Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team

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916 Comments

Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team
Year: 1935
Views: 218,949
Item #: 1741
Hesketh Fletcher Gym Team of Atherton, Greater Manchester.
Source: G. Smith.

Comment by: Gerald on 7th August 2015 at 18:51

I honestly can't imagine having to grow up in a time where shirtless pe, corporal punishment and nude swimming was the norm. I only recently graduated high school and thankfully never had to hAve this lack of privacy. If anyone wants to ask any questions, go on.

Comment by: Paul on 4th August 2015 at 08:26

Hi Jason,
I'm interested to know whether the shirtless PE rule at your school applied only to the gym, or were you ever required to do lessons outdoors with your shirt off?
We had teachers who would sometimes make boys take their shirts off for PE as punishment but it wasn't part of the actual uniform.

Comment by: Jason on 3rd August 2015 at 13:52

Dave,

no, it didn't take very long, we all lined up and our teacher walked along in front of us putting an X on every second boy's chest and then did the same on our bare backs.

Being shirtless was not an option and we didn't really think about whether we liked it or not, you just went on with it and you better not complained if didn't wanted to be mocked or punished.

Comment by: Dave on 1st August 2015 at 20:39

Hi DM and Pete! Thank you for all the answerings!

Jason: Wasn't that ink proceura too long before team games?
How did you react for and for having to be shirtless anyway. Was it a problem for more boys or most of them didn't mind it?

Comment by: Jason on 26th July 2015 at 12:18

Hi Jono

As we were all shirtless anyway, a method of distinguishing teams was needed. Rather than letting some boys wear a top, which our teacher would never ever have allowed, he marked our chests and backs with a big X. We had that method of marking until I left school at 18.

Comment by: Pete on 25th July 2015 at 07:30

Dave, I await DM's further comments but in the meantime I knew from the Uniform List that we had to do PE shirtless.
Teams were told apart by coloured tags on our shorts and yes we were barefoot as well.

Comment by: DM on 24th July 2015 at 15:17

In reply to Dave. My elder brother was already at the secondary school. However, my dad attended a parents evening prior to my going there, and came home and told me pe was white shorts, no tops and no pants for reasons of hygiebne because we would work up a sweat and we would not want to go onto other lessons in sweaty underwear. (Communal showers were available,but, because of the time limt to get changed and onto next subject very few lads had time to use them)
Tops were only worn for outdoor games, football etc. There was no set uniform for sport and we just relied on remembering who was in our team. Indoors footwear was the old fashioned black plimsolls,with boots for football outside. In addition when we did football outside it was the same white shorts and again no pants so could be very cold in winter. Even as we progressed through to the age of 16, unlike a lot of schools we were not told about , or wore athletic supports. Everything had to be held in place by your shorts depending on the style and cut. Usally a lot of bouncing about. If it was raining we still did football outdoors, which was not good in white shorts. Especially for those lads who wore the nylon shorts. However, one seemed bothered. Nowadays they all seem to be covered virtually head to toe.

Comment by: Dave on 23rd July 2015 at 19:42

Hi DM, welcome to the forum!

How did you get to know that you have to do PE shirtless? Were there a uniform list or the PE teacher told you at the first lesson what you had to wear?
How did you distinguish as all of you wearing no tops?
Were you allowed to wear footwear?

Comment by: DM on 22nd July 2015 at 16:26

This is a new sight I have just found. I recollect that at junior school, pe was mixed with boys wearing there normal vest and grey uniform school shorts. The girls were in vest & knickers. I am sure that the equality gang would object to that these days.
In 1961 I went to an all boys secondary school. Pe was done in shorts( much shorter than the ones in the photo) and tighter and as in those days no pants we allowed to be worn. As was the general rule no tops. The shorts were thin white and anyone tried to wear pants then it would be obvious. One lad tried to get away with and ended up be made to remove them and then got the slipper on the backside which wearing only thin shorts must have been painful.

As far as I know this was the norm in most schools. One of my friends who went to different secondary school where they wore black pe shorts would sometimes randomly select a couple of boys to check that they were not wearing pants.

Swimming was more civilised becuase it was at a public pool although hired exculsively for the school. In those days we all wore what are now described as "Speedo" type swim briefs but there was no designated colours.

Comment by: DM on 22nd July 2015 at 16:23

This is a new sight I have just found. I recollect that at junior school, pe was mixed with boys wearing there normal vest and grey uniform school shorts. The girls were in vest & knickers. I am sure that the equality gang would object to that these days.
In 1961 I went to an all boys secondary school. Pe was done in shorts( much shorter than the ones in the photo) and tighter and as in those days no pants we allowed to be worn. As was the general rule no tops. The shorts were thin white and anyone tried to wear pants then it would be obvious. One lad tried to get away with and ended up be made to remove them and then got the slipper on the backside which wearing only thin shorts must have been painful.

As far as I know this was the norm in most schools. One of my friends who went to different secondary school where they wore black pe shorts would sometimes randomly select a couple of boys to check that they were not wearing pants.

Swimming was more civilised becuase it was at a public pool although hired exculsively for the school. In those days we all wore what are now described as "Speedo" type swim briefs but there was no designated colours.

Comment by: Sterling on 20th July 2015 at 05:45

We we similarly attired for PE mostly shirt free! For some it was liberating freedom of movement and for others a nightmare!

It seems to have put a great many of sport as young adults and therefore damaged the health of the nation!

Jason, ink is used routinely in triathlons to number competitors, perhaps your teacher was involved, mine was but thankfully didn't implement ink at school!

Comment by: Jono on 17th July 2015 at 16:43

Jason, I too went through school during that time en we were outside on the yard or field, it was normal for teams to be shirts vs vests or if they decided, shirts vs skins or for everyone to go barechested which happened a little to frequently for some of my friends liking!

The teachers always kept a few "regulars" who were always made to strip down regardless. These tended to be the really sporty lads and how I fell into this category, I have no idea, but all the same I didn't mind being barechested, maybe it showed?

I'm surprised that your teachers chose ink rather than bibs or vests to distinguish teams, what age were you when that stopped.

Comment by: Peter on 13th July 2015 at 08:34

Like Jason, I hated having to do PE stripped to the waist and I regret having hated it so much. However, I can strip to the waist now and enjoy it. In a strange way, like Toby, I'm glad I was made to do it.

Comment by: Jason on 12th July 2015 at 23:11

It did come off under the shower, not always very easily but no problem with the help of a mate.

Comment by: Spence on 12th July 2015 at 20:17

Jason, how indelible was this black marker ink? Did it come off easily in the shower? Bearing in mind, you wouldn't have been able to see your back to check.

Comment by: Toby on 11th July 2015 at 23:54

Read your post Jason, it sounded familiar and I remember corresponding with you elsewhere! I was at school around the same time as you and also had to do PE bare-chested, dreaded it at the time but with hindsight I'm glad I was made to do it. Anyway let me know if you'd like to continue the discussion!

Comment by: Jason on 10th July 2015 at 16:29

I don't think that it was only a matter of changing times but depended on the kind of policy a school chose to enforce. I went to a school in the 1990's that had a barechested indoor for gym or sports hall PE rule. It applied to all lads 11 to 18's. In fact the PE teachers seemed to delight in enforcing the rule especially on the shy ones like me who detested it, which was quite a few of us actually. It was just a case of wearing white shorts, no top no shoes. What bugged me in the gym was team games, when we all looked the same up top. Rather than half of us put a top on to tell the teams apart on such games as indoor footy or basketball, we had teachers pick the teams and proceed to line you up and get a thick black marker pen and scribble a large cross right over the chest and the back of half the class.
Looking back I'm a bit sorry that I didn't actively enjoy all this barechested PE I was made to do.

Comment by: Pete on 10th July 2015 at 07:40

It is strange that while vests and shirts are seemingly obligatory for PE/Games many youths are prepared to go about outside of school stripped to the waist.

Comment by: Oliver on 9th July 2015 at 10:34

Sounds like we were quite lucky when I was at school by comparison! I can't remember any boy ever having to do outdoor PE in bare feet. And apart from that punishment session, the only times I had to do it with a bare chest was for shirts against skins team games. But this was the late 80s and things had clearly changed a lot.

Comment by: Roy on 8th July 2015 at 07:24

Oliver our normal kit for all outdoor PE was bare chest and barefoot.

Comment by: Oliver on 6th July 2015 at 11:25

Thanks for your reply Roy. Was that your usual kit for outdoor PE or only for punishment sessions?

Comment by: Roy on 3rd July 2015 at 07:27

Oliver, the "Punishment PE" sessions were always outside and were always done stripped to the waist and barefoot.

Comment by: Oliver on 2nd July 2015 at 10:38

Roy, did the punishment PE sessions at your school always take place in the gym or were they outdoors as well?
I remember being ordered, along with a few other boys, to report back after school for punishment PE, which I assumed would be indoors and in full kit (vest and shorts). But the teacher had other ideas. First we were told to take off our vests, then we had to go outside and run laps around the football pitch. After several laps, everyone else was allowed to return indoors and shower, but the teacher told me I hadn't been putting in enough effort and made me run two more laps. Somehow those last two, running shirtless and on my own, felt more humiliating and I was so relieved when it was over.

Comment by: Roy on 1st July 2015 at 07:46

"Punishment PE" was quite common when I was at school and was imposed seemingly at the teacher's whim for minor breaches of the rules.
It would always be done outside usually after school hours from 4 until 5.30 or even 6 o'clock.
You were always stripped to the waist and barefoot.
If you were deemed to be slacking the punishment was another session of "Punishment PE".

Comment by: Andrea on 25th June 2015 at 17:37

Early 2000's.
They did have the choice of skirts or shorts and the older girls who chose skirts tended to wear 'fitness shorts' under their skirts.

The other thing I recall is that by the final year at Primary, most of the girls seemed to be wearing tween bras or crop-tops rather than the vests that I wore at that age!

Comment by: Katie on 24th June 2015 at 19:08

Andrea, what a shame that your child's school introduced inappropriate PE kit. Skirts seem the worst of all for indoor PE! When was this?

Comment by: Roy on 23rd June 2015 at 07:23

Things have certainly changed.
When I was at primary school boys and girls did PE separately and changed in different rooms but the boys were always stripped to the waist with many barefoot as well.

Comment by: Andrea on 20th June 2015 at 12:18

It had all changed by the time my son was at Primary School.
The girls and boys changed in separate rooms after the age of about 8 and all wore T shirts and shorts or skirts for PE.

Comment by: Katie on 4th June 2015 at 08:51

I was at primary school until 1993. We all changed in the classroom, but since we basically just undressed there wasn't a lot of point changing in the toilets! At secondary school we had proper changing rooms near the gym, with showers.

Comment by: Andrea on 3rd June 2015 at 22:55

Katie and Rose,

What decade were you at primary school?

I was at primary in the late 1960's boys and girls all had to change for pe in the same classroom, but that was only to vest and knickers as we put on our pe kit. When a few of the girls started to wear bras rather than vests (I never got to that stage at primary school!), they were allowed to change in the toilets.

The early developers did get a bit of a hard time from some of the boys, either trying to 'ping' their bras or making comments if they hadn't started to wear one yet.


Andrea