Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

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Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 251,476
Item #: 1602
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

Comment by: James on 22nd September 2021 at 07:35

Brandon, we often had open days at the secondary school that I attended and like yourself I was shy and found it particularly daunting to perform our activities with such a large audience.
Like yourself my mother approved of me wearing just shorts and took the opportunity to keep me in shorts at home.

Comment by: Brandon on 21st September 2021 at 07:24

I have just remembered a particularly embarrassing day from that first year at middle school. Did your schools have open days when parents were invited in to see us kids in class and see displays of our work. We did I think about once per term. That summer term my class was chosen to be the gymnastics display in the gymnasium. It meant that for 3 hours and 20 minutes the full morning we were made to perform for every parent who wanted to see the gym. We wore nothing but our very short white gym shorts, bare tops and bare feet. Hundreds of parents must have seen me vaulting and stretching whilst almost naked and I was a very shy little lad. I bet the men who stayed longest watching us exercise were the ones with an unhealthy eye for a young boy. My mother found me in the gym and stayed to watch me for a very long time. I was so embarrassed. I bet it was watching my pasty white bare body like that which decided her on the policy of shirt off all summer when the sun was shining. I bet I did get a good tan that summer and the following ones until she decided I was old enough to decide again for myself.
Another big embarrassment to mention would be when kit was left behind. I never forgot my PE kit but I was an absent minded chap at 9 years old and on a couple of occasions I left my bag behind in the classroom when we went across to the gymnasium. I think it was when the lesson before gym was in a different classroom to our home room. The school was very strict about getting to class quickly so there would have been little time to retrieve lost bags and I probably left kit behind so as not to be late and get a detention. Once in the changing room you were not allowed to go back and get it. Instead the teachers acted like it was forgotten and I had to use the schools stock of kit. This consisted of a box containing only old worn gym shorts. Seeing classmates have to use items from this box was always a source of great amusement to everyone. Seemingly there would always be one or two boys who could be the source of this fun each class. On a couple of occasions it was me. The teacher would hand me a pair of shorts he thought were the correct size. They would invariably be deliberately embarrassingly small. And that was it. You would be the only barefoot boy in fitness class and running barefoot hurt after awhile. The joys of PE in the 1980's.

Comment by: Brandon on 20th September 2021 at 23:32

I went from a primary school to a Middle school at the tender age of 9 which would have been in 1985. The Middle school was on the same site as the high school and shared the sports facilities but was otherwise totally separate. I attended from 9 till 12 years old when I moved up to the High school. I was a shy 9 year old and very average when it came to physical ability but I was never an overweight child. I remember nothing at all about primary school which is kind of odd as my recollection of PE and games at Middle school are still very vivid. I think I can put that down to the shock of the discipline and strict dress code the new school imposed on me.
We had a full afternoon games session, in that first year it was the Friday slot so the last thing to endure before the freedom of the weekend. Winter term it was rugby, Spring term it was cross country and summer term it was athletics and sometimes softball. For rugby we wore a royal blue rugby shirt with a broad horizontal gold band with black cotton shorts with no underwear, knee length socks and boots. It was bitterly cold out on the windswept pitch so you had to keep moving that winter. Legs would be red and sore. The very same kit (except boots swapped for trainers), served for summer athletics when the opposite would be true, the thick rugby top making you sweat in the heat as you ran around the "all weather" hot and dusty track. I remember those four summers as long and hot. Needless to say the totally impractical top had to come off and the long socks were left back in the changing room. I ran like all the other boys in just shorts and trainers most of the time. The teachers took this for granted, they may even have suggested the revised kit which would have been taken by us as an order. Under no circumstance would an alternative and more practical kit have been allowed. Cross country also used the rugby kit. As the weather was cooler in spring term some chose to run in shirts and some discarded them. Being shy and never happy with a bare top, I was one to always run with a top on even as the temperature rose. I hated cross country. The courses were very long for a 9 year old and exhausting. We must have been very fit by the end of spring term but I suffered for it.
We had two hours of indoor PE over two mornings each week. For this the kit was a royal blue cotton vest, short legged white cotton gym shorts, white gym socks and trainers. That's what the schools official kit list said. For winter term we did fitness training, for spring term basketball and for summer term gymnastics. The gym teachers spelled out the true kit at the first lesson of each term. Fitness training was to be done bare chested, gymnastics was to be done without the vest and bare foot. Only in basketball did the vest serve a purpose and then only half the time as all games were played shirts vs skins. Once chosen at the start of the lesson to be a skin you remained a skin though-out the lesson, my recollection now is that I was a skin most of the time. The knowledge that I would be almost always stripped to the waist for PE made me hate the lessons. PE was purgatory because of the humiliation and extremely hard work. In them days PE and games were really used to produce fitter kids without doubt.
I didn't get much escape at home either those summers. My mother got tired of my shyness now I was a middle school boy, my wearing of jeans and even sometimes sweaters when the weather was warm. Whenever she decided it was sunny enough I was now ordered to play in the garden in shorts, barefoot and shirtless because it was good for me. You might think that all the enforced minimal clothing would eventually eliminate the shyness but that never happened. It just left a childhood trauma which allows me to record these details for you today.

Comment by: Garth on 12th September 2021 at 12:51

Our school did not stipulate the colour of shorts, but most woredark blue or black thickish cotton. The teacher never did check in any to see if we wore pants and no one ever did. Except one day one of the lads decided to wear a pair of thinner white shorts and for some reason he kept his pants on. AS soon as he walked into the hall for pe it was clear to us all and the teacher what he had done. He was sent straight back to the changing room to remove the pants and then when he returned it was "bend over" and a few whacks with HIS plimsoll

Comment by: Martin on 12th September 2021 at 07:12

Garth, yes our school had it's own pool.

Comment by: Martin on 11th September 2021 at 03:34

Garth, I went to an all boys' school and naked swimming was the regime till the end of junior school (around age 13). When we transferred over to senior school swimming trunks were compulsory.

Comment by: Paul on 10th September 2021 at 19:32


In addition to what James has said, we would be periodically told to face the wall and bend over, underpants shone through our white shorts as clear as day.


I didn't see it as 'gratification' for the teacher in any way, it was just what we were told to do. I went on to join the navy at eighteen where to begin with open dormitories and communal showers and washrooms were the norm, even the partitions around toilets were small and there were no doors on them so being relatively comfortable undressing or naked with other men made all that easier, not all lads were comfortable but they had to adjust to the way the navy did things. Even when we had medicals we had to line up naked and stand there as the doc worked along the line, front and back including having to bend over for a probing finger.

There was no room to be reserved or shy.

Comment by: James on 10th September 2021 at 12:42

Garth,we were supervised while we were getting changed,so if we did it surreptitiously it may have gone unnoticed,otherwise when we wore white nylon shorts any underwear could easily have been visible through our shorts.

Comment by: Garth on 10th September 2021 at 09:48

Martin were your swimming lessons in a private pool at your school?

Comment by: Garth on 10th September 2021 at 09:47

You wrote that if anyone was detected wearing anything under their shorts they were punished. How was a check carried out.

Comment by: Martin on 10th September 2021 at 07:31

Garth, I went to an all boys' school and naked swimming was the regime till the end of junior school (around age 13). When we transferred over to senior school swimming trunks were compulsory.

Comment by: James on 9th September 2021 at 15:09

Paul, I attended a secondary modern in the same year as yourself at the age of eleven and we were never allowed to wear anything under our shorts.Similarly if it were ever detected we also received a sharp slippering or caning on our bottom.This fearful threat usually ensured we continued to wear nothing under our shorts to to gratify our teacher.

Comment by: Nicholas on 9th September 2021 at 11:34

Kevin, i was at an elementary school in North America in the 80's and they did wrestling as part of PE at the high school (from age 13/14) . Not in elementary school though which went up to 13 (i was there til 12 and then came to UK).
We wore the same as in these videos - no uniform as such but we did have to change into shorts/T shirts, not wear our classroom stuff. Unlike in UK which was all white kit for PE, very strict.
In Uk there was a lunchtime wrestling class at school which was popular (I think the Ninja Turtles made it popular?!) but we didn't do it formally in PE at all.

Comment by: Kevin on 9th September 2021 at 10:19

The school vid I found the other day I found another one and it looks like at the same time they had wrestling classes that must have been unusual any time

Comment by: Garth on 9th September 2021 at 10:02

Martin: I presume naked swimming was boys only. Something I never experienced. Our swimming lessons were at a municipal pool ( although when we went it was reserved for our school no public present) but we all wore swimming trunks and all that was really available was the briefs style.
I do remember that because we went for our first lesson it was quite early and the water had not had time to warm up. But we survived.

Comment by: Paul on 9th September 2021 at 08:34

I was at secondary school from the age of eleven to eighteen starting in 1965. There were four ex-military PE teachers throughout my time there, none allowed underpants or indeed anything under shorts at any stage for any reason. Wearing anything - underpants, swimming trunks or a jock strap got the usual line of 'you must have been cold lad, I'll warm your bottom for you' and a slippering resulted or the cane for a serial offender.

Comment by: Dave on 8th September 2021 at 19:05

Hi, it was much the same at my school (1970`s), nothing was worn under shorts until 13, then swim trunks or snug briefs were allowed. Later on around 16 I noticed a jockstrap being worn and got one myself and as you say Chris G it was a vast improvement in many ways !!

Comment by: Martin on 8th September 2021 at 18:11

Chris G, there weren't any rules about underwear at my school for sport. First rule though was no underwear at all for any sport form whatever, and naked for swimming (except for inter school competitions) unti about 13, the age most of us transferred from junior to senior school. Then i remember the prefects telling us to get a jockstrap or failing that use your swimming trunks! Common sense, yes ... but we just did what we were told. This was late 60s early 70s.

Comment by: Chris G on 8th September 2021 at 12:38

Typo Correction: date should have been mid 1950s, not mid 1950!

Comment by: Chris G on 8th September 2021 at 11:21

Martin, Garth, Jeff
I was at two secondary schools, at neither of which were there any rules about underwear, other than common sense! At the first school, most of us went commando for PE in the gym and outdoor athletics, PE etc., but when we were about 13, the PE master did advise us to get some sort of support. He mentioned swimming trunks , which we generally all possessed, and jock-straps, which none of us had ever heard of (this was mid 1950)., but many of us carried on commando anyway.

I moved to another school for my 6th form years, and found a mixture of speedos, jockstraps and commando. I went commando or swimming trunks for a few months, then got a jock-strap, which was a great improvement .

Comment by: Martin on 7th September 2021 at 07:40

Jeff, we were told to wear a jockstrap or failing that swimming trunks at my school from the age of 13 ... trunks were regarded as the poor man's variant though!

Comment by: Kevin on 6th September 2021 at 09:04

I found a You tube film which looks exactly like my school did a few years later, dress the same and a bit of drill but mostly fun our teachers were cool too about what colour kit you wore

Comment by: Garth on 5th September 2021 at 14:24

At my secondary school for pe and games we wore shorts with nothing underneath from the age of 11. this was right through all the years. We were never told about wearing anything to give support. It was a strict "no pants" rule all the way through school to the age of 16.

Comment by: Jeff on 4th September 2021 at 15:29

I agree with the comments made by Chris G.
Surely the reason the boys are required to wear swimming trunks under their shorts is the same reason that, back in my school days, we were told to wear a jockstrap, namely support.

Comment by: Chris G on 3rd September 2021 at 20:50

Mr Dando

The problem is that, while many school PE kits ARE actually "gender neutral" already, in that you don't get much more neutral than T-shirt and shorts, schoolkids themselves are not, and their anatomical items that I once heard a nurse describe as "the floppy bits" generally come in two varieties, each with its own particular support requirements. To put it bluntly, roughly one half of the population requires the sort of protection that well-fitting swimming trunks of the so-called Speedo variety provide while a similar fraction is better served by the devices commonly known as Sports Bras. Each to their own, as it were,

Comment by: Mr Dando on 2nd September 2021 at 21:12

Garth we must learn from past educational misdeeds by ensuring all PE Kits are now gender nuetral and do not discriminate against males. With Schools returning next week during the Covid epidemic there are still some schools which force boys to remove their underwear and wear swimming trunks under their shorts.

I believe this is nothing more than a version of the "No Underpants rule" which was forced on males during the 1970's and would not be enforced today against females.

Here is one offending institution:

What PE kit does my child need?
Short sleeved PE top green with house colour panels
Long sleeved PE top green with house colour panels
Shorts black with school logo
Skorts black with green panels
Sports socks long black with house colour
Gum shield recommended for rugby/hockey
Black Jogging bottoms and white or black thermal/Cool shirt to be worn under PE kit
Base layer
Unisex training top
Football/rugby boots Kite marked safety studs strongly recommended


boys - trunks for swimming and for wearing under shorts in black

girls - costume, a discreet one-piece in black

As recent developments in Afghanistan have shown modesty is a very important concern and we should not neglect this if we want harmony with the muslim population within our own country.

If we are to build a truly multi cultural society we should not be forcing males to remove their underwear and put on swimming trunks before football or rugby.

The Quran 24:31 obliges men to observe modesty: “Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is well aware of what they do.” This verse rebukes forced laws on women that claim “women must cover otherwise men are distracted”.

Lets use this opportunity to build back better for September 2021.

Comment by: Garth on 28th August 2021 at 13:17

As I have written previously on the subject of swim briefs(nowadays known by the generic term Speedo's) I think it is a shame that they are considered unsuitable to be worn unless it is for "serious" swimming at a pool.
I much prefer what I like is the freedom of wearing briefs in stead of shorts which cling to the body when wet and these days are far to long.
On another topic I saw a young lad going to play football for his junior team with sock s so long and shorts so long they almost met together. That was clearly the fashion it was not just growing room in the clothes.

Comment by: James on 28th August 2021 at 07:04

I often wore slips as a boy and they were almost as you describe,only they had a pouch at the front and a very narrow strap that ran between my buttocks,which left my bottom almost bare.They were tied round my waist and fastened in a bow on my right side.They were perfect for the beach and playing at home.

Comment by: Ian on 27th August 2021 at 15:47

Graham (17 July) et al.
I remember a lad at the end of primary in the late 50's whose parents had bought a pair of very practical trunks - two triangles, partially cut away at the leg, stitched together at one corner and tied with cord at both sides (possibly German "dreiecksbadehose"). They were already more revealing than Speedos, but as he grew, so did the gaps at the side.
Once he got to secondary, he'd had a growth spurt and was an early maturer. His trunks only just covered the essentials, much to his discomfort. Added to that, the swimming teacher used to pick on him and make an example of him. Not nice, but entertainment for the mob in past times was often so.
He was saved by the introduction of standard school trunks - Speedo style but with a nice shaped pouch at the front. Up till then, we other boys had been wearing fuller shaped trunks, so he had a bit of revenge on us.
Sadly, his trunks were the only ones of that style I have seen.

Comment by: Rob on 18th August 2021 at 23:45

Yeah, but I think the problem was the fact we were shirtless. I was get used to that when I played with friends and a lot of punishments were very tough (stand up tied shirtless in front of them so they can do whatever they want on your chest). Obviously we weren’t at school, I’m talking about when we played outside school