing I wasn't the only one raised in a nude sleeping household for boys. I was like your sons from 12 no longer allowed pyjamas and told by my dad I should begin sleeping nude. What I wasn't expecting was that when 7pm came and I was told to get ready for bed he expected me to go get naked and spend the night nude in front of all r of my younger sisters.

Comments by Fiona on 18th February 2019  

June - our son was about 4 years old when he started to refuse PJs, largely due to the 'bad' example set by his parents! As we never made any secret of our preferred night attire, we had already anticipated this development and had decided that whenever he finally expressed an interest in going to go to bed like Mummy and Daddy, our response would be positive and encouraging and we would all celebrate this as yet another step towards becoming a 'big' boy.

Comments by Steve on 17th February 2019  

There have been various comments on boys wearing tracksuits etc for PE.

I suppose it was teasing/bullying, but with us in the 70's any boy who was different in terms of shyness/kit was subject to numerous comments until he conformed.

This including things like wearing a vest (under your school shirt)or wearing a vest for cross country, the wrong type of underpants, wearing plimsolls for pe (rather than bare feet), being shy stripping naked and so on.

Comments by June on 16th February 2019  

Hello Fiona
No it was no problem at all. We appreciated it was the 'in thing' and allowed it at home. Our oldest set the trend for his younger brothers who wanted to follow suit. Sleepovers at ours has involved their friends joining in the nakedness. We've tolerated skiny dipping in the pool at ours. It's all been good healthy fun! What about you and your son? Have you delighted in the experience? We certainly have!

Comments by Robin on 16th February 2019  

I had a similar experience in school to what Sam posted. When I was at school, we didn't really have enforced topless PE as this was a later time than what most people here are describing. However, we could choose to remove our shirts for certain activities if we wanted. And of course if we forgot our kit it meant we would have to strip off and do it in just our normal school shorts. Since I was pretty shy and in my mind, still too skinny (and especially since it was a mixed school), I could never muster up the confidence to go shirtless for PE even though I wanted too. I was envious of the handful of other boys who stripped off unashamedly and displayed their bare torsos. It always seemed to get the attention and admiration of the girls in our class. One time before a cross country run I even confided my insecurity to my best friend Jasmine, saying how much I would like to run shirtless for a change. She said it was hardly a big deal and encouraged me to go ahead and take it off if I felt like it and I hesitantly agreed. On the day itself though when it seemed I was going to chicken out, Jasmine "helped" me out by sneakily taking my PE top out of my bag and stashing it somewhere I couldn't find it. When I pleaded with her to let me have it back, she flatly refused with a mischievous gleam in her eye. Thus, when the time came to change for PE I had no choice but to sheepishly unbutton my shirt, peel it off join the rest of the class, much to her delight.

I was so sure I was going to be a laughingstock, but amazingly no one really made fuss about it as we set off on the run, some of the girls just gave a cursory glance at my bare torso but no more than that. By the end of it my body was covered in sweat but felt totally at ease and brimming with confidence. I even set a better time than I had previously! Afterwards, as I was still shirtless on the way back to class, a couple of the girls came up to talk to me and casually complimented my body. Even the teacher made a positive comment about my performance that day. I remember when Jasmine returned my shirt to me, she gave me the most unsubtle "I told you so" look I had ever seen. Later on she finally admitted that she simply wanted to see me with my top off! Annoyingly, she was right though, I had built up being barechested in my head as such a big deal when it really wasn't. From then on, I hardly ever wore a shirt for PE when it wasn't required.

Comments by Fiona on 16th February 2019  

June - following on from your your comment that your sons started sleeping nude at boarding school, how did you feel about the idea when you found out? Opposed to it, doubtful but accepting, or encouraging?

Comments by Fiona on 15th February 2019  

June - judging from the friends my son has for overnighters, your household and ours are not alone in our sleeping preferences.

Comments by Rob on 15th February 2019  

Sam, I don't know what year you were referring to when you had your very difficult decision to make, but my experience was the same as the great majority of subscribers. Back in the mid fifties I went from a small primary school where we did basic exercises in our normal school clothes to an all boys grammar school. At the beginning of our first PE lesson we were all told to go to the changing room and ''take everything off including your pants and socks and come back into the gym wearing just shorts and plimsolls''. As we got changed some of the boys were talking and asking whether we were allowed to wear T shirts and we said no, just shorts and plimsolls. We all duly stripped off and trooped back into the gym. Some boys might have felt nervous and shy about going barechested but even if they still felt that way at the end of the lesson we were all told to go back to the changing room and take our shorts off and get in the open communal showers.Having never been naked in public before I was apprehensive, but seeing the other boys going in I realised I had no choice but to join them. We just had to do as we were told and that was how it was and we soon got used to it. We always did PE in the same kit until we left aged 18 and I thoroughly enjoyed having to strip off, especially for a cross country run and feel the fresh air on my bare chest.

Comments by June on 15th February 2019  

Glad to hear about nudity in your household. And that we're not alone! As said my three boys went to boarding school where it seemed en vogue to abandon pjs around about the age of12. Of course once the eldest boy discarded them so did his younger brothers. We had no problems whatsovever. Just glad when dressing gowns are worn about the house when grandparents are over!

Comments by Sam on 14th February 2019  

Josh, I had a similar experience to yours in that I wanted to do PE barechested but was just too nervous and shy about it. For boys it was optional to wear a T shirt or vest in the gym, and probably seven or eight chose to go without, including a couple of my friends. Generally they were the boys who had better bodies and were therefore more confident, while I was slim and pale skinned too.
Then one of the boys who was really skinny, more so than me, joined the topless ranks and I decided, if he could do it, so could I. The problem was, I kept chickening out when we got to the changing room and I'd end up putting my top on after all. So I realised the only solution was to leave it at home, just put my shorts and trainers in my kit bag and then I'd have no option when it came to PE, I'd be forced to go barechested.
It still wasn't easy, I made a pretence of rummaging around my kit bag for the T-shirt I knew wasn't there and telling one of my friends I must have forgotten it. He just shrugged and said it doesn't matter, you don't need it.
And of course he was right, I found that I didn't! Next PE lesson I wore the same kit and the T-shirt stayed at home from then on.

Comments by Jason on 14th February 2019  

Hi Steve, in your post you talked about the fact that shirtless guys were “tortured” to prove their toughness, and you’re right! I started being shirtless at home and I was very comfortable in that so that after some months I started running and going out shirtless (for example going to my friend’s house near mine one). However, one day, even if I went there always shirtless, that day my friend wasn’t alone but there was his cousin who, I don’t know why, hated the fact I was shirtless. We started arguing because he said “you do that because you want to prove your toughness” and this things but it wasn’t true. I answered that I wanted only to stay free and that yes, I was tougher than him. Maybe I wouldn’t have said this thing, because he wanted to challenge me with punches to show me how tough was him. At first he was tied to a bar and I had to punch him until he said stop. He managed to resist 9 minutes which isn’t a bad result. Then was my turn, I was tied to a bar so that I cannot escape and he started punching me. It wasn’t a problem, because I had great abs so that I resist. The problem was when he wanted to get fun doing other things, like carrying a bucket full of mud and then putting all this mud on my bare chest. I was furious but I was tied and I couldn’t escape. He also “tortured” me with other things, like oil, that made my chest very dirty, oily and smelly. Then, the cowards spit on me and went back his home, only at that point my friend coming out from his home (we were in the garden) saw me in that condition and was very sorry for what was happened. As soon as he cut the rope I shouted with my friends and went back home as I was, with everything on my chest. That is what I was obliged to suffer for loving being shirtless. I don’t know why, but he hated the fact I was shirtless

Comments by Fiona on 14th February 2019  

June - nude has been the default setting for night attire in our house for a number of years, and for me personally since puberty (see my post on that on one of the other threads). My son (now 13) was about about four when he decided that he didn't need pyjamas any more, but he does have, and enjoys wearing, a dressing gown.

Comments by Steve on 13th February 2019  

As to the different comments, no, I wasn’t allowed a dressing gown, I never even had one but if I had had one, I am sure my dad would have ripped it of me. He was quite straightforward in many ways, I remember him telling me that I had a choice of stripping, getting ready for bed and being allowed to stay up, like my siblings, or going to bed early. Of course, I stripped down to my briefs and just got on with it. However, I would never have been allowed to sleep naked or walk around the house naked. There was a hell of a difference between being in briefs and being naked. For my dad, a boy just did not need more clothing than a pair of briefs in the evening and for sleeping but he definitely needed to be covered.
And yes John there was certainly an intention to toughen me up. I also remember the unlucky boy who wore his pyjamas for camp and didn’t have the reflex of at least getting rid of his top. Sleeping in briefs only made you part of the tough boys and boy did we torture that poor soul to prove our toughness.

Comments by June on 13th February 2019  

My three boys were sleeping in the nude by the age of 12 each in turn. Never mind wearing briefs! They picked up this habit up at boarding school. They might wear a tshirt if the nights got very cold and I did insist they wear their pjs however when their grandparents were staying over ... lol

Comments by Andy on 13th February 2019  

We had different PE teachers in different years, late 60s grammar.

By reputation one was much stricter than others, indeed we saw his cross country boys on a run, so knew what to expect. We did 2 pe lessons a week, one inside, one a run

At the start of the 2nd year we got timetables and saw his name as our pe teacher. Up to then we had been allowed T-shirt’s and plimsolls, but not any more.

Once we got to the changing rooms, we were told cross country, just shorts boys. We knew this, but it was still a shock to be made to run bare foot and stripped to the waist. No other kit allowed no matter how cold or wet it was.

We caned hard as well, always 6 strokes.

Comments by Alfie A on 13th February 2019  

Steve, interesting comments because it was similar for me.In the 60's I akso was told no more pyjamas. In the summer not a problem, because I would not get undressed until I went to bed. However, in the winter(we had no central heating of course) I was expected to undress in the living room where we hard the open wire to keep warm. I did have a dressinggown to put on, but the worst part for me was that I lived with my dad (my mum having passed away) and also in the home was nan and a maiden aunt. So stripping down to my briefs was embarassing because we were all in the room togehter and I got into my dressing gown as soon as possible. Of course nowadays most lads wear the boxers which are just like walking about in shorts. However I prefer the briefs/slips.
In my mid teens at Secondary school we were due for our medical examine and we knew from other lads that this would include stripping and the drop & cough. Parents could attend but I don't think any did and I had to really work hard to ensure my nan that she did not need to attend(that would have been embarrassing) as dad was at work. Luckily I did go on my own.

How thing have changed. At High school my son wears track suits in winter for outside games along with a rugby shirt. There are no showers and they no longer have medical check ups.

Comments by John on 13th February 2019  

You had a great dad. I wish that my dad had taken my pyjamas off me and made me sleep shirtless at 10 years old. When I was 12 I went on school camp and slept in a tent with a large group of lads, my mum made sure that I packed my pyjamas. The first night away when the teacher told us to get ready for bed I had to endure the embarassment of discovering that most of the lads slept shirtless.

Not wanting to be different myself and the other non barechested lads quickly took off our pjj jackets and slept shirtless for the rest of school camp. When I got home I carried on sleeping barechested.

Comments by Fiona on 12th February 2019  

Steve - didn't you have a dressing-gown that you could wear until bedtime?

Comments by Steve on 12th February 2019  

Interesting stories here about being made to sleep shirtless. My dad also took away my pyjamas when I turned 10 insisting that I should stop sleeping like a little kid. He had quite a go at my mother when she pointed out that I might get cold and told her (and me) that I needed to become a man and stop complaining and hiding behind her.
From that night on, my sleepwear was just briefs. However my parents had this rule that us kids were allowed to stay up after diner but that we needed to get changed and ready for bed. My little brother and my sisters changed in to their pyjamas but for me this then obiously meant briefs only. At the beginning I was quite self conscious about being the only one that had to be 'on display' but it soon just became normal. However, I was quite happy when my brother was made to join me a few years later.

Comments by Claire on 11th February 2019  

James R, I'm sure you looked great topless when you fought. You certainly didn't deserve pointless comments about your chest!

Comments by Daniel P on 11th February 2019  

I'd just turned 10 and left my kit at home. I was simply given shorts and told 'vest off" Others were given a choice to strip or not, over half my class did and the others kept their vests on to run.

Comments by Fiona on 11th February 2019  

Claire, James R - If my son and his friends are anything to go by, many pre-teen and teenage boys (not to mention a surprising percentage of girls, too), sleep topless, or even completely naked, at least some of the time, and a fair number seem to sleep that way all of the time.

Comments by Steven T on 11th February 2019  

Stuart. Your comments reminded me of my schools PE and games lessons and one boy we had. He wasn't a close friend but he was very athletic he even ran o the cross country team. Thomas he was called and he by his own choice always did PE in his shorts and nothing else. Always shirtless and always barefoot even in xc meets he was shirtless and barefoot. It was quite good actually but he was the only one that ran this way by choice unless someone forgot their kit.

Comments by Josh on 11th February 2019  

Hi Stuart, yes, it happened to me. When I was 15, in fact, we started doing a lot of run due to the change of pe teacher. However he didn’t order us to strip to the waist, maybe because he knew there was someone shy like me ahah. But the problem was that, while the former teacher prohibited to run shirtless, this one gave the opportunity to do so, and so it was. My school mates were happy and took off their shirt, but I was shy and I didn’t want to do so. I have to say, I wasn’t obliged by the teacher, but by the situation. In fact, I was the only one with a shirt on. I asked my teacher how I could to do to overcome the problem and he told me that the key was not to take any shirt. So, next time, I put in my bag only shorts, and when we started pe I cannot hide that I was embarrassed, but I cannot do anything else a part from running bare chested. The funny thing was that day it started raining a lot and the other boys took their shirt on, I would have done, but I couldn’t. So the situation was the opposite one, everybody were with a shirt a part from me. But I managed to get confidence and even if I get dirty with mud, I was happy for having overtaken that problem

Comments by John on 11th February 2019  

I completely agree with everything that you’ve said. Most males like to exercise shirtless if they are allowed to experience it.

Comments by Stuart on 10th February 2019  

Did anyone have a situation with PE or cross country where they were allowed to wear shirts, shorts, socks and plimsolls, but some, or most, boys decided to strip to the waist or go bare foot ?

If so, I wonder how popular it was, thus if a boy decided to run in only shorts, did he keep doing so, one out of the rest wearing shirts/plimsolls.

Comments by Claire on 9th February 2019  

My brothers were encouraged to sleep topless too from the 12yr old.Being stripped to box is a good thing, I've never seen the point in boys/men wearing vests to exercise.

Comments by Roy on 5th February 2019  

From what I recall the boys themselves decided to be stripped to the waist

Comments by Andrew on 5th February 2019  

John, it was crazy that early morning lesson could be affected, but although tops were expected in later years it wasn't uncommon for us to break that rule sometimes and some teachers turn a blind eye to it.

Afterall, if we didn't bring a top (or at least claim we didn't claiming we thought it was an indoor lesson) we weren't prevented from going outside.

Comments by James R on 4th February 2019  

My dad made me go topless as much as possible and had me sleep topless when I turned 9. Out of school I was made to box. Nearly all lads trained topless, a few wore vests. When we were in the ring you always fought stripped to the waist regardless of your age or level of experience. I boxed from the age of 8 to 27 and some of the remarks directed at you were amusing. From not having tattoos to my naturally hairless chest but women enjoyed seeing you stripped off and see how you looked as you fought.

Comments by Toby A on 3rd February 2019  

Hello Roy, Until the whole class stripped to the waist did the teachers decide who stripped off, like skins Vs vests?

Comments by John on 3rd February 2019  

I would have thought that if lads had an outdoor PE lesson in summer starting at 09.00 and finishing at 10.00 they would have been safe from getting sunburnt. It seems a shame that lads cannot enjoy the freedom of exercising shirtless during spring, summer and autumn.

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

That's what I was thinking. I went to an all girls school too, but that was well before sports bras were invented!

Comments by ROY F on 1st February 2019  

Certainly when I was at secondary school in the 1960's there was no specific rule about wearing or not wearing tops for PE.In the first three years-Years 7-9 -in today's parlance - a few boys stripped to the waist both in the gym and outdoors.
However in Years 10 and 11 all boys stripped to the waist. This started when a new boy joined the school and went bare-chested.The next lesson we all joined him and went stripped to the waist.
This continued into Sixth Form(Years 12 and 13).

Comments by Andrew on 30th January 2019   andrew_bx@yahoo.co.uk

Fiona, all is good if your son is happy with that kit. My school was mixed although PE wasn't, but your brothers kit sounds identical to ours- so I am guessing no later than 1980s?

Comments by Fiona on 30th January 2019  

Andrew - my son is more than happy with his present PE kit arrangements. After his years at primary school doing PE in t-shirt and track-suit bottoms, being allowed to wear just a pair of shorts for PE is his idea of heaven. He's never liked wearing a lot of clothing, and even in winter will usually go to school without his coat, with just a shirt under his blazer, and in summer, he's topless for as many of the 24 hours as he can get away with

Comments by Fiona on 30th January 2019  

Toby - my brother was at an all boys school. PE in the gym was always topless, with plimsolls but no socks. Outdoor sports like football, cricket and tennis had conventional kit, and while vests were theoretically required for outdoor athletics in the summer, in practice everyone went topless, except on sports day, when parents etc were around. Swimming was always in speedo style swimsuits, which often doubled as supportive underwear for sports and PE.

Comments by Fiona on 30th January 2019  

Andrea - Mum went to an all girls school, which is probably why she wasn't sent straight back to the changing room to get her PE top.

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

Fiona, did your mum go to an all girls school, or were there boys there too?

Comments by Toby A on 29th January 2019  

Fiona Despite not being too good at sport I always enjoyed PE/Games. Our teacher knew his job getting us to sweat up. I was a bit surprised we always had to strip off in the gym rather than go in topless but I think that taught discipline and respect. Being stripped off outside was something else but it woke me up after being in overheated classrooms.

Your comments are interesting and offer a different perspective. You mentioned your brother stripping off for PE what kind of activities did he do with his shirt off.

Comments by Andrew on 29th January 2019  andrew_bx@yahoo.co.uk 

Fiona, we had a similar kit to your son but outside tops went from optional to mandatory due to the long-term risk of sunburn. Much like yourself and Rob plimsolls were required outside due to risk of sharp objects. But yes its sad how such kits are now considered out of date, but what does/did your son think of it all?

Comments by Fiona on 28th January 2019  

Toby A - in answer to your question, I think boys stripping off for PE is a very good idea, and I have never really understood why this healthy practice has been allowed to disappear over the past generation or so. Both my brother and my father did PE topless at secondary school as a matter of course. At my son's school, PE tops are mandatory for outdoor activities like cross-country, but are optional, and rarely worn, in the gym. Towards the end of secondary school, about the time when the need for good sports bras for girls was starting to be recognised, my mother showed up for PE in just her bra, minus her PE shirt, and actually got complimented by the PE teacher for doing so, and although quite a lot of her class followed her example, that fashion now seems to have faded too.

Comments by Rob on 27th January 2019  

Although we wore plimsolls in the gym, most of us voluntarily went out in bare feet when did athletics on grass in the summer.However, away from our well maintained playing fields when we ran cross country the surface was rough ground with grass over chalk with sharp flints and therefore made footwear a must. Otherwise it didn't prevent us from enjoying the pleasure of running bare chested.