Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 239,382
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: TimH on 10th October 2021 at 14:49

Like the three previous posters - plenty of that going on here, too. Also last week, a fair number of youngsters going home after school in sports kit, and numbers of lads from the local junior school training hard to become 'posties' by seeing who becomes the last to go into long trousers.
Last year I wore long trousers on four(?) occasions during BST - rather more this year because of work within the voluntary sector where its rather frowned upon - hopefully a mild winter ahead!

Comment by: Bernard on 9th October 2021 at 22:40

Fiona - good for you - why not indeed. Unfortunately there seem to be some people who think we should go back to the days when body shame ruled and rickets was common.

Comment by: Fiona on 9th October 2021 at 17:16

Lots of unashamed "immodest" folks jogging in the sunshine in the park this afternoon. Boys of all shapes and sizes getting in a last bit of topless sunning before the season of the Woolly Jumper arrives, and numerous girls in sports-bras and bare midriffs, yours truly among them. And why not?

Comment by: Tom B on 9th October 2021 at 09:01

I notice many kids and also many adults still wearing shorts and t-shirts (mostly gym wear/activewear) out and about in the current mild October weather.

I can’t believe people are so immodest. ;)

Comment by: Fiona on 2nd September 2021 at 16:50

So Mr. Dando has managed to find yet another reason to be offended!

"Most schools allow pupils to wear plain vests or T-shirts under their school uniforms but there is at least one school that limits this freedom to the wintertime. I think it is terrible that some schools mandate such immodesty and could render males topless when changing for PE."

Time to wake up and smell the coffee, Mr. D.

The days of the doorstep challenge "Have you got your vest on?" are long gone, and today's kids don't wear vests, even in winter, nor did their parents, and possibly even their grandparents, before them. My own Mum never wore a vest, which is probably why I wasn't wearing one when I started school in the 1970s, and although I was in a minority at that point, I certainly wasn't alone. In my last summer term at primary school a few of my classmates were still wearing vests, but next term at secondary school there wasn't a vest to be seen when changing for PE. So, I suspect that the number of pupils taking advantage of this so-called 'concession' is minuscule.

As for not wearing a vest being 'immodest', and males being 'rendered topless when changing for PE', how do you propose to rectify this situation, assuming that it needs rectification, and what about the girls? I can imagine the howls of anguish that would result if vests were made mandatory year-round, just so that boys didn't see each other's bare chests while changing for PE, and would you than insist that they kept their vests on under their PE tops?

Comment by: Mr Dando on 1st September 2021 at 20:13

Most schools allow pupils to wear plain vests or T-shirts under their school uniforms but there is at least one school that limits this freedom to the wintertime. I think it is terrible that some schools mandate such immodesty and could render males topless when changing for PE.

Here is one offending school institution.


Vest tops
During the winter months, students may wear a plain white (no other colours) vest top/t-shirt under their shirt/blouse.

This school has a much more humane policy by not limiting such freedom to the wintertime.


(White T-shirt or vest may be worn under shirt)

Personally, I think we should be more like the USA and abolish school uniforms altogether because they are a throwback to our imperialistic past.

A dress code would be preferable with no limitations on what underwear that should be worn under clothing.

Comment by: TimH on 22nd July 2021 at 10:23

@ William - I completely agree. I sometimes look at the schools that are named, to see if I'd be happy to send children there - I can't recall any that I'd be unhappy with.
@ Brian - I suspect the original 'Mr Dando' is still in prison judging by the length of sentence. I know 'our' Mr D says 'should be able to wear tracksuits all year around' - seeing local youngsters going to school in the present heat-wave they seem more than happy to be wearing gym shorts & white polo shirts, etc - I know there are problems in the world, but try and let the 'Little Darlings' (am I allowed to say that?) develop 'naturally'.

Comment by: William on 19th July 2021 at 23:22

The most heartening aspect of Mr Dando's tedious campaign is that so few schools take any notice of him.

Comment by: Brian on 19th July 2021 at 22:34

Mr Dando - I expect that I am not the only one who thought Claire might be right. You seem to have a really unhealthy obsession with what children wear for their p.e. lessons and how they deal with sweat/dirt etc after the lessons.
I can see no sign of any cruelty or abuse in any of the extracts posted in your comments. P.E. should be about vigorous exercise rather than dressing up in a lot of unnecessary, unhealthy and expensive clothing.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 19th July 2021 at 19:14

No it is not me for I am a guardian against state mandated child abuse.

Even today males are discriminated against by being forced to wear skimpy swimming trunks while girls can wear more modest one peice suits.

With the help of females on this forum I want to campaign for a gender equality law regarding PE kits and school uniforms so both sexes get access to the same amount of modesty. Both males & females should be able to wear tracksuits all year around and have swim suits that cover their upper and lower torsos. Here is another school which forces boys to wear trunks instead of shorts.

P.E. and Games Kit – Foundation 2 – Year 6

· Boys and Girls: Black shorts, pale blue t-shirt with Co-op logo and black plimsolls. Navy blue jogging trousers can be worn during the winter months;

It is the responsibility of children, parents and carers to ensure that the correct Co-op Academy Woodslee PE uniform is worn at all times;

It is the responsibility of children, parents and carers that PE kits are kept in a named navy blue drawstring shoebag with Co-op logo;

It is the responsibility of children, parents and carers that named PE kits are kept in school during term time;

It is the responsibility of children, parents and carers that when swimming boys wear swimming trunks and not shorts. Girls should have their hair tied back preferably with a swimming hat.

Please join my campaign and let 19 July 2021 be Freedom day for this country's children. Your forever friend. Mr Dando.

Comment by: Claire on 14th June 2021 at 11:49

Is this our "Friend"?
BBC News/Regions/Oxford - 17 August 2017
A former Baptist minister has been charged with 15 counts of sexual abuse relating to nine victims over 23 years. Robert John Dando, 53, of no fixed address, was arrested on Tuesday and appeared at Banbury Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. He faces charges including rape and sexual assault of boys in the south of England and Wales from 1986 and 2009.

Comment by: Andrea on 6th January 2021 at 14:53

The guidance from the Scottish Government is in response to the Covid pandemic ie. to avoid pupils being in relatively small, poorly ventilated areas and will doubtless be withdrawn once the pandemic is over.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 3rd January 2021 at 16:52

The current Covid 19 pandemic must be used as a launch pad to abolish the compulsory School shower amongst all four nations of the United Kingdom. Please see this guidance from the Scottish Government.

"Young people should be encouraged to arrive at school in their sports kit on days when physical education lessons will take place and, where possible, wait until they get home to shower and change. If the use of changing rooms and showering facilities is required, schools should ensure these are as well ventilated as possible, used only by small numbers at any point in time to maximise physical distancing, and that attention is paid to cleaning surfaces after use. Consideration should be given to the needs of children and young people with disabilities or special needs."

There are still schools which mandate showers for outdoor lessons.


P.E. Equipment
Compulsory Items

Black & Gold training Top with Blue Coat logo
Black training shorts with Blue Coat logo
Black knee length sports socks
White ankle socks
Towel for shower taken after every outdoor lesson, optional for indoor lesson.
Football boots.

Let us bring full child protection amongst all of the United Kingdom and in every school.

Comment by: Alan on 16th December 2020 at 06:05

John & Tim H: Those singlets and tee shirts are so heavy aren't they?. Those shorts alone must weight a ton as well - perhaps they should leave their shorts off as well as their shirts and run around in their jockstraps?

Comment by: TimH on 15th December 2020 at 15:46

Just a comment: some years ago on one of the TV talent shows there was a mixed sex gymnastics team called 'Spelbound'. The 'boys' in the team wore shorts only, and the girls not an awful lot me.

Comment by: Alan on 14th December 2020 at 07:03

John: You wrote "Such a sensible PE kit, those lads worked hard and would soon have worked up a sweat. Exercising shirtless is comfortable and natural, most male gymnasts train shirtless. I’ve never understood why male gymnasts aren’t allowed to take part in competitions shirtless."

If you will allow me to say so, this seems to be a personal fetish with you. May I ask you why you are so concerned about the dress or undress of other people?. As I have said elsewhere, whilst you might have enjoyed parading round half naked, not everybody did, or does, and why should your whims be carried out for your pleasure and those taking part's possible discomfort?

Comment by: Tom B on 10th December 2020 at 13:39

A photo of the latest batch of RAF PTIs appeared on my Instagram feed today.

They wear cotton shorts of a similar length to those in this pic and vests. It does look somewhat old fashioned.

Comment by: Rob on 10th December 2020 at 11:38

I agree John, apart from those black socks! Male gymnasts should be allowed to take part in competitions shirtless and why not in shorts instead of those long white trousers?

Comment by: John on 8th December 2020 at 15:50

Such a sensible PE kit, those lads worked hard and would soon have worked up a sweat. Exercising shirtless is comfortable and natural, most male gymnasts train shirtless. I’ve never understood why male gymnasts aren’t allowed to take part in competitions shirtless.

Comment by: Ade C on 14th September 2020 at 18:09

I never had to do X Country bare chested etc, that was always in the school out door kit, the good old reversible rugby shirt. Indoor p e however was white shorts only, bare chest and bare feet, not an issue as I was also in a gymnastics club where footwear was frowned upon.

Comment by: Valance on 7th September 2020 at 11:28

did any one meet with Mr Dando to protest?

Comment by: Peterlee on 5th September 2020 at 09:46

If you are going to demonstrate in public why do it on a Saturday??? Surely during the week when politicians may be around!!!

Comment by: LeedsLad on 3rd September 2020 at 09:06

What an intriguing proposition! I'm half tempted to turn up, just to see if you exist! ;) What will you be wearing, so one can identify you?

Comment by: Mr Dando on 2nd September 2020 at 17:51

No pupil should be forced to do physical education either bare-footed, bare chested or be compelled to have a compulsory shower in school.

This is an offending school that still has a mandatory towel requirement.


Both Boys and Girls

Predominantly white PE top with collar (polo shirt)
Maroon Football/Rugby/Hockey socks
Clean training shoes – with non-marking soles
Short white socks
Tracksuit (Optional)

Boys Specifically

Black cotton/nylon shorts
White cotton/nylon shorts
Black/Maroon outdoor sports shirt, available only from Price and Buckland
Football/Rugby boots

Girls Specifically

Maroon skort
Maroon nylon satin finish shorts
Black/Maroon outdoor sports shirt, available only from Price and Buckland

With the return of the dreaded PE lessons this September it is time to learn from the sins of the past and end state sponsored child abuse. Let us come together this 5th of September 2020 and call for the end of compulsory PE lessons in all state schools! Covid 19 and the need for self distancing gives an excellent reason to end communal changing rooms and contact sports.

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression is the basis of all PE lessons. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I had no choice but to be subject to the dreaded school communal shower from September 1985 until Easter 1987. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me on September 5th night 2 metres apart, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give Boris Johnson a fifth of September that shall never, ever be forgot. Yours Mr Dando!

Comment by: Stewart on 20th August 2020 at 10:21

Peter... No-one ever hurt their feet as far as I can remember.
And schools in New Zealand are still encouraging pupils to run cross country barefoot to this very day, as they know the advantage of it.

Comment by: Pete on 18th August 2020 at 12:00

Don't tell me that none of the pupils ever got injured running barefoot during cross country runs if they stepped over something sharp.

I think it is very dangerous and improper to make kids run barefoot outside. Not even the toughest athletes would probably dare do this. This is confirmed by the fact that the PE coaches themselves usually always wore shoes for these runs with the boys while they made the boys run barefoot which does not make sense and was abusive.

I also don't believe as some posters are saying that they enjoyed running barefoot outside in all weather and ground conditions.
In any case I don't think that this was common at all for cross country runs.

Comment by: Stewart on 12th August 2020 at 10:55

Readers may be interested in my PE experiences. Between 1967 and 1974 I attended an English grammar school where the P.E. regime was very strict, and bare feet were compulsory for both boys and girls indoor and outdoor P.E.

It was always a mixed lesson, like all the other lessons at the school, and for indoor P.E. in the gym or sports hall both the boys and girls wore shorts. The girls also wore T-shirts, but the boys were bare chested.

Outdoor P.E. was on a Wednesday afternoon, with cross country every fortnight, both winter and summer. Boys could wear T-shirts for that, but again, both boys and girls were compelled to run barefoot...even in winter. In the winter term, the alternate Wednesdays were given over to netball for the girls, again they had to play barefoot. For boys, it was rugby, and this was the only exception to the barefoot rule. We could wear rugby boots.

All the other terms were given over to track and field events, where both boys and girls wore shorts and T-shirts, but again, we were barefoot, no exceptions. Even when we competed in county athletics tournaments we had to be barefoot, while most other competitors wore shoes. I do think this gave us a distinct advantage though, as we did tend to win most events.

Our P.E. teachers for the most part wore shoes for the lessons, but there was a strange thing with the cross country. Our P.E. teachers were quite young -- the boys' teacher (male) was late 20s, and the girls' teacher (female) was in her early 20s (but, of course, to us teenagers, that was positively ancient!). Both teachers always ran cross country with us -- the man at the front, and the woman teacher at the back. The man wore shoes, but the girls' teacher always ran barefoot -- yet she always wore shoes for all other P.E. lessons, including indoors.

I loved being barefoot for P.E., but my girlfriend at the time hated it. She was okay with going barefoot indoors, but not outdoors. She asked if she could wear shoes for cross country and netball, but was told definitely not: bare feet were compulsory. I remember seeing her crying while she was brushing snow, barefoot, off the netball court.

I can't see the health and safety brigade condoning barefoot cross country at schools nowadays, either compulsory or by indivdual choice, which is great shame.

Comment by: Stuart on 18th July 2020 at 07:35

We get our word gymnasium from the greek Gymnos which means naked.

Personally I love to swim naked where possible, so much nicer than wearing a costume. A habit of course picked up at school as recounted earlier

Comment by: Pete on 11th July 2020 at 13:21

Peter V ,
Athletics for boys were very popular in ancient Greece and they didn't take place just at the Olympic games which were held every 4 years just like they are today.
And just like today only the best athletes from around the country took part.
What is rarely ever mentioned is that every town in Greece had a small stadium where athletic events were regularly held throughout the year. In villages or towns that did not have a stadium the events were held in the streets and the boys and youths taking part were always naked no matter where they were held and anyone in the town or village could attend to watch the events, including girls and women. This is all documented though rarely mentioned.
One can still see these open stadiums all over Greece and surrounding countries among the ancient ruins.
The Olympic games were male only spectators because it was part of a religious festival always held in the same place near Mount Olympus where there was a temple dedicated to this god.
So the Olympic Games were the exception, not the rule, concerning female spectators.

Comment by: Peter V on 9th July 2020 at 09:48

Having read the comments re nudity, apparently during the original Olympic games in ancient Greece the competitors all competed naked. although of course the games were restricted to males only.