Burnley Grammar School

Childhood - Schools


Year: 1959         Item #: 1607         Views: 664,988         Comments: 2,402

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

2402 user comment(s) below:-

Comments by Andrea on 4th November 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

In classrooms slippering was done over skirts, but in PE it was over gym knickers.
As it was an all girls school, we didn't have many male teachers. I can't recall any of them administering corporal punishment, but don't know whether that was because they weren't allowed to.

Comments by TimH on 2nd November 2018  

Likewise - Congratulations on reaching 2000 posts - and half a million views.
I'm not sure when I made my first post ... some years back, I know. This is always an interesting read ...

Comments by Danny on 1st November 2018  

1999 Posts!
So who is going to be the 2,000th poster?
Unless someone is waiting for his post to be approved I might be the one. :)

Andrea, how were you slippered or otherwise at secondary school, over skirt or some other way?
Were male teachers allowed to physically punish girls in your secondary school?

Comments by Andrea on 30th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Yes we girls became adept at putting on our PE shorts before removing our skirts!
Mixed changing did start to become an issue for a few girls who started to wear bras rather than vests in our final year at primary. They were allowed to change separately in the toilets. Was this the same in your primary school, or did all your classmates remain in vests until the end of primary?
By the time my son was at primary, boys and girls changed in separate classrooms for the final two years.

Yes we had corporal punishment at secondary school too. Fortunately I was quite well behaved, so it only happened to me on a couple of occasions.

Comments by Danny on 29th October 2018  

Andrea, it was the same at our primary school, we all changed in class, both boys and girls, into PE shorts and T shirt under the supervision of our class teacher.
It was no big deal for any of us since this was the routine throughout primary school.
It was actually easier on the girls since they put their shorts on under their skirt before taking it off while we boys had to take our pants off to wear our PE shorts.

Slipperings and sometimes the ruler were also more or less common in class, depending on which teacher you had that year. But during PE the teachers would usually just smack your legs or thighs or shorts bottom with their hand for misbehaviour.
The older teachers usually used corporal punishment the most while the younger new ones rarely used it. I think they were already being taught in their teaching course to avoid physical punishment.
Except for the first year or two in Secondary it was subsequently banned. Were you also physically punished in secondary school?

Comments by Andrea on 29th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 


When I was at secondary school in the early to mid 1970s, corporal punishment, was still reasonably commonplace. In PE it consisted of a plimsoll while wearing our PE kit (gym knickers and polo shirt).

At primary school we changed into pe kit (shorts or skirt and a T shirt) in class, but this meant stripping down to vest and pants before putting on our kit. Girls and boys did this in the same classroom; was this the case in your primary school?

Comments by Andrea on 29th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Gavin A & Chis G,

I think there must have been a similar spike in sales at the sports shop near the school my Ex attended when their PE teacher advised them to buy a supporter at the start of their 3rd year.

I had to buy my son a supporter and 'box' when he started to play junior cricket for a local club. I suppose the sports shop was used to it as they had boys size boxes close by the till.

I guess the equivalent 'right of passage' for girls - getting our first bras- was more spread out throughout the year, although underwear buying generally formed part of our back to school shopping trip towards the end of the summer holidays.

Comments by Danny on 29th October 2018  

What about punishments during PE?
Were you slippered on your PE shorts or having to take them down?
Or was some other physical punishment given?
When I was in Primary school physical punishments were given by teachers in class, but by the time I got to Secondary school it was outlawed.
I assume that most posters here are talking about their school in the 60s and 70s at most which was a different time when physical punishment was normal in most schools.
I also read that some primary schools did PE in just underpants for both boys and girls. Was this the case at your school?
At our school we all changed into PE shorts and shirts in class.
Also I was not aware before reading about it on the internet that some schools required boys to be nude during swim classes. How common was this practice?

Comments by Gavin A on 28th October 2018  

We had a school clothes shop or rather outfitters that largely catered for all our clothing needs. I think the shop were rather amused when year after year 'first year senior' boys would troop in asking to buy their first jockstrap! Of course some boys' fathers looked after them. As I did with my own boys, in due course.

Comments by Chris G on 28th October 2018  

Andrea - forgot to mention that when I changed schools for 6th form, I was a boarder. There were no facilities for buying uniform items or sports equipmenet in-house, ad we were rather too far away from the nerest town for shopping to be practical, so everything had to be bought at home. I remember my Mum got me my first one at home and posted it to me.

Comments by Andrea on 28th October 2018  andreatwo 

Gavin A,
As it was a boarding school did they sell supporters at the school, or did you have to wait until the next holidays to purchase one?

Comments by Frank C on 27th October 2018  

Gavin/Andrea yes I think peer pressure and coming of age had a great influence on boys second year onwards particularly amongst the Rugby team.

Comments by Gavin A on 26th October 2018  

Most started to wear a jockstrap at the age of around 13 to 14 in my school. I would add that I was a boarder. I guess it was either older brother or possibly fathers that were the main influence for some, but for the rest like me it was peer pressure and wanting to follow the older boys in order to be seen as one and not left behind. Might even be put down to a 'coming of age' ritual!

Comments by ChrIS G on 26th October 2018  

Did any of you wear your jockstrap as underwear outside of PE? Towards the end of my time at school, my Dad had to work in Singapore for a couple of months, and he stocked up with several Litesome jocks for daily wear. When he got back, he didn't want them any more, so I started wearing them as regular underwear. Mum thought it a bit strange, but they were really quite comfortable.

Comments by Bernard on 25th October 2018  

Adrian, Stuart - like you I never heard anything about supporters at school - I didn't play cricket but I do remember hearing about "boxes" from those that did. I see that some people who wore jockstraps were very keen on them but I don't think any-one at my school ever suffered as a result of wearing nothing under their shorts, or nothing apart from their shorts for that matter.

Comments by William on 25th October 2018  

At a boys' grammar school in the '60s boxes were available for cricket but I never saw or heard of athletic supports. Up until the fifth form we wore shorts but no pants for gym, athletics, cross-country, rugby and hockey. We thought nothing of it because we knew no different.

Comments by Arby on 25th October 2018  

Frank and others

We were encouraged to wear a jockstrap supporter by PE staff from the age of about 16. Certainly by the time we got into the 6th Form most of us wore them for PE and sport. It made us feel very "manly". They were good to wear. It is a pity that they are no longer popular with young lads although sports briefs seem to have replaced them.

Comments by Andrea on 25th October 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

Gavin A,
If wearing a supporter wasn't mentioned by your PE teacher, then presumably the first boys in the class to wear them were influenced by older brothers or fathers?

Your comment about wanting one once your best friend had one reminds me of a few of my classmates wanting a bra when their friends had one!
How old were most of the boys when they started to wear supporters?

Comments by Jeff on 24th October 2018  

Frank/Adrian/Stuart, At our Sec.school in the 60s athletic supporters were never mentioned and don't know of anyone who wore them.
But we kept our underpants under our PE shorts so it would be different if they had to be taken off for PE as some mention here in their school.
We did not have cricket at our school either, only the occasional football game in the large school yard.

Comments by Jeff on 24th October 2018  

Paul, I assume that you were taken to the pool and supervised there by teachers. Were there ever female teachers or staff supervising the nude boys at the pool?

I recently read in a local paper of men complaining that they could not use the council pool changing and shower room during school lessons because there were female teachers supervising the boys in the male changing/shower room.
The school boys swam in suits but they were supervised by female teachers in the changing/shower room.
The teachers replied that they had strict instructions that they must not leave the boys out of their sight, including in the showers, for safety reasons.

Comments by Gavin A on 24th October 2018  

My experience too! Public school, late 60s early 70s. Boys in senior school not so much advised to wear a genital support but increasingly did so as they got older. I have to say that once my friend had one I wanted one as well. An almost 'becoming of age' ritual! Obviously we all wore a box for cricket but who wouldn't when batting!

Comments by Stuart on 23rd October 2018  

Adrian, I agree , never heard PE teachers make any mention of athletic supports growing up, but yes always wore a box when batting in cricket!

Comments by Frank on 23rd October 2018  


Strange! Just shows how schools can differ from each other despite our going to the same type of school and in the same time period.

Comments by Adrian on 23rd October 2018  

Frank - I don't remember anyone wearing a support; only so-called 'boxes' for cricket.

Comments by Paul on 19th October 2018  

Jeff, I don’t recall any lad feeling embarrassed from having to swim naked. We all had to do it and we just got on with it. In fact I feel that more boys were more ashamed about having to run around in bare feet!

This happened whoen I was about 12/13 and was at a pre set time which had already been arranged and we had exclusive use of the pool.

Comments by Frank on 17th October 2018  

Surely at the age of 16 you were allowed / if not encouraged to wear an athletic support! I went to public school in the 70s and we did.

Comments by Adrian on 17th October 2018  

I went to a public school in the 1970s. Our PE kit was white plimsols, white socks, white shorts, white T-shirts. No underwear for hygiene reasons. If you forgot any piece of kit, you had to do the lesson without it. I forgot my plimsols on one occasion when I was about 15 or 16 and therefore had to do the lesson barefoot (socks alone were not allowed because of the risk of slipping). I still remember how cold the gym floor was.

We also had shirts -v- skins in many lessons, including this one and I ended up a skin. At the end of the lesson we were sent for a run around the playing fields. It was actually very refreshing, but I recall the sixth form girls staring at me and felt self-conscious in front of them as the only one in our group wearing just one item of ccothing. Interestingly I still prefer to walk and run barefoot and shirtless to this day, and wonder if that experience had an influence on me.

Comments by Jeff on 16th October 2018  

Paul, sounds interesting and unusual being taken to the local council pool to swim naked.
Did any of the boys find it embarrassing and who was there to watch you?

I presume that these were arranged times when no one else from the public was using the pool. At what ages were you made to do this and was it compulsary?

Comments by Jason on 16th October 2018  

Hi, Roy. Yes, maybe. But it happened a lot of years ago. Anyway you accepted it at the beginning of the school, so it was normal for us this kind of punishment. It was quite normal that someone broke the rules in some way and was punished. You were a target for 15 minutes and the teacher wasn’t there during the punishment. So, after taking off your shirt and being tied, you were alone with other 20 boys who did whatever they wanted. It means everything ahah, but we accepted it, it was like a challenge, sometimes our chest became red for punches but we showed that we could resist to this

Comments by Roy on 16th October 2018  

If what Jason describes happened today it would quite rightly be regarded as a form of child abuse and probably a criminal offence as well!

Comments by Jason on 15th October 2018  

Hi guys, just to talk about Pe punishment at school. I read a message of a boy who was tied to a bar and punched, and I suddenly remembered hat happened to me at school. I went to a military school where rules were very strict and punishment very tough. One time I forgot my kit and my teacher got so angry he decided to apply what he called “worst punishment”. It consisted in taking off shirt and in being placed with arms tied with a rope behind the head. At that point the other boys could do whatever they want on you for 10/15 minutes. In my case, the other boy tortured me, not only kicking and punching on my chest like I read in the other post, but they also put on my bare chest whatever they found, like dirty water, mud and dirt. At the end of the punishment I was very tired and dirty, and due to the fact they have also ripped my shirt, I stayed the entire day with my bare dirty chest. That’s military school

Comments by Paul on 15th October 2018  

Hello Tony, When we went swimming this like you was down the local council pool which was a 10 minute walk away from my school. Once a week all the boys from my year walked in a line down to the pool. I think it was Tuesday afternoon and the girls did the same on a Thursday.

For us it seemed quite normal to remove our clothes and swim naked. So all we really needed was a towel.

Comments by Tony H on 13th October 2018  

Paul, you refer to swimming naked at the local pool. Was it one class or age group at a time or a mix of age groups? At least when we went to our council pool we wore swimming trunks which in our era were the briefs type.

Comments by Paul on 11th October 2018  

Reading all these comments really did bring back memories for me. Our indoor kit was like so many white nylon shorts only with no underwear, shirts, socks or plimsolls despite the “official” PE kit listing white tee, ankle socks and plimsolls for indoor lessons we all learned in the first lesson that was obviously a misprint and we were all told to remove our shirts, underpants, socks and shoes. Some of us didn’t care and got on with it some of us grumbled but we knew if we didn’t do as we were told we’d get a size 12 plimsoll across our backside.
Anyone who forgot their shorts simply had to go without, yes that meant run around the sports hall naked which wasn’t a huge deal as we were all accustomed to swimming nude for our practice lessons at the local pool.

Outdoor PE during the summer pretty much mirrored the indoor kit shirtless, shorts and bare feet. Which was great if the sun was out!

Outdoor PE in winter saw us wearing a rugby shirt!!! With our white shorts and barefoot which wasn’t all that bad except was cold underfoot especially if we were sent out on a snowy field.

If you forgot your kit then it was underpants only but these couldn’t then be worn for the rest of the school day because of hygiene.

Comments by Stuart on 9th October 2018  cmnmuk@yahoo.co.uk 

Hi John, yes bare chested was fine for indoors PE. The only one negative time i can recall was a fire alarm practice when we all had to assemble outside in the school playground and it wasnt a particularly nice day....cold brr.
It was also a good job that no boys that lesson had forgotten their kit a couple of the PE teachers made boys do it naked if they forgot - it was boys only school i should add.

Comments by John on 7th October 2018  

We also played the game you described and yes it did hurt slightly being barechested whilst being hit by a ball. Given the choice between being stripped to the waist or being made to wear vests or shirts I’d choose to do PE shirtless every time. After being in a hot classroom it was great to be able to get shirtless and put on a pair of shorts and pumps, it was a sensible rule for lads and I don’t understand why schools have made lads wear shirts for indoor PE.

Comments by Stuart on 7th October 2018  cmnmuk@yahoo.co.uk 

TonyH yes th same at my prep school in Surrey and Grammar school in Hampshire, the plimsoll was definitely the weapon of choice by PE masters. That stung through thin shorts and nothing else. Any boy caught with pants on underneath was told to take them off there and then and before putting shorts back on the plimsoll was applied to the bare bottom. I can recall the sound it made as it echoed round the gym.
The worse thing about pe without shirts was the game where it started with one boy with a ball and all the others had to run around until hit and then joined his side, a different take on british bulldog. A ball thrown fast hitting bare skin hurt.

Comments by Tony H on 5th October 2018  

With regards to being caned on the backside in thin shorts and no pants would have been very painful. Our PE teacher was not quite so bad. He used a large Plimsoll. It was vary rarely used. Mainly it was used on lads who came out of the changing rooms still wearing pants.

However, there was one occasion when I saw the whole class waked with the slipper. I was on prefect duty in the corridor keeping another class in order and the PE teacher had left a class to sit in the Gym and were waiting for him to return. In his absence some of the class became very noisy. So on his return (irrespective of who had misbehaved and who had not) he lined up the whole class and made them bend over and touch their toes and he went along the line and gave every single lad a whack on the behind. An injustice for those who had not misbehaved, but in those days that was hard luck.

Comments by John on 4th October 2018  

Alan, I enjoyed doing PE shirtless and think that was a completely sensible rule for boys but I think that footwear should have been allowed especially outside. Lads could have ended up with pieces of glass or other sharp objects embedded in the soles of their feet whilst on cross country runs.

Comments by Alan on 3rd October 2018  

Hi John and Ross.
Yes, stripped to the waist, too.
As far as I can remember (it was a very, very, long time ago...)shoes just weren't mentioned in the kit list for PE and cross country, and when we asked about it we were told the rule was no footwear.

Comments by John on 3rd October 2018  

Steve, I don’t think that there was anything wrong with your PE kit rule, but it was completely wrong that the cane was used at all. That was an abusive environment.

Comments by Steve on 2nd October 2018  

I went to a English boys only grammar school in the 70's.

First PE lesson, and first cross country run, we all had to line up before we changed, and were told what kit was allowed. This was just shorts inside, plus plimsolls outside, always stripped to the waist.

We were also shown the cane, and told it would be used to "encourage" us in cross country - and it was. Boys who finished in the last 5 or so (from around 60 lads), got warned once, then if they finished in the same position again they were into the gym to be caned. 6 hard strokes, stripped to only a thin pair of shorts hurt !

Comments by Ross on 30th September 2018  


Interesting that you had a barefoot rule for all indoor and outdoor PE. How was this told to you? Was it written in the school handbook or was it just a PE teachers ruling?

I was in school in the 00s and we did indoor PE barefoot and went barefoot outside if we didn’t have our trainers.

Comments by Andrea on 28th September 2018  andreatwo@hotmail.co.uk 

My Ex told me that when their PE teacher talked to them about jockstraps in the early 1970s he advised them to ask for a 'litesome supporter' at the local sports shop.

Comments by Sam C on 28th September 2018  

Chris G and Gavin A, I really only think there were Litesome jockstraps in the 60s and 70s

Comments by John on 27th September 2018  

Hi Alan, as well as having to go barefooted, did you do PE stripped to the waist like the lads in the photo?

Comments by Alan on 27th September 2018  

Seeing the latest posts on this thread takes me back to my time at a mixed English Grammar School in the late 1960s and early 70s.
There was a no footwear rule for both indoor and outdoor PE, for boys and girls. This included all track and field events, and cross country. The only exceptions were for rugby and cricket.

Comments by Nick on 25th September 2018  

Hi Bernard, I’m my opinion, being bare chested could be also a way to save shirts ahah. I mean, for example when I had to fix the car, my chest was greasy but if I had had a short, I would have thrown it. I think that in all the situations where you can dirty your shirt, it is better to go without it. One time we went to an abandoned house to do softair, and in order to hide myself, I went inside a sewage tunnel which was terribly muddy and full of a dirty liquid. I had a new shirt which I had paid £ 90 so it was a pity to destroy it. I thought “ok nick, take it off” and so I did. I was barechested and my chest and abs became dirty due to liquid inside tunnel, but I managed to save my shirt. At the end i played for another hour with my dirty chest but personally I didn’t care ahah. Do you agree?

Comments by Bernard on 24th September 2018  

Nick - it sounds as though the only sensible option was to run home without a shirt. It might have been better if you had started the original run without it.
Running in the hailstorm wasn't too bad as it didn't last long - a wet shirt would have made it more miserable.
As others have pointed out being sent out on a cross country run shirtless in rain is very practical and more comfortable than with a shirt. Similarly, running barefoot was practical and sensible as the alternative would have been wearing plimsolls which would have got stuck in the mud and probably come off our feet.

Comments by Richard on 23rd September 2018  

Hi John, yes it is. Rules were very strict and if you misbehaved or forgot your PE kit, you would take off your shirt without caring about weather (it could be sunny, it could be cold, it could rain, snow or even hail, it doesn’t matter) . Then you went outside and waited to be tied to the bar. At that point you were punched at least for 5 minutes, but it depends on what you’ve done (one time a guy was punched for 30 minutes). It was the rule and you could only accept it. I admit that something I felt excited for being punched shirtless by girls of my class but I was scared when some strong guys punched me, because I cannot move so I could only toughen my abs.