Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

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Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 182,696
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: Trevor Cooper on 2nd August 2020 at 19:49

Tim H: I meant no disrespevt to the people of Merseyside - there is no shame in being poor. As you want me to be PC I must phrase this very carefully: could it be that some of the people on this board who have boasted about their private schools and grammar schools be a bit snobish about state schools?. Quote from one "the teacher looks a bit scruffy". I notice you didn't complain about that. Let's put it this way I doubt the lads in that 1975 film had parents who could have afforded private education for their children. Statement of fact, no snobbery on my part

Comment by: Jonathan C on 2nd August 2020 at 19:01

I've only just come across this and it bought back memories. From the age of 9 through to 18 our teachers judged your efforts in the gym by when you started to sweat. With the whole class barechested its obvious if you are or not. Outdoors we'd change into a t-shirt and vest for PE/Games when you were told to strip however both came off and very quickly too. With teams picked by the teachers I was normally one of the first to be picked to strip for skins or they'd have whole class told to strip off which normally happened 3 times a month in winter..For me, being made to take off my t-shirt and vest outdoors when it was cold or raining was something alien to me and took me out of my comfort zone and it wasn't until after I turned 11 that I got used to it (much to the amusement of some of my friends who took to it straight away). I remember out of school when there were fights, it was common for both lads to be topless, or one wearing a vest, knocking 9bells out of each other. I agree that in winter it could become an endurance test but it ensured everyone gave 100% every session. Our school placed a great emphasis on fitness and each day was a session lasting 1hr30 either indoors or outside. Exercising barechested also had an unexpected twist for me with one girl who watched me strip off over the years later became my wife and has clear memories of being late for lessons because she wanted to see lads stripped and sweating in the gym.

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 2nd August 2020 at 17:42

I am sure that from the start of time people have liked to consider their generation "better" than the current one. That is human nature. Obesity is oftentimes to do with diet. MacDonalds and Burger King, Nandos etc has a lot to answer for, but it is parents who stuff their kids full of that garbage. Quite what that has to do with forcing boys against their will for whatever reason to take nearly all their clothes off, I can't imagine - unless you advocate body shaming for the less fit boys? A bit more humilation to make up for the fact the teachers can't use the cane today?

Despite Ian's protestations, I maintain that quite a lot of teachers from the past would these days find themselves in a court of law, because they were downright kinky and cruel.

I wonder if any of you read on Friday of that filthy "ex football coach" who is going to get a few more years in chokey for fiddling about with boys of 14-18 - six this time, to add to the numerous tally that landed him in prison in the first place?. I bet when the first allegation was made against him many of the parents of the boys would have thought it quite impossible that he could have done it, and been allowed to get away with it for so many years. I bet quite a few parents (and some of the boys) thought he was such a nice man, well - their eyes are now open,and should continue to be open to abuse, because 12 men and women on a jury saw him for what he was.

Comment by: Tom B on 2nd August 2020 at 16:38

I think the line between a necessary motivational push and harsh treatment can be fine and flexible - down to individual perception.

For my part I do, with the benefit of retrospect, look back at the fact that I wasn’t pushed harder with some disappointment.

As a young teenager I needed a lot of persuasion to engage in physical activity. I suspect some tougher tactics would have helped and while I cannot day for sure, I don’t think I’d have gone on to resent them. That said I can see why some would.

Comment by: TimH on 2nd August 2020 at 16:09

[From Ian:
Could contributors please stop dismissing comments which do not concur with their own views and experiences as "obsessions" or "made up" by "fetishists" or "sado-masochists"; or any such comments in a similar vein].

Plus 1 ...

Also:
... as long as their parents could afford it, but Merseyside has always been a poor area, and it might be that some of them had hand-me-downs from older brothers....

OK but I have working class friends from Merseyside (& Brum, and N'castle, and London and I don't like generalisations like this ...

(I suggest people look on Youtube at films produced in that school over the years before it closed - the impression I got was of staff, parents & children pretty much working together for their community)

Comment by: Ian on 2nd August 2020 at 14:43

Could contributors please stop dismissing comments which do not concur with their own views and experiences as "obsessions" or "made up" by "fetishists" or "sado-masochists"; or any such comments in a similar vein.

Comment by: William on 2nd August 2020 at 14:01

Trevor

You say the world has moved on but is it in the right direction? Don't you think that the informal atmosphere in gym that you advocate is in part responsible for the record level of obesity in young men today?
Too often informality in school means not having to bother if you don't want to. Most boys benefit from a motivational push. It's called discipline. It made me try my hardest whether I wanted to or not.

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 2nd August 2020 at 12:03

Richard R: I think you are the one with an obsession:

"The lads do look scruffy though, we were in our white shorts and plimsolls that had to be spotless and as below, there would not have been any underpants worn, never mind on show. Our PE masters wore black shorts and plimsolls and he was also always bare chest too unlike the man in the clip who also looks a bit untidy."

I repeat these "boys" are now 60 or thereabouts, yet you still seem to be concerned about their clothing.

I can only say that some teachers of the not-so-distant past, and their pupils, seem to have a rather unhealthy obsession about dress code. Surely it is better for anyone to learn in a more informal atmosphere, and enjoy the subject rather than be taught under duress in a subject that you could learn to hate?. The world has moved on.

Simon - your experience seems to have been fairly typical of some people who have written on this forum. Not much consolation, but I suspect that if these teachers got up to their old tricks today they would soon be found out and bought down. It is horrible while it is happening though and you feel powerless.

Comment by: Richard R on 2nd August 2020 at 08:24

@Trevor Cooper on 1st August 2020 at 14:18

You seem to have similar obsessions.

Comment by: Simon D on 2nd August 2020 at 04:54

My experience of topless PE was both our teachers both took pleasure in making lads exercise topless. There was always a hand picked skins team or would have the whole class go topless., Outside we were"encouraged" or made (depending on your opinion) to take off our t-shirts as if it were summer. I was sporty and good at it too so with a few others who were the same, always, and I really do mean always ended up on the skins teams. Winter could be tough especially if there was heavy frost or snow. I didn't look forward to being topless in those temperatures but it made no difference. I remember being told that by exercising topless it made me work harder. I certainly felt I was on show every session. It was also the same when you represented the school.or County which I did many times at school for different sports. All training was done in your year group and all lads were topless regardless of the conditions. If you complained about going topless you were removed from the team and replaced with someone who would tow the line.

Comment by: Simon D on 1st August 2020 at 23:30

My experience of topless PE was both our teachers both took pleasure in making lads exercise topless. There was always a hand picked skins team or would have the whole class go topless., Outside we were"encouraged" or made (depending on your opinion) to take off our t-shirts as if it were summer. I was sporty and good at it too so with a few others who were the same, always, and I really do mean always ended up on the skins teams. Winter could be tough especially if there was heavy frost or snow. I didn't look forward to being topless in those temperatures but it made no difference. I remember being told that by exercising topless it made me work harder. I certainly felt I was on show every session. It was also the same when you represented the school.or County which I did many times at school for different sports. All training was done in your year group and all lads were topless regardless of the conditions. If you complained about going topless you were removed from the team and replaced with someone who would tow the line.

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 1st August 2020 at 14:18

Richard R: What???

Do you feel that anyone who disagrees with you is bogus?

Comment by: Richard R on 1st August 2020 at 11:05

@ Trevor Cooper on 30th July 2020 at 06:23

Is that you Mr Dando?

Comment by: Tom B on 1st August 2020 at 06:58

That is a fair point and one perhaps I should have considered. I do think the ability to hand down Or sell on uniform is important which is why I find it aggravating when schools insist on pupils having initials on kit these days.

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 30th July 2020 at 19:37

Yes Tom, I agree, as long as their parents could afford it, but Merseyside has always been a poor area, and it might be that some of them had hand-me-downs from older brothers. I really don't think it matters too much personally, better they get the idea fitness can be fun, and not conducted under the glare of a martinet. I assume most kids today are taught and probably respond better under these more informal circumstances.With the rise in school age leavers, at least older boys should be allowed a degree of leniency, but I would apply that to all of them at all ages.

Comment by: Tom B on 30th July 2020 at 17:43

Playing devils advocate one thing I would say is at my school in the 90s where everybody wore a white T shirt, white shorts and white trainers for indoor PE everybody looked “uniform”. While maybe not heading for military service I do believe uniformity and standards are desirable.

Comment by: Ross on 30th July 2020 at 07:17

picked up on some comments doubting that barefoot running happened, happens or been outlawed. Well i was in school in the 90s and running the grass athletes track barefoot was quite normal and most enjoyable by all of us as was the cross country which was on a loop around the school grounds and we all ran barefoot without any issues. In fact it was better as we could grip with our toes and we didn't have any muddy plimsols weighing heavy on our feet or to clean afterwards.

Cross country running barefoot is still quite the norm in new Zealand and South Africa

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 30th July 2020 at 06:23

Barry & Richard R: These boys are now pushing 60. What a pity we can'tfind them to find out if they changed their underpants after the lesson, or why all but 3 of the boys chose to wear shirts.

I have to repeat again, why this obsession about topless boys and whether or not they were wearing anything under their shorts?.What difference does it make, except that the boys of 1975 would not be obliged to join the army, so did not need to be taught under strict military discipline.

Comment by: Richard R on 29th July 2020 at 17:16

Tim H, the video clip is as I remember gym in the 1960s but imagine sending lads up ropes these days, the poor PE masters would never get to the end of the risk assessments!

The lads do look scruffy though, we were in our white shorts and plimsolls that had to be spotless and as below, there would not have been any underpants worn, never mind on show. Our PE masters wore black shorts and plimsolls and he was also always bare chest too unlike the man in the clip who also looks a bit untidy.

Comment by: Tom B on 28th July 2020 at 19:28

There is a boy in what looks like a Glasgow Rangers Away shirt from 1992 in that Youtube vid. It’s not clear though so I am happy to stand corrected.

Comment by: TimH on 28th July 2020 at 10:18

Barry: 'goes into Captain Mainwaring mode' -
'I wondered when somebody would spot that' (the visible underpants).
The teacher is wearing Adidas trackie bottoms with what looks like the trefoil marking - introduced in 1971 but abandoned in 1997. I'm sure there are people who can tell us when that particular style came in.
I can't comment on other peoples experiences but I just thank the teachers who gave a non-sporty city boy the confidence to start running (although I never did a marathon) and instilled in him a love of 'wild places' that has enabled me to travel to remote places and develop a love for Mother Earth & its peoples. 'nuff said ...

Comment by: Barry on 27th July 2020 at 20:46

TimH on 24th July 2020 at 15:17

I remember gym sessions like the one in the Youtube clip from the 1970s, I was in grammar school in the 1960s/early 70s.

The difference would have been that we would all have been bare chested and wearing shorts only and there definitely would not have been underpants never mind visible ones.

Comment by: TimH on 27th July 2020 at 18:42

Adam - Happy to be corrected. If you look at the photographers YouTube films they date, I think from the mid-70s to the 90s. I put this at mid -to-late 70s, but I'm happy to accept your comments.
T

Comment by: Tom B on 27th July 2020 at 18:16

Regarding changes in policies and procedures I do not entirely agree with you there Trevor. Apart from anything else change is not necessarily progress.

Barefoot running has without doubt been outlawed by valid health and safety concerns and no sensible person would risk outdoor barefoot street running now. As for the t-shirt/vest/barechest question, perhaps allow a choice of the three.

Similarly discipline no longer uses the cane because hitting a child isn’t acceptable and very few would suggest it should be allowed.

I do believe that elements of older style teaching methods should return though, particularly for boys as I believe boys need pushing physically. To be clear though - PE shouldn’t be a punishment. I know from my 90s experience that I was allowed to get away with minimal effort and not challenged to make the effort.

It’s why having found strength and fitness training a couple of decades later I favour that for schoolchildren. Testing allowed competition between pupils but it also allows everybody to improve, make progress and compete against their earlier performances.

Im very interested in the La Sierra which fell out of fashion in the US for a number of reasons. I wish I’d had that kind of training - it seems like a perfect training method and I can’t see any flaws in the system.

Video here : https://youtu.be/gOreyJfzngs

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 27th July 2020 at 07:38

William, I would just say that I don't believe some of the stories told on the site, but if you take them at face value the behaviour of some teachers was shameful, but just two points: If things were so wonderful in the good old days when you had boys running round the streets barefoot at the whim of some teacher and even if there wasn't broken glass like today which I doubt, and getting caned for minor breaches or being a bit slow, why were things changed? - I would say it is because the authorities today recognize the dodginess of the past, and how wrong it was, and second why have we got old geezers who left school 50 or 60 years ago wanting todays boys to experience the minimal kit that they wore?. Is it because they feel todays boys should suffer like they did, and what pleasure does that give them - and why?

Comment by: Tom B on 27th July 2020 at 07:14

Interesting comment and obviously not a blanket statement to tar everybody with the same brush.

I have commented as I have thought a lot about my involvement in PE and games lessons and I think I would have benefitted from being forced out of my comfort zone by a harsher teaching style.

I’d like to see a shift in PE towards strength and fitness training, flexibility and nutrition. The training could be monitored by testing allowing competition against each other but also against the individuals start point and goals creating a more inclusive atmosphere.

As for the kit, I do think there is an unnecessary burden on parents to buy vast kit bags with branded and personalised polos, tracksuits etc. when a white t shirt or vest, shorts, socks, trainers and football boots plus a towel for a shower after is all that’s required.

Comment by: Adam on 26th July 2020 at 23:53

TimH, well looking at that video compared to some of the other ones on the channel I'd guess it was filmed in the mid to late 80s - it's more VHS quality compared to some of the earlier cine films.

The video looks similar to our gymnastics lessons except everyone had full kit, and we had mixed lessons with girls (who wore leotards and leggings).

Comment by: William on 26th July 2020 at 22:25

Trevor, You do not decribe your experience at school but you imply that you were abused, which is shocking, but has that experience unduly coloured your view of those who disagree with you? My gym lessons were the sort that you deplore but they did me much more good than harm. They made me realise that I could cope with things I thought I would hate. They pushed me out of my comfort zone. What is the point of children being excused from anything they find uncomfortable? If children are not challenged at school how will they know what they are capable of? How will they cope with life, when they will not be able to opt out of things they would rather not do?
I have read your other comments; I do not doubt what you say. But because I disagree with some of it, that does not mean that I was naive or that my parents were complacent. Please accept that my experience was simply not like yours. And surely your suggestion that some contributors are sado-masochists who enjoyed or encouraged abuse is going much too far. If we don't trust and respect what others say what is the point of the discussion?

Comment by: John on 26th July 2020 at 19:51

Oliver,
I completely agree with you that a big deal seems to be being made of lads being made to do PE shirtless in the not too distant past. It really seems to be the case that some lads disliked being made to do PE shirtless because they had previously been allowed to wear a shirt for PE and got used to it. If they had always been made to do PE shirtless from entering school I doubt that they would have been concerned.

Comment by: Trevor Cooper on 26th July 2020 at 07:07

Daniel. I am sorry I made a mistake in crediting you and in a reply to David I did correct it:

"David G - sorry I sad "Daniel" when I meant Oliver. "

As I corrected the mistake, I could leave it there, but you ask me to expain what I meant so I will (and this reply excludes you just as it does Oliver, when I said recommended I could have said cited, soapologies to Oliver too). Looking through this thread an a similar one about Burnley and a couple of replies on that YT thread, it seems to me there are some very unhealthy obsessions, replies often including very graphic descriptions of canings, medical examinations, jockstraps and nudity, what blokes wore under their shorts and so on - the stock in trade of the old gay porn industry. One person has repeated his obsession several times throughout the thread, about having to take everything off.

For those who enjoy sado-masochism I suppose it is all good fun, but for anyone who really suffered, it was not fun, and nor will I add fuel to the fire relating my own experiences. Let's just say that the dirty old barsteward who taught me once had a private chat with me in his little office (a store cupboard really) and told me that if I said anything it would be my word against his and he would be believed.

He made the lives of at least four boys a misery, one a good friend of mine.

The 1970s was a really odd time - the Paedophile Information Exchange, for example, openly campaigned for it's perverted cause, and was even backed up by civil rights organisations. These days it is illegal and I think one or two of it's members finally served time in prison, but at the time quite respectable people were involved in it. By respectable I mean professional people.

I have no knowledge of school after 1976 and it really disturbs me to think people like the man I am thinking of, who ruled his little kingdom with fear, threats of violence and voyeurism of the worst sort were still at it decades later. Caning become illegal in the late 1980s I think.

Your teacher, you say, only entered the changing rooms when you were decent. How did he know, I wonder?. IN obituaries you often read people who were respected were often bullies, and feared was more overwhelming than respect.

I believe any sort of temptation should have been removed years before. Remember there were no CRB checks in the 40s to 80s, the times we are discussing here. Any Tom Dick or Harry could get any sort of job, based on references which may have been self written, forged or supplied by a friend. There was not even any computer checks. Everything was phone and typewriter. Even in the computer age a few rogues manage to get into the system, even pretending to be doctors, for example.

What worries me even more is the way people were so naive that they didn't even consider that there is a rotten apple in every barell. But you get the feeling reading some of these replies, that some of the lads involved, enjoyed and perhaps even encouraged questionable behavour. That they look back on it now with pleasure is the most disturbing thing of all.