Burnley Grammar School

Childhood > Schools


Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 795,969
Item #: 1607
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

Comment by: Lewis P on 21st September 2020 at 12:48

Lots of the comments on this site relate to the same time that I attended an all boys Secondary Modern school .i.e. 1961 to 1966. In common with what I have read pe kit was shorts (and they were) and no pants to be worn. We were topless and wore plimsolls and no socks. For out doors in summer we had the option of topless, but if we we wore a top is was generally a t shirt because very few lads had football or rugby shirts with logos. Again no underwear.
We also had swimming lessons and we were transported to the local swimming baths, and we wore swim trunks (the briefs design)
I am interested to read that some schools, as boys developed, encouraged them to wear swimming trunks as a form of support., under their shorts for pe and I can see the logic in this However, in all my years our pe. teacher never said anything about support, and up until I left at the age of 16 none of us wore anything under our shorts. I suppose if swimming trunks were worn under shorts for pe than it save being naked in the showers afterwards.
Whilst I understand that the main topic for discussion is about the pe and swimming kit we wore, I do like to explore how fashion has changed.
In "our day" the options were limited. Mainly the only swimming gear available was the trunks, and as I said club football shirts were rare. Although I think soon after the 60's swimming shorts started coming into fashion and I remember my first swimming shorts were nylon. No when I go to the Gym and swimming pool a lot of younger fellows nowadays wear boxer shorts under their swimming shorts. I would have though that was uncomfortable, but I suppose they have a reason for doing it.

Comment by: Dave on 19th September 2020 at 19:31

Hi, for athletics, gym and cross country ( the sports I did) it was shorts, vest and plimsolls, but we were allowed underwear after 14/ 15, so then some wore trunks and others like myself a jockstrap.

Comment by: Michael on 19th September 2020 at 19:30

It's always interesting to read the comments and especially when they relate to the 60's and 70's when I was at school.
Several 'boys' have mentioned jock - straps for support and I thought I would add my penny 's worth.
Like so many we were not supposed to wear our everyday underwear beneath our sports kit. Those who played in the school rugby team were advised to wear swimming trunks underneath. We were told that we would be more comfortable. This did prove to be the case and the support gave us much greater confidence in the rough and tumble of the game. It was not long before we added trunks to our PE and athletics kit as the support was definitely appreciated.
Later on there were several boys who advanced into wearing a jock - strap and these were often keen cricketers ( which I was not.)
I have commented before that there is seldom mention of the habit of wearing swimming trunks in this way. However, several guys have said that they also believed it to be common practice.
If anyone has any views or opinions I'd be very pleased to hear from them.

Comment by: Mike on 17th September 2020 at 23:12

Boarding school age 9 to 18

Gym, boxing and basketball: stripped to the waist, shorts, plimmies.

Football, rugby and XC: 50% vests, 50% skins

Athletics: stripped to the waist, shorts, plimmies

Outdoor fitness sessions and remedial PT: stripped to the waist,, shorts, plimmies

No swimming pool, never heard jockstraps either.

Comment by: Graham on 17th September 2020 at 14:27

Primary School (single-sex day-school): late 1950s - Early 1960s:
PE/Gym - indoors and outdoors in summer: white shorts, plimsolls
Outdoor Games: Rugby shirts and shorts, socks, boots

Secondary school (single-sex boarding) early 1960s onwards:
PE/Gym: shorts, plimsolls, commando (by choice, not compulsory), but jock-straps widely worn from about age 14
Cross-country: as PE. Although we were meant to wear tops when off school premises, we rarely did so.
Outdoor Games: Shirts, shorts, socks and footwear as appropriate, again with jock-straps.

Comment by: Andy on 17th September 2020 at 13:22

I attended a mixed comp in the mid 1980s. PE kit was all white, shorts, tee shirt, socks and pumps, for games lessons we had a rugby top.

Neither kit included any underwear, I don’t remember us being provide with a reason but that was the school rule and we had no choice, we just had to comply with it until we left.

Comment by: Eddy on 17th September 2020 at 10:33

Like Jeff our kit list was similar during the late 60s. Until the 4th year we wore white shorts and plimsolls for gym, athletics cross country and tennis during the summer. No pants were allowed under the shorts. For football and rugby it was black shorts, a top and socks and boots. From the 5th year we wore jockstraps under shorts both for gym and outdoor sports. We didn't think anything of it. The support from the jockstrap was welcomed as we got older!

Comment by: Stuart on 17th September 2020 at 07:49

Grammar school, early 70

Just shorts, bare feet, no top

Cross country

Shorts, vest, plimsolls in winter.
Shorts, plimsolls, stripped to waist, rest of year.
Couple of boys ran barefoot.

Rugby, cricket

Normal kit.

Showers after all sports, naked.

Comment by: Martin on 17th September 2020 at 06:12

My school games kit, late 1960s and early 1970s was:
For PE, cross country, athletics, tennis, rowing -
Gym shirt (T- shirt)
white shorts
white short socks
plimsoles / gym shoes

For rugby & hockey -
rugby shirt
black rugby shorts
long socks
rugby boots

For cricket
White shirt
Grey trousers
White trousers
Jockstrap plus pocket for a box
Short white socks
White cricket boots
Cricket bat

Comment by: Jeff on 16th September 2020 at 23:01

My school games kit, early 1970s was:
For PE, cross country, athletics -
Gym shirt (T- shirt)
white shorts
white short socks
plimsoles / gym shoes

For rugby & hockey -
rugby shirt
black rugby shorts
long socks
rugby boots

Comment by: Craig on 16th September 2020 at 09:35

For me at an all boys school(1961 to 1966)for P.E. indoors and games/ Athletics outside, we wore white shorts 60's style so quite short. As Tim wrote" Underpants weren't worn - because they weren't. I can't recall 'underpants checks'." The only time a boy was caught wearing pants was because he foolishly wore white shorts which were quite thin with coloured briefs which showed trough just enough for the teacher to see. Although people posting on here have referred to jock straps we never wore them not even at 15 or 16 hears of age. They were never mention by the p.e. or games teachers so in doors and outdoors it was shorts with no support. Track suit bottoms outside in winter were unheard of.

Comment by: Chris G on 15th September 2020 at 23:23

Ade C:
Time frame 1950s-60s.
Primary school (age 5 - 11): no special PE kit. We all wore short trousers so we just removed blazers/jumpers/shoes/socks.

Secondary school 1 (age 11-15):
For first two years, vests, shorts and plimsolls
For next three years, bare chests, shorts and plimsolls
Underpants optional, but we mostly went commando.

Secondary School 2 (age 15 - 18):
T-shirts (white), rugby shorts (black), plimsolls.
Again, underpants optional, but jock-straps were popular.

Comment by: John on 15th September 2020 at 20:36

Tim H,
I think that your school had a fair indoor PE kit rule of making the wearing of a T shirt optional. It’s good that lads were allowed to do PE barechested if they wanted to.

Comment by: TimH on 15th September 2020 at 11:56

Rsponding to Ady ...
Boys Technical Grammar School in the E Midlands - possibly starting 60 years ago today.
Two periods of gym per week - I seem to recall mainly 'agilities', etc., rather than team games but I can't recall too much on that.
For gym: white shorts - quite baggy in the early 60s, white tee shirt (optional - worn by most), plimsolls. Shorts got shorter as the 60s progressed and fashions changed: waistbands being turned oveetc.. By 66 onwards many of us would be wearing fairly short shorts - think of the 1966 World Cup. Shorts were still cotton - nylon didn't really come in until the mid 70s onwards. Underpants weren't worn - because they weren't. I can't recall 'underpant checks'. 'Skins' v 'shirts' happened - you just got on with it. Showers were compulsory - the 'walk-through' sort - someone got sent to turn the water on on the individual taps. Those who were first through got cold/cool water - heating up for the last ones. Trunks weren't worn. I don't recall any problems - just the usual angst of boys turning into young men.
The was one afternoon of games a week, on quite extensive games fields. The groundsman knew his job - the grass on the cricket pitch was pretty good. The games fields were a bus ride from the school - all part of growing up to get there. Autumn term was football, Spring was football/cross-country, & Summer was cricket, rounders, and athletics (not often).
Football/cross country kit was the traditional cotton 'rugby' style shirt that absorbed the rain. Shorts were black, often in a heavier twill fabric (I wore my last pair for a number of years after, until they just wore out). Boots & socks for football, plimsolls & football socks for cross-country. (Rugby wasn't played but there was an 'option' in the 5th & 6th Forms).
Cross-country (not barefoot) seemed to be disliked. In the 1st Form the course (Looking on MapmyRun) was about a mile & a half, all on pavements in the local council housing estate. In the 2nd & 3rd Years we did a course of just under 4 miles: following pavements, some metalled country footpaths, and a 'green lane'; the 4th & 5th Forms did rather longer. For those who like to know about showers - the ones at the games fields were the traditional 'over-head' sort. As far as I can recall there was no 'supervision' as such, except that a Games Master, wet through after refereeing a match on a wet day might use the showers.
We didn't swim.
People have made comments about PE teachers being 'bullies', 'sufferers from PTSD', 'perverts', etc.
Possibly but I never experienced it. The younger ones had, I suppose, 'done their time' and National Service ended after I started secondary school. I suspect many of them had seen unfit young men suffering in National Service and regarded it as their 'duty' to see that we were fit.
Other teachers had been in the school pre-1939 - one, each Remembrance Day, had to read out the names of those killed in two World Wars -boys he had known.
Enough from me

Comment by: Fiona on 15th September 2020 at 11:41

Ade C
I would suggest you read the full thread, and the four related threads here, to get an overview of what everyone else here had for PE/sports kit back in their schooldays. Don't forget that this is principally a discussion of historical photos, rather than a survey of contemporary practice.

Comment by: Tom B on 15th September 2020 at 08:30

We had plain white shorts and a T shirt for PE, bare feet up to the age of 11 indoors then white socks and trainers were allowed.

Our Games kit 11+ I had the reversible rugby shirt. It was uncomfortable at the best of times but particularly when it soaked.

Sometimes the teacher would change his mind and send us on a cross country run and it was just far too heavy for that - I’d rather have taken it off and run shirtless.

Comment by: Ade C on 14th September 2020 at 12:32

What was everyone’s p e kit? Secondary we had the reversible rugby jersey, in cotton, very heavy in the rain. Blue and yellow with shorts and socks to match. Indoors was white shorts, plimsolls optional, bare feet compulsory for gymnastics. The girls I remember were bare foot for all indoor p e.

Comment by: Craig on 8th September 2020 at 11:10

I agree with the last paragraph written by Andrew Nonymous.

Comment by: Andrew Nonymous on 6th September 2020 at 22:03

I don't see a problem with school showers. Here in the USA though they are not as common as they were a few decades ago. I grew up a child of the 1980s and for our classes we only stripped down to our underwear and back (as boys...though the girls did the same). It was a combination of too many students, not enough resources to shower and the amount of time in between the end of one class and the start of another one for that day in the next class.

But there's no reason to be shy around the same sex; you get used to being naked around other boys and men after the first few times. We all have the same parts in there, so there's no reason to be embarrassed or modest.

Comment by: Stuart on 5th September 2020 at 08:15

Mr Dando washing after physical activity is abput cleanliness and hygiene. I am getting rather bored of your constant repetitive cries against washing. If you dont like it fine but why do you just repeat the same thing every time? Its boring and not interesting. You post the same thing on other threads on this site too. Makes me want to atop reading the whole site. Writing on here is going to make no difference at all, so why do you bother?

Comment by: Chris on 4th September 2020 at 14:06

Mr Dando, you wrote:
'I say “The past can't hurt you anymore, not unless you let it.”'

And I would suggest that you seem determined to let the past continue to hurt you, despite having had, on your own admission, more than 30 years to confront your demons and to move on.

Comment by: Mr Dando on 4th September 2020 at 13:15

Tomorrow night it will be time to stand with me against the dreaded school shower that is still enforced in some state schools. Here is one offending institution!


Student Showers

Students are expected to shower after taking part in PE lessons as it is unhygienic to remain unwashed after vigorous physical activity.

However, we would like to assure you that your modesty and safety have been taken into account when designing the changing rooms and the cubicles are for individuals. You will therefore need to bring a towel and soap/shampoo on the days that you have PE.

I say “The past can't hurt you anymore, not unless you let it.”

It is time to use the pandemic to abolish compulsory school uniforms, communal changing rooms, mandatory showers and gender specific PE kits.

Compulsory PE was only introduced in this country in 1902 after the disastrous Boer War campaign by the British. The inter-war response included the 1902 Model course, the school medical services and initiatives such as the National Fitness campaign. Although primarily
concerned about preparing young males for war, this era also saw a huge expansion of activities for girls.

Let us finally close this sad chapter on imperialism, colonialism along with compulsion, coercion, state physical education and training.

“Remember, remember the fifth of September of communal showers without reason and PE teacher plot. I know of no reason why the humiliating rugby shower season should ever be forgot.”

Your most fervent champion for children's rights. Mr Dando!

Comment by: Adam on 24th July 2020 at 15:12

Josh H, I think the trunks vs shorts thing at the beach is more of a UK 'thing', yeah. Personally I prefer shorts, but we didn't have swimming lessons past primary school, either.

With regards to girls or women's swimwear - as far as I know girls still have to wear one piece swimsuits for school swimming lessons. In terms of the bikini 'argument' I've always thought of it in this way: a bikini is designed to be seen by lots of people on the beach, by contrast underwear is more of an intimate thing and usually limited to being seen by a woman's boyfriend or husband.

I think the situation is entirely the opposite for girls though - decades of enforced 'exposure' in the form of gym skirts and PE knickers has led to their normal PE kit being leggings and sweatshirts in most schools now.

Comment by: Adam on 24th July 2020 at 14:58

Tom B, oh yes, the reversible kit. I think we reversed the rugby shirts once in Year 7, and didn't reverse our gymnastics vests at all in 5 years!

I found an old prospectus a while back and it looks like the vests were quietly removed from the kit list by about 1996 or so.

Comment by: Josh H on 22nd July 2020 at 10:37

Having read the comments by Spelvin, I have given a lot of thought before posting my comments.
I agree that it may be that some people have felt that they have had nudity or minimal clothing forced upon them and so now want to protect the youngsters of today..
Also I can understand the other view. Repression or perhaps, forced modesty has lead to rebellion and wanting to feel more "free" to wear less. In my school (all boys) 1961 to 1966 we wore minimal pe kit. We all changed in one room and thought nothing of it. Rarely did a teacher come in, only if we were larking around.
That is all in the past. What I find nowadays is that on a beach in the hot weather many ladies wear minimal clothing and that seems to be acceptable. Whereas the majority of men wear long shorts or board shorts.If a fellow decides to wear something shorter or dare I say it swim trunks(colloquially known as Speedos) it seems unacceptable. this Although when I have been abroad the local men have no such problem with wearing trunks on the beach and in the sea and it is acceptable.

Comment by: Tom B on 22nd July 2020 at 07:42

Yes my experience was the same, the PE kit consisted of shorts and a T shirt and for games a reversible rugby shirt was required. I found that uncomfortably heavy to be honest, particularly on a wet day when it just soaked.

I do remember complaining once if been cold and getting told I needed to move more. I was then given laps of the pitch. I do feel that was absolutely the right response from my games teacher.

The branding is certainly a money making exercise and initialling kit prevents parents from passing it down or selling it on to other parents.

Comment by: Adam on 21st July 2020 at 14:17

Tom B, when it came to autumn and winter we just swapped the polo shirt and ankle socks for a long-sleeved rugby shirt and knee socks at my school. Although I was usually in the bottom set 'indoor' group for Games, I don't remember being too cold when we did things like Cross Country round the playing fields.

I agree that for regular PE lessons having the kit be as basic as possible is the way to go, ideally the boys and girls kits would be the same.

If I wanted to be cynical I'd say that branding and initials on kit are an attempt to copy sports like football and rugby, and of course this is now something that the uniform supplier can charge extra for when you buy the kit.

Comment by: spelvin on 21st July 2020 at 03:24

This is just a guess, but I betcha Mr. Dando had nudity forced on him when he was young,
and for that reason wishes to protect boys from forced nudity today.

If my hunch is correct,
I can't criticize him, because I had modesty forced on me when I was young,
and for that reason wish to protect boys from forced modesty today.

Comment by: Tom B on 20th July 2020 at 22:14

Adam, absolutely right.

All kids need in my view is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, socks, trainers and football boots. Oh and a towel for after a shower.

That’ll do for all sports indoors and out. Tracksuits, baselayers, branding and initials are all totally unnecessary.

As I’ve said before, it’s the content of PE and Sports lessons that should be looked at in detail.

Comment by: Tom B on 20th July 2020 at 22:09

I thought you’d got the hint and gone elsewhere Mr Dando.

Please take your crusade to another forum.