Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

Childhood > Schools


Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 220,785
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: Rob on 19th April 2016 at 16:00

John, I don't think it worried me about getting my first pair of long trousers as I was certainly not the only boy in class still wearing shorts although I probably appreciated the warmth.

I don't recall what happened to my school shorts but don't remember seeing them again. Unfortunately, shorts are not considered childish nowadays, certainly by parents who seem to put their boys into long trousers as soon as they grow out of nappies. It is far healthier to get the sun and air to them.

Comment by: Rob on 19th April 2016 at 15:26

Jamie, our pe kit was just the norm at that time and we accepted it and got to enjoy it.When our parents were given a list of the school uniform our pe kit included a t-shirt,
but at the beginning of of the first lesson we were told to go to the changing room and take everything off and come back to the gym wearing just shorts and plimsolls. At that time all boys wore sleeveless vests under their shirts all year round, so it felt extra good being stripped to the waist, especially outside. (sorry about that, Jamie!).
When you asked the teacher if you could run in just your shorts & he refused and sent you to a class who were in the gym, were you then the only one without a top as you had 'forgotten' yours, or was everyone barechested? What was your normal kit in the gym? Was the class who were in the gym half of yours who went running while the rest were inside or were they a different class entirely? If it was mixed school, maybe it was the girl's turn to use the gym. That would have been fun for you!

Comment by: John on 19th April 2016 at 06:53

Rob, I do agree we were kept in shorts till we were a lot older in our school days. The change over to long trousers was usually about 13 or 14, although this could also be decided by the boys height, when a boy could be kept in shorts till he was a lot older.
This criteria was considered important and usually boys couldn't wait to get their first pair of long trousers.
Shorts would then be discarded and not be worn again, as they were considered 'childish'.
Like you, my parents didn't take these views and I wore shorts all the time regardless of my age, even after I left school.

Comment by: Jamie on 18th April 2016 at 23:32

Really wish I'd been at school in your day Rob, it sounds like there was a more sensible approach then. I wanted to do cross country with a bare chest when I was at school about 20 years ago but it wasn't allowed. Once I pretended to have forgotten my vest for the lesson and asked the teacher if I could run in just my shorts. But he flatly refused, saying it was too cold - like a vest made so much difference! - and instead made me go inside and join a class who were in the gym. Ridiculous really.

Comment by: Rob on 18th April 2016 at 11:29

I was kept in grey school shorts until the winter after I
was 14 although it was an all boys school in the late 1950's. From then until I started work when I was nearly
18 my parents told me when I was at home in the summertime to put my shorts on and get the sun and fresh air to my body.So I usually wore just a pair of leisure shorts and always got a nice tan out in the garden. In school pe, we always wore shorts with nothing underneath and bare chests
indoors and outside on the sports field and for cross country running. We all enjoyed this, especially feeling the breeze on our chests. I feel privileged to have been at school at that time and sorry that today's youngsters
have to be so cosseted. However, with my schoolday's experiences, I am more confident and to this day continue to wear shorts whenever I can throughout the summer with or without a shirt.

Comment by: James on 1st April 2016 at 07:41

Simon, I agree, it was the parents' prerogative to keep their children dressed as they so desired, but certainly I considered to be kept in shorts up to my leaving age at school was exceeding the boundaries.

Comment by: Simon on 31st March 2016 at 14:31

James as I posted previously in response to Laura & John I wore short grey trousers until about the age of 13. They were short and very tight. These were worn all year round. Eventually, when I was considered to have grown tall enough I was allowed longs.
This was in the mid 60's when parents dictated what was worn. I did not have any say in the matter. Parent chose all of your clothes. On the other hand I do not think we were so governed by the latest fashion trends.

Comment by: James on 31st March 2016 at 12:52

Roy, I wore short trousers till my fifth year (year 11).
I was the oldest boy to wear short trousers in my school till I left

Comment by: ROY on 31st March 2016 at 07:59

When I was at school in the 1950's and 60's the boys wore shorts in primary school and I changed into long trousers after Christmas in my second year at secondary school.(Year 8).

Comment by: Simon on 18th March 2016 at 10:07

It seems like for years now boys have worn long grey trousers in primary school which means they have to change to shorts for pe. At least in our primary school for PE all we boys had to do was take of our shirts and do PE in our grey shorts and singlet. We never thought it strange that girls had to do PE in their underwear(Regulation Navy blue) and mixed class where was the equality there?

Comment by: John on 14th March 2016 at 13:23

Simon, it was a family tradition to keep boys dressed in shorts through school years and I had to accept it without complaint or criticism.
Like your shorts, mine were ultra-short and to be kept in shorts during the cold winter months was an endurance and took a certain amount of fortitude.

Comment by: Andrea on 13th March 2016 at 15:10

I wish we had been able to wear warm tights (or trousers) when I was at secondary school - my legs used to get really cold cycling to school in the winter!

Comment by: Simon on 13th March 2016 at 13:23


As posted previously I too had to wear the short shortsup to about the age of 13 which were very uncomfortably tight and I would have thought these days condidered too short to be decent. that was summer AND winter.

Comment by: John on 12th March 2016 at 07:20

Laura,I remember the shorts I used I used to wear for school, although they were not obligatory, my parents decided to keep me in shorts for what seemed to be in perpetuity.
As my sister could wear warm tights in the winter my legs were exposed to the bitter weather and my shorts were trim and made to fit well above the knee.
Some boys wore track suits if the weather was cold, but I had to brave the elements and freeze in shorts more suitable for the summer.

Comment by: Simon on 11th March 2016 at 14:12

I agree with Laura. Shorts too exposing? Is that why it seems all the young lads these days seem to wear the horrendously long board shorts. they must drag so much when swimming in them.

Comment by: Laura on 8th March 2016 at 23:01

Samuel, too exposing? Really? Do you never wear shorts in the summer, on holiday, at the swimming pool? Does the sight of legs cause you problems? And as for protection from the cold, are you serious? It's rarely below freezing in the daytime, are you and your classmates so delicate that you can't handle playing sport when it's a bit chilly?

Comment by: Samuel on 8th March 2016 at 00:41

At my school we always wear track suits and not shorts since shorts are a it too exposing and don't protect against the cold in the winter. There's nothing unsafe about track suits really.

Comment by: Simon on 20th February 2016 at 17:38

I wonder if track suit bottoms are now worn brcause of elf & safety. We cannot have the students damaging theirselves of the field if they fall over.

Comment by: Andrea on 14th February 2016 at 11:24

When my son was at Secondary school a few years ago he said that there were showers, but they were rarely used as there wasn't time before the next lesson. He just used to keep a can of deodorant in his sports bag. His outdoor PE kit was a rugby shirt and shorts (worn with normal underwear), but a lot of the girls used to wear tracksuit bottoms or leggings.

A lot different from my school days when showers were compulsory and tracksuit bottoms were definitely not allowed!

Comment by: Simon on 5th February 2016 at 15:13

Our PE and outdoor games were usally held as the last lesson of the day. So if we could and there was no teacher patrolling the changing rooms we would try and miss showers get changed and go straight home. Then later we could have a cvilised bath.

It is certainly different these days. I know from friend teenagers at high school, showers are not available or expected after games or pe. And tracksuit bottoms are often the norm along with a rugby shirt and of course no one would suggest nowadays no underwear for pe.

I mthe old black rubber soul plimsolls trainers were not available and plimsolls were worn without socks so iften they rubbed on the heel. How on earth did we survive? But we have.

Comment by: Sterling on 4th February 2016 at 23:49

I was actually referring to gym shorts. When we began the day with PE it was regularly freezing outdoors and in the gym.
I remember the water in toilet bowls in the boys changing room having a film of ice over it.
Yet we had shorts only kit for gym. This was school policy. The official outdoor kit included those horrid rubber plimsoles and vest! Both masters banned vests! Decades previously some boys wore their normal winter vests! The outrage! Hence they banned them and we all had extra vests to wear. Our Mothers insisted on them. 30 min later we were freezing and vests are banned. Our gym got little use despite the harsh Northern Irish winters.

Comment by: Simon on 4th February 2016 at 14:38

You refer to wearing shorts. W this school uniform? Even in secondary school (all boys) I had to wear the regulatory short grey uniform shorts until about the age of 13. Before that age you was not considered old enough to wear longs. O how I longed to allowed to wear grown up trousers. I should mention I was in the minority most all though not all wore long trousers. At least,it was not such a shock to me when I had to wear shorts for pe in winter. Also because I was a Scout I was used to wearing shorts for uniform up to the age of 16.

Of course there were no designer labels those days, and alot of clothes were hand me downs(except underwear)or bought as cheap as possible.

Comment by: Sterling on 26th January 2016 at 22:27

Simon, I agree that today's youth are becoming wimps. However the Heath & Safety environment restricts activities we took for granted!
A video of two lads diving into the sea during the recent storm Desmond caused uproar from the Cotton Wool Society! The video shows the youths leap from the famous Blackrock diving tower in Galway into stormy waters.
Although completely moronic I was still glad to see some tough lads exist and reminded me off my youthful macho bravado and competition!

Comment by: Simon on 24th January 2016 at 13:12

Sterling, my experience was like your's wearing severall layers with the ibligatory vest(singlet).Then pe in barely nothing very cold in winter. As you say no colds or flu. Futhermore no heating in bedrooms . In the winter we woke up to freezing rooms literally.
Re Ron Our school swimming lessons were held at a public pool although a closed session. However, we wore trunks (sppedo style). I do recall at Scout camp swimming in rivers(no elf & safety) but some boys did not have trunks and so swam in their pants. (same thing). Howvwer, I recall eventually we all decided to skinny dip & though nothing of it and the leaders did not stop it although they wore trunks.

Nowadays I see young lads at football mathces in the winter with long shorts almost tights underneath and long socks. Heaven forbid that their legs should get cold!!

Comment by: Sterling on 22nd January 2016 at 17:59

I also remember woolen vests as Simon has mentioned. I also remember my Mother insisting I wore a vest during winter. Our PE Master insisted on bare chests and no underpants. It was a stark contrast on a freezing winter morning. Going from four or five layers, when one includes the horrid woolen vest, shirt, pullover, blazer and coat, to nothing but shorts.
We endured cold showers while the girls had hot water!
The double standards were quite stark also!
However I never had colds or flu as a youth!

Comment by: Ron on 22nd January 2016 at 01:38

Did anyone here have nude swimming at school?

Comment by: Simon on 21st January 2016 at 14:50

Having read the previous comments about swimming trunks, I remember those awful wollen trunks and I was so pleased when they were no longer available. I also remember wearing the horrrible wollen vest and pants "to keep us warm" in the winter

My pe kit at al all boys secondary school was white shorts (no pants) and no top in the mid 60's

Comment by: ROY on 6th January 2016 at 13:55

In my experience boys didn't worry about doing PE shirtless.
In fact you often see lads going about shirtless as a matter of course

Comment by: Cyril on 12th December 2015 at 16:16

To Dave

Re PE kit outdoors as far as I remember for football etc we wore either a singlet or football shirt which was non descript. No team brand shirts those days.

Being a school in town Cross country or the rare occasions we did it was confined to lapsof the secluded sports field and we were topless for that. I do not remember winter runs..

The PE kit was explained to parents at an evening before we joined secondary school. Dad came home with a uniform list and said pe was white shorts(mine were nylon I think they were cheaper) and no underpants would be worn and plimsolls (the old type black ones and no socks)

In that era 1961 to 1966 during which the pe kit was always the same I do not think we had any inhibitions about going shirtles. It was an all boys school.

In fach because of the cut off the shorts I can rememebr during handstands with feet up in the air being suppoted by another lad there was quite a bit of exposure of our anatomy. But as I say we seemed to have no inhibitions what with communal showers and changing room.

With regards to have no tops on it is evident all the time at swimming pools and in the summer. Ater all nowadays with the baggy pants lads seem quite keen to advertise their underwear, some thing we would never consider doing.

I am sure now at schhol for pe it is all cover up protect health and safety. How did we ever survive?

Comment by: Dave on 11th December 2015 at 14:41

Hi Cyril!

Were you shirtless for outside lessons for example track and fields and cross country either?
How did you play team ball games everyone being barechested.
How did you get to know your PE kit for the first time.Was it in a PE uniform list that you have to do PE shirtless or the teacher was the one who told it to you?
What was the reaction of boys about the PE kit. Was it ever a topic of conversation amongst you?
How did you feel having to be barechested for PE?