Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

Childhood > Schools


Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 218,938
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: Andrea on 3rd October 2015 at 18:09

Hi Liz,
How did you and your classmates feel about having to do PE topless in Year 7? I would have been OK for about the first term and a half, but I can think of several of my classmates who wouldn't have?

Comment by: - on 3rd October 2015 at 15:25

Liz, did you or classmates ever see the lads exercise barechested either indoors or outside? The girls in our class would often joke about us being topless outdoors especially if it was a cold day!

Comment by: Rose on 3rd October 2015 at 01:00


Yes in my case it was a male class teacher that took PE,country dancing etc. except for netball which a female teacher took.
He was quite elderly or so we thought, I guess he was probably in his early sixties and used to get embarrassed if our boobs bounced too much!
We didn't have showers or changing rooms at Primary school but of course we did at secondary school.

Comment by: Liz on 30th September 2015 at 16:05

the comments have been so interesting to read. Such a range of experiences from so many different decades.

I'm 28 so probably a bit younger than the average here. I went to a mixed secondary school but PE was meant to be single sex. I think someone way down the page said that they had to do it in their knickers and topless for the first term in year 7. That was what we did too, but it emerged on until PE moved outdoors in the summer term. After that we still did gymnastics when we came back in September for year 8, only now we were allowed crop tops or bras with our knickers! We carried on like that until our last year when we were suddenly allowed tshirts!

Comment by: DM on 22nd September 2015 at 14:43

John yes I remember the transparency when wet of the white nylon shorts due to having to run outdoors even if raining. But I don't think we were bothered.

Comment by: John on 21st September 2015 at 07:28

DM, we also wore nylon shorts and anything worn underneath could easily be seen. They were also chilly to wear in cold weather, clammy in hot weather and transparent when wet.
They were also tight fitting and very short inseam of about one inch.

Comment by: aidan on 21st September 2015 at 00:17

I think boys who developed chest hair were often more confident about showing off their bodies but it made no difference to their PE kit! Everyone had to do it with shirts off, period.

Comment by: - on 20th September 2015 at 20:15

Were lads who developed chest hair expected to wear a t shirt for PE.

Comment by: DM on 20th September 2015 at 15:55

John not only did they afford little protection from the cold, they were also nylon so if anyone attempted to wear any thing underneath it would be very obvious to teacher and class alike and so prevented any from doing that

Comment by: John on 19th September 2015 at 12:00

Roy, there were boys still in short trousers at my school in their second year (year 8) often when they were about thirteen. Due to my parents' insistence they indulged themselves of the practice of keeping me in the full uniform that included short trousers up to my fifth form (year 11) until I was sixteen.
Like DM's shorts they fitted tightly and left most of my legs bare.
If you were still in shorts at that age you were considered to be childish and immature.

Comment by: John on 18th September 2015 at 20:51

DM, yes that style of shorts was typical of the 60's/70's fashion. They were excruciatingly brief and took a while to become accustomed to wearing shorts that were so brief.
They was certainly a disadvantage wearing them, especially when it was cold, as they offered they little protection from the cold.
I could never understand why we had to wear them!

Comment by: DM on 18th September 2015 at 14:10

John I remember the brief style shorts. My school days was in the 60's and if people remember our shorts were similiar to the ones worn by the English football team at the world cup. They were very tight so I suppose they were their own support. It seems "tight " was the order of the day because my grey school trousers were very tight and my old fashioned underwear made things uncomfortable.

Comment by: Roy on 18th September 2015 at 08:47

I was at secondary school in the early 1960's and started wearing long trousers halfway through the second form(Year 8 in today's parlance.)
There were boys still in short trousers after I wore lolng trousers.

Comment by: John on 14th September 2015 at 07:41

In reply to DM, it was also due to my parents' insistence that I had to wear shorts to the secondary school that I attended and it was co-ed which often led to some embarrassment. I didn't wear shorts by choice and was unfairly ridiculed by my contemporaries for wearing shorts right through school. I was quite tall but this was not considered a reason to be promoted to wearing long trousers, neither was my age.

Comment by: DM on 13th September 2015 at 13:09

In reply to John, I aslo because of parents insistent I also wore grey shorts in Secondary school unitl I was consdired old or tall enough for longs. I think this was when I was about 13. Fortunately being 1961 to 1963 this was not uncommon and there were just a few other boys in the same situation. It was an all boys school and it may have be more embarrassing if it was a co ed school.

Comment by: John on 13th September 2015 at 12:30

Hi Andrea, I didn't even know what a jock strap was, let alone wear one. We wore white shorts and wouldn't have been allowed to wear anything underneath. We would have been punished if we had slipped anything underneath and they weren't those shorts we see in the photo, they were those brief styled shorts that were fashionable in the seventies.

Comment by: Nick on 12th September 2015 at 18:09

Hi Andrea
Sorry for my over simplification. I went to a boarding school where the first year at the senior school was the second form, jockstraps were worn from the beginning of the third form.
I too always wore a jockstrap for sport as an adult.

Comment by: John on 12th September 2015 at 07:44

In reply to DM, we also wore those grey shorts at primary school but they were optional at my secondary school.
I was dismayed when my parents chose short trousers to send me to my new school in shorts. I had to suffer all the trials and tribulations at school for wearing shorts simply to satisfy my parents.

Comment by: Andrea on 9th September 2015 at 18:22

Hi Nick,
I'm just curious, were Jock straps compulsory from the start of Secondary School (at age 11)?

My ex told me that at their school it was from the start of the third year (at age 13).

He always wore one for sport as an adult.


Comment by: DM on 9th September 2015 at 16:50

in response to Nick. I attended Junior SChool in the late 1950's to 1961. All boys wore grey uniform shorts all year round. Long trousers were not thought about. For pe whci was done as a mixed class, we simply took off our shirts, and did pe in our grey uniform shorts and white singlet, which all boys wore as a matter of course under their shirts. No changing into PE kit so pants were worn. The girls simply did pe on their underwear and this was accepted as the norm. At Secondary school which was all boys as I have posted previously pe indoors or out was topless with short shorts no underwear and plimsolls no socks. We were never advised about or told to wear any support so no one ever did.

There were communal showers afterwards with a teacher patrolling to make sure there was no horse play and noone ever questioned it.

I do not know what happens nowadays.

Comment by: Nick on 6th September 2015 at 19:04

I was at school in the 1970s. In common with many others wearing underpants for pe / games was strictly forbiden, at junior school nothing was worn under shorts, at senior school it was compulsory to wear a jockstrap. I agree that pants should not be worn to ensure a complete change of clothes but I don't think that older boys should be expected to play without support.

Comment by: Andrea on 24th August 2015 at 18:27

Hi Jack,

Our class teacher was female and usually took the whole class (boys and girls) for PE lessons.

For some of the more gender specific activities (football / cricket for the boys and netball / rounders for the girls),two classes were combined and a male teacher took the boys and a female one took the girls. This was well before the era of girls football!

We were only in our underwear while we were actually getting changed, as both boys and girls wore T shirts and shorts (or sometimes skirts for the girls) for the actual PE lessons.
I don't recollect there being much misbehaviour while we were getting changed, although in the final year at Primary school, a few of the girls who had started to 'develop' and wear bras were allowed to change separately in the girls toilets.

There were no showers at our Primary school, so compulsory showers at Secondary came as a bit of a shock!

Comment by: Jack on 23rd August 2015 at 00:58

Hi girls, was your class teacher who took you for PE lessons male or female?
I assume that it was the class teacher who gave the boys and girls PE lessons since there were no PE teachers in primary schools, at least not in mine or any other primary school I knew of. Of course it was different in secondary schools, with gyms and PE teachers.
Also do you remember any boys or girls getting physical punishments during PE lessons for misbehaviour while in their underwear?
I am also curious to know if there were any primary schools which had compulsary showers after PE. We only had showers in secondary school.

Comment by: Andrea on 16th August 2015 at 16:33

I left Primary school in July 1971 and about 4 or 5 of my classmates had started to wear a bra during our final few months there.

My mum bought me my first bras during the last term of my first year at Secondary school, but I didn't wear one regularly until the start of my second year there.

What did you wear for PE at Secondary school?


Comment by: Rose on 15th August 2015 at 01:26

Hi Andrea
I was at primary school from Jan 1970 - July 1976. I don't recall any of the girls wearing a bra at primary school, I certainly didn't start wearing one until I was 13.
I don't think many girls owned a vest either.

Comment by: Tyler on 9th August 2015 at 11:32

Neil, was it embarrassing being a skin? Were there any female teachers present?

Comment by: Tyler on 9th August 2015 at 02:21

Looking at Neil's post it seems that even to this day pe is sometimes done shirtless. was it embarrassing/difficult to be a skin?

Comment by: Matt on 8th August 2015 at 23:51

Neil, did you get to choose whether you were shirts or skins in PE or were you just told which team to play? Which did you enjoy more?

Comment by: Neil on 8th August 2015 at 21:28

I only recently finished high school (boys school) as well and we never had nude swimming (thankfully!!) although communal showers after pe and swimming were compulsory and were always done nude by most. Also, during basketball and football, there would be two pe lessons in the hall at once and not enough bibs for everyone, so we just did shirts vs skins. Remember this was only around two year ago.

Any questions go ahead. That's the whole point of history sites.

Comment by: Roy on 8th August 2015 at 07:30

I was at school in the fifties and sixties and although doing PE stripped to the waist was the norm-both indoors and outdoors including cross-country runs-we certainly never had nude swimming.
As being stripped to the waist was the norm we accepted it and eventually got to enjoy it.